Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Recently, my nephew ran away.
Yes, he was found.
He hadn't gone far.
The weather conditions under which he left were favorable.
However, a few hours later it turned cold and so my brother and his wife searched... they drove all over town, and the nearby towns. Places they used to live, checking possible destinations.

The next morning, he hadn't turned up and so they called  the police for help.  I searched on foot, first walking a circle around the house looking for tracks in the snow, then checking for foot prints on the road sides.  Sure enough, I found prints in the soft dirt of the shoulder leading in the direction of the bus route.  I also found a place where he had gone off the road and crouched behind a small evergreen. 

Now, I'm not aboutto denigrate the effort they put forth, however I'm no expert tracker, but aparently I'm better at it than ALL the law enforcement officials that looked for him. I came home from my long tiring walk in a headwind and howling snow, to find the local sheriffs interviewing his parents.  I told them about the prints.  Yet I do NOT believe the K9 untit was informed about the tracks, or they wouldn't have wasted any time in the woods... at least that's what I have to hope.  those tracks were the most obvious clue to me, and a dog would have been able to follow them.

Yet, also, rather than searching his bus-route first, they chose to search other nearby towns.  My feeling is, they probably were able to make a lot of home-searches as a result of this, but other than that, they concentrated their search in the LEAST likely locations... and the tracks I found say it all. where he was eventually found, called in by the mother who was allowing him to spend the weekend, was on his bus-route.

Fast forward to afterwards.
the boy is home, safe and sound.
His parents have been issued tickets for "child endangerment"  supposedly for not calling the authorities soon enough. 

Number one:
Personally, I think it's obvious that the results would not have been any better and in fact, I personally had better results MYSELF.  After all, I found the tracks!  I did, NOT them, me!  With no training. No experience. I don't even hunt. I don't have a helicopter, nor a dog, not months of training. I'm not even good at  fishing for god's sake.  Now maybe there's things I don't know: perhaps they DID check those tracks and they were too old for the dogs to follow. I don't think so. The dogs searched the woods, not up the road where I found the tracks.

Number two:
just by the way that he left, the things he took, he left with a plan.  He had someplace to go or he would have taken different things than he did. So my brother was 98% sure that he went to someone's house. And the officers involved ALL agreed.

So that leaves us all wondering: why did the D.A. ticket them?

What about this other kid's mother? Who answers the door, finds a 14 year old boy on their doorstep at 9pm, and says "yes you can spend the weekend" without talking to parents first?  Any time my daughters were in my care, I always required permission and fore-knowledge even if they wanted to play next-door.  They KNEW if they changed plans they had to ask first, and my nieghbors always checked with me personally before they went anywhere.  It's inconcievable to me that if a child arrived on my doorstep at 9pm that they would spend more than an hour in my house without parental permission, even if it were the next door nieghbor's kid... and this has indeed happened where I have sent a nieghbor-kid home to ask for permission... this to me as a parent is common sense... as sure as breathing... my house shuts down at 10pm.  Not necessarily for sleep, but certainly for interaction with the outside world, and so if a child showed up on my doorstep, on foot, who lived 3 miles away, and was carying a back-pack... I think I would have alarm bells go off in my head.

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