A nightmare is unfolding in northern Ohio and so far there are few answers.
More than 1,000 minors have been reported missing to date in 2023, triggering alarm bells among parents and police.
In September alone, at least 45 children have disappeared in the Cleveland-Akron area. August saw 35 minors go missing following a disturbing trend that began in May.
“Yes, of course, we are worried about that,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told News 5 Cleveland. “Now, what we know is when we look behind the numbers, some of those represent repeated runaways and local police have talked about that.”
Yost added that the “extraordinary surge” may be partly attributable to inflated numbers due to inconsistencies in reporting. In the past, Cleveland cops have said this is a problem.
In addition, data for runaways, abductions and sex trafficking is not always entered correctly into the system.
“All of these things have localized reporting problems that, again, are a function of local conditions,” Yost said. “We do our best to encourage compliance and improve assistance to remove barriers, but at the end of the day, we have to rely on our local partners that we don’t control.”
The Buckeye State is also suffering from a severe shortage of police officers.
“I am fearful of all kinds of things that fall through the cracks, that includes missing children,” Yost added. “I rely on the tenacity of a worried parent more than I do a harried bureaucrat whose job it is to put data into a computer.”