NewsLocal NewsHamilton CountyCincinnati


How Cincinnati police investigate missing persons cases

Posted at 4:30 AM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 09:03:10-05

CINCINNATI -- When a Madeira woman went missing for several days last month, a pizza delivery driver called 911 and said he found her alive. 

But many people are still missing in Greater Cincinnati. A city website lists dozens who are missing, including some cases going back to the 1990s and one from the '70s. 

The protocol for those decades-old cases was different back then. That changed after the 2009 death of 13-year-old Esme Kenney. Sgt. David Simpson with the Cincinnati Police Department Personal Crimes Unit said missing persons cases used to stay in the district for two weeks before going to Personal Crimes. Now the cases go to Personal Crimes after one week. 

Police also developed a packet for investigators and patrol officers to help them gather pertinent information. Simpson said that's helped reduce the number of missing persons cases that are still open when they reach the Personal Crimes Unit.

"Over the last decade or so, I think the missings fluctuate from 1,500 to 2,000 a year," Simpson said. "A lot will come back the same day, within a couple of days. But in terms of missing reports we make, it's pretty high."

But the number of cases still open after a significant amount of time is low, according to Simpson. 

When police receive a report of a missing person, an officer will respond and determine whether or not the person is actually missing, according to Detective Jason Hodge. The officer files a report for the investigator. 

"We use different resources to try and locate the people," Hodge said. "We have a myriad of resources at our disposal -- a lot of going knocking on doors, using resources we have online."