The city of Cleveland has seen an “extraordinary” increase in the number of missing juveniles, according to local law enforcement who continue to search for them.
Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy recently spoke to Fox News Digital about the disappearances, saying that nearly 30 children under the age of 18 have been reported missing between May 2 and May 16. Throughout the current year to mid-May, there are 56 active missing children cases in Cleveland, The Independent reported.
“There’s always peaks and valleys with missing persons, but this year it seems like an extraordinary year,” Majoy said, who also serves as board president for the organization Cleveland Missing. “For some reason, in 2023, we’ve seen a lot more than we normally see, which is troubling in part because we don’t know what’s going on with some of these kids, whether they’re being trafficked or whether they’re involved in gang activity or drugs.”
The comments by Majoy come shortly after the 40th annual National Missing Children’s Day on May 25. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), the National Missing Children’s Day was created by former President Ronald Reagan in 1979 and “serves as a reminder of missing children everywhere and honors those dedicated to finding them.”
Last Thursday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost published a report detailing new data around the number of missing children in the state in 2022. According to the report, there were 15,555 reports of missing children in the state last year.
“Authorities reported that 96%—a total of 14,940 children—were recovered safely by year’s end. Open source data revealed that four children reported missing were found deceased in 2022,” the report said.
Retired FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer told Newsweek on Friday that it is “unusual” to have that many missing children during a short period of time in a specific area.
“However, I’ve seen nothing that connects them,” Coffindaffer said. “Usually in these cases there’s a mixed bag of everything from people who ran away, people who committed suicide, people who were trafficked, people who were murdered.”
Coffindaffer explained that social media plays a key part in helping to spread awareness about the missing children and to also help in their recovery.
“Social media is the key in many instances to finding these individuals. It also turns up the heat on law enforcement because it starts proliferating and then mainstream media picks it up and you have individuals in these areas actually looking and that is how people are found, I truly believe it,” she said. “It’s so important to get these names and faces out so that people in the areas are alerted and can help.”
The former FBI agent added that sharing posts of missing persons on social media helps “find people and bring awareness to everything from trafficking to domestic violence.”
While speaking with Fox News Digital, Majoy, who noted that most of the cases are runaways, added that missing children is a “silent crime.”
“The problem is where are they? Where do they go? They can be in a drug house or farmed to prostitution or caught up in drug trafficking or gangs,” the police chief said.
Newsweek reached out to the Newburgh Heights Police Department via email for further comment.