In my last post, I wrote a bit about what it is like to investigate a family abduction case. Interestingly, I received an indirect question from a community member wanting to know why we didn’t issue a NIXLE/Twitter alert right away. It is a good question.
In this particular case, we did not initially know whether the child was a runaway or had been taken by the non custodial father. So we had to investigate until we could reach a level of certainty before we could issue a specific request for assistance to find the child. That included finding and interviewing friends and family members, searching nearby areas, things like that. We also had to wait for the arrival of the custody order so that we could confirm that a court had ordered that the father not have custody–that took time. Once we were certain about the order and that the father had her, we still didn’t have a vehicle description. That took us significantly more time to learn. At the same time, we were trying to find a way to communicate with the father to see if we could persuade him to return her but were unsuccessful. Getting a vehicle description turned out to be very challenging and took some time. Once we had one we decided to do the news release and the NIXLE.
Deciding what to release and when can be a challenging decision. We want the public’s help but we need to evaluate whether it will help the case and at what point or whether it will complicate the situation further.
It is a difficult call that we evaluate carefully.