Amanda Berry and Charles Ramsey equals American Hope

Amanda Berry

I was watching Hannity on Fox last night and chuckling over Charles Ramsey’s account of rescuing missing Amanda Berry (read story here) from Cleveland, Ohio.

Ramsey is not the type to be censored or controlled and it is funny to watch reporters not quite sure what to do with him as he takes off with the interview like a man on a wild horse.

Unlike carefully worded accounts that we normally get from news broadcasters, Ramsey’s tells his story with down-to-earth emotions, animated body language and facial expressions which is layered with his west side regional accent that is a treat for the ears.

After Ramsey’s interview I heard a law enforcement individual trying to defend the fact that the 911 dispatcher hung up on Berry, instead of staying on the line with her.  Although Amanda told the dispatcher her name several times, either the dispatcher did not recognize her name, thought it was a hoax or plain didn’t care, and told her to talk with the police when they got there.  Martin Flask of the Department of Public Safety stated the dispatcher’s response time resulted in the police at the scene within two minutes.  In spite of the tone, and the lack of protocol, the dispatcher did do her job.

Mark Fuhrman, former LAPD (remember the OJ trial) said to Hannity in the dispatcher’s defense and also in defense of the police in general that law enforcement goes through steps of deciding if the missing person is foul play or a runaway and categorizes it, and there is a “limit on how far they can go before they get the next 10 missing person reports.”

“They just can’t keep up on them forever,” said Fuhrman

Stop right there.  Is he trying to say that law enforcement gets 10 MP reports every day?  That would make it 300 people missing from any given city, every month.  I know there is a lot, but that would be an epidemic.

Charles Ramsey

So, just to confirm that Fuhrman was just over generalizing, I looked at the stats for Cleveland.  According to the City of Cleveland’s website (kudos to the Mayor for that, I wish every city had a website like this) they currently have 100 people missing, with the oldest as William Odell in May 1995 to the most recent at the time of this post as Rionna Sibbley-Martin on May 6, 2013.  In fact, it shows, working backwards – one person reported missing on May 6th, one on the 5th, one, on the 4th and two on the 3rd, two on the 2nd,  and one on the 1st of May.  April about the same with a few skipped days and March the same, etc.  No where near the 10 a day.   So, it is safe to say that Fuhrman was a little over enthusiastic stating that police are loaded with hundreds of cases of months and are overwhelmed with the load.  It’s just not true.

Before everything is over on the Cleveland kidnappings, I believe there will be a lot of dirty laundry that will come out, but I don’t think it will be to no avail.

Amanda Berry

It has already come out that a naked woman was seen crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard a few years back, and there was pounding on the walls and doors coming from the house and plastic bags on the windows.  Police arrived, but they never went inside.

Barbara Knight, Michelle’s mother said she thought she had seen her daughter a few years ago at a Cleveland shopping center being pulled by the arm of an older man.  Ashley’s grandmother also thoughy she had seen her granddaughter in 2009 with her hair short and dyed blonde.  Both stories were discounted.

These stories draws you to the conclusion that the Cleveland police didn’t care, but what I believe is mostly mishandled was the totality of the information coming in.  Meaning, some old fashion cross-checking would have shined a light that there was something suspicious going on.

Michelle Knight

Cleveland has taken a big step in a positive direction to remedy the past handling of missing person cases, but like most anything there is room for improvement.

In a perfect world, teens would not be labeled as runaways and police would not disregard any stories as over exaggerated.

If in some way all the information, like the sightings, checks by social services, the neighbors calling, the missing teens within a same area to an incident in 2004, where Castro, a school bus driver left behind one of his passengers, had been gathered and put into a database maybe when the police came knocking on the door all those years ago, they would have done a little more than walk away.

With information spread out through the department and not lumped together like a pile of autumn leaves, there is no connection made.  If the department had the ability to categorized “like” information, then a police officer would be just that more wiser when they went on a call.  Imagine knowing everything that has been going on in a specific neighborhood before you knock on a door.

With the media coming in with 20-20 hindsight collecting all the information and putting into one package and putting it out to the public, it makes the police look like they don’t care or they are stupid because they couldn’t figure it out long ago that Castro had allegedly kidnapped these women, not realizing it was only after the women were found that all that information was linked together.

There are many things we can learn from Amanda Berry’s case that can help the police do their job more effectively, but what we can take away from it right now is the hope it has brought to so many people after all the tragedy America has had to endure lately.

Thank you Charles for remind us that we are all one and there is a little bit of a hero in each of us, just waiting for the call.

About Missing Persons Admin 4575 Articles
Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

2 Comments

  1. Nicely written. Even though this case may give hope to families of missing people, the fact is that approximately 87% of missing are actually murdered. Very sad fact. But perhaps, as you said above, with a bit more diligence and information sharing, these cases could be solved a lot sooner.