Cleveland: Police investigate handling of missing girl's case

5:52 PM, Oct 17, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Vanessa Gay survived being attacked by serial killer Anthony Sowell and had trouble convincing police.

Now her 14-year-old daughter, Tionna Miller, is missing.  At least one officer is being investigated for how the case has been handled.

Miller has been missing three weeks. But police did not begin a serious investigation until last Friday, October 14.

Gay claims the officer who responded to her initial report "didn't seem that concerned.  We talked for a few minutes that was that. ... My daughter's missing I didn't get the response I would have liked."

According to new police orders, officers should identify a missing juvenile's habits and friends. They should interview those friends as well as teachers.  They should check cell phone and social media usage. The should check for sex offenders who live or work nearby and they should distribute flyers with the missing child's information.

The report made it into the FBI National Crime Information Center. But none of the other new protocol steps were taken.

Deon McCaulley, 4th District Commander, said the word "lazy" was a fair assessment of the officer's behavior.

An investigation is underway. McCaulley said there would be "accountability."

He has apologized to Gay. "She deserves it," he said.

Because of this case, the checklist for missing person's cases will be reread to all officers in roll call this week.

Rape Crisis Center President Megan O'Bryan said, "We are very saddened to here this news about Vanessa Gay's daughter. ... What this shows is we have a lot of work to do."

Charles See, a Cleveland resident concerned about criminal justice issues, said, "We got a 14-year-old girl who goes missing and they don't follow through?  I am concerned we don't have an aggressive, tenacious follow-up."

Gay has asked anyone with information about her daughter to call Cleveland Police and/or her. Her number is 216-212-0507.

WKYC-TV

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