Police: Searching for runaways diverts scarce resources - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Police: Runaway searches divert scarce resources

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  • Toledo Police say teen runaway found safe at friend's home

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    Wednesday, March 20 2013 2:37 PM EDT2013-03-20 18:37:46 GMT
    Toledo police are searching for a missing teen. Family members tell police they last saw 14 year old Cammie Smith Monday night. She was last seen at her home. Police say right now they are in the
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Police say, when they use their immediate resources to search for runaways, it diverts resources away from other cases that need their attention

Cammie Smith was reported missing Monday. She was found safe at a friend's home Wednesday.

Police say Cammie told them she ran away because she didn't like living at home anymore. They say they knew she wasn't in any danger, but they felt pressure to solve the case from social media.

Cammie's photo was shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter. Some posts expressed anger because an Amber Alert wasn't issued.

"We never had any information to indicate she was ever in any immediate danger, and it turns out she wasn't," says Toledo Police Sergeant Joe Heffernan. "It was a situation where she left on her own accord, where she was basically hiding out from her parents."

Sgt. Heffernan says police officers knew from the start they were dealing with a runaway. 

Police say Cammie's parents originally told them Cammie had a history of running away.

While police were using resources to search for Cammie Wednesday, an 8th grader at DeVeaux was propositioned by a stranger.

"This case generated a lot of attention, because the family used their resources out there," says Heffernan. "When that happens, it sometimes takes attention from other places we need to be."

Heffernan says, if your child is ever missing, the first thing you need to do is contact police immediately. Don't wait 24 hours. In a legitimate missing person case time is of the essence.

The second piece of advice is to trust law enforcement.

"We are glad Cammie is home, and she is safe, and hopefully she can get this behind her and move on," says Heffernan. "I do want to make an appeal to the public. If you are harboring someone that is missing, you are subject to criminal charges."

Police say they found Cammie at a friend's home, and the friend's mother first told police that Cammie wasn't there. That woman now faces charges.

Police say the criteria for issuing an Amber Alert include:

  •      Children must be 17 years or younger.
  •      The child must be in immediate danger.
  •      There must be enough information about the child and suspect to issue an alert.
  •      Amber Alerts are not used for runaway children.
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