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Registered: 09-2018
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posticon Do They Search for Missing People??

WARNING: This may be a little harsh.

Friday morning I saw a report that an elderly man had gone missing in my city: 78 years old, his photo, a description of what he was thought to be wearing, and an approximation of his address.

I immediately knew I would be angry about how 'the search' was handled. Earlier this year I noticed a lack of effective action to help missing persons in this city (or is it more accurate to say "these days"?). Sure enough, I was only able to find this story on the front online pages of a local paper and a talk radio (AM) station. By the next day (this morning) the story off their front page, meaning people who hadn't heard about it, would not hear about it, even though he hasn't been found yet. I listened to local news, and heard plenty about Trump and bombs but no further reports about this old man lost in our city.

They say the first 24 hours are the most important, and this is doubly so in the case of lost senior, who could be lying in brush at the foot of a hill with a broken hip (for example), too weak to call out very loudly, yet not far from home! The weather has turned cold and rainy; how long would his will to live last?

Very near the lost man's home is a ravine that holds a canal (an early incarnation of the Welland Canal) mostly surrounded by fence, but there are a lot of big holes in the fence. The canal walls are high, and while the water isn't deep, it moves fast. Around the canal there are slopes, trees, bushes, large swaths of bullrushes and other tall weeds and reeds. This would be the logical place to SEARCH, with tracking dogs. I searched there today myself, and saw no sign that anyone else was doing the same. I don't have a dog, so could have missed the man even if he was there.

Why am I angry? Two reasons.

One: About 5 months ago a teenage male disappeared from his well-to-do home in the north end of the city. The story about his disappearance said he left without his wallet, keys and shoes. He had been accepted to university; had a future waiting. But there was a statement that he was very upset about the recent death of his grandmother. I balked; teenagers don't kill themselves because their grandparent dies, unless there is something else dragging them down as well.

But if he HAD, he had to go somewhere on foot first. His home was near the current Welland Canal, as well as a small forest, Lake Ontario, and a bridge leading to another forest on a peninsula. Logical places to search, and big enough to need tracking dogs.

I walk those areas a lot because the canal pathway was the ONLY one that the city cleared during the winter, and all these places have flat paths that are easy on my knees. I never once saw anyone searching those areas with tracking dogs. And aside from posters put up by his family, there was no more publicity about the missing teen. Months later the police said they had been searching with dogs repeatedly, but all the times I was walking, I never saw it. Unless they were doing it undercover?

The second reason this angers me goes back over 20 years. The librarian at my kids' school disappeared. Even though it was the first week of January, and the ground was covered in ice and snow, the community organized search parties and everyone who could take part was out there, searching fields and forest for her. THAT is what I expect people to do NOW.

Instead, I see momentary online stories, missed by many, and not repeated. No visible sign of police with search dogs. No suggestion that people form organized search parties. No repeated reports about the missing, to alert those who missed the first story, and to keep the search alive. None of that.

It makes me think that, if I were the one out there, injured, unable to walk, maybe tied up, I would feel utterly hopeless, knowing the police just publicized the story and left it to the public to pass it around on social media -- like that will help the person out there dying of exposure. Maybe they check to see if anyone uses my debit card, and they have their patrols keep an eye open for me walking on the street, assuming I am able to do so..

This "they'll turn up someday, dear or alive" attitude sounds like callous and lazy to me. *If I am wrong, please enlighten me!*

We should all be out there, looking for each and every one of them, especially during those first few days when they may be alive and still close to home.

Last edited by starzlookdoun, 10/27/2018, 7:33 pm


10/27/2018, 7:12 pm Link to this post Email starzlookdoun   PM starzlookdoun Blog

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