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Apr 5, 2006

Police alarmed at number of runaway girls

Story PictureSince the beginning of March, Belize City police have had to investigate fifteen cases of missing person reports. The incidents mostly involve young girls between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. Most of the cases are considered runaways but the frequency in incidents has raised the concern of the authorities. According to Assistant Superintendent of Police and the Officer in Charge of the Crimes Investigation Branch, Chester Williams, all cases are handled with a sense of urgency but he calls on parents and guardians to have open dialogue with their children and to strictly monitor their activities.

A.S.P. Chester Williams, Officer Commanding, C.I.B.
?We have a missing persons unit within the C.I.B. Branch and that unit has been very busy working on these cases trying to find these persons when they are reported missing and that endeavor will continue.?

?When a person is reported missing, Jackie, we look at it very seriously because we do not know what situation the person may be in especially in the case of a minor. They, in many cases they don?t know how to carry themselves in public in order to sustain themselves, so we will give it our effort trying to locate them as quick as possible so we look at it and we treat it very seriously.?

?After twenty-four hours, a person is considered missing, but seeing the time and age that we are policing under we do not work with that twenty-four period anymore. As the report comes to us we deal with expeditiously and we always believe the quicker we deal with the report the better success we will have in finding this person in a good state of health.?

?In the case of the minors, they are mostly runaways. Some of them go to their friend?s house for an overnight or maybe two nights. Some of them in the case of the girls, they may have been influenced by an older male who take them away for a couple of days and then it later on became a knowledge of carnal knowledge. When it happens like that it is dealt with as a carnal knowledge case.?

Williams says of the fifteen reported incidents in March, only two cases remain unsolved. Meanwhile Williams says they have recently returned to the child murder cases that occurred between 1998 and 2001. That activity includes going through the files and once again, following up on any leads. Victims Jackie Fern Malic, Erica Wills, Jay Blades, Sherilee Nicholas and Noemi Hernandez are believed to have been murdered by one individual.


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