No active search being done for missing teen Catlin Screws says police Found

UPDATE:  Click here

UPDATE:  7/29/13 – Catlin has returned home, police said late Sunday night.  They are working with the family to prevent Catlin from running away again.  Harlie is considered an adult at 18.

Thankfully, one of two missing teen sisters has returned home after missing for several days, but one is still missing and the police should still be doing an active search for her.

When Catlin Screws, 15 and Harlie Screws, 18, of Aloha, Oregon went missing, their mother Jennifer Hughes told police that they were with men who were part of an extreme religious group that could be a cult.  Also, the Facebook pages of both teens had been deleted.  Whether they were really with some men and/or a cult is not clear.

Authorities “labeled” Catlin as a runaway and not Harlie as she is an adult.  The police stated that Catlin has runaway before, and there was no active search going on for her.

Sgt. Dave Thompson with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said after their talking with Harlie when she returned home that there was no evidence that the sisters were in danger or involved with a cult.  Regardless, where is she?

The police need to verify where she is not label her as a runaway and say there is no active search for her, which means they are just waiting for Catlin to come home or for her to be picked up for loitering, etc.

U.S. Congress passed the Missing Children Act (MCA, amending 28 U.S.C. § 534) in1982. Specifically the MCA called on law enforcement to strenuously investigate every missing-child case and enter all pertinent information about the incident into the NCIC Missing Person File. It also required the FBI to provide assistance in appropriate cases and confirm NCIC entries for the child’s parents/guardians. The MCA announced that the federal government viewed the protection of missing children as a priority issue.

AND the government itself realized that law enforcement agencies were reluctant to take a report when it came to some missing children cases, particularly runaways, so they passed the National Child Search Assistance Act in 1990.  Why?  Because they knew that these children (teens) were easily victimized and exploited.

Federal, state, or local law-enforcement agency will not establish or observe a waiting period before accepting a missing-child case

All agencies will enter, without delay, reports of missing children younger than 18 years of age (Suzanne’s Law includes under 21) into the NCIC Missing Person File. All agencies will update identifying information about each case in NCIC within 60 days.  Each case will receive proper investigative action. All investigators will maintain a close liaison with NCMEC about appropriate.

I do not believe that NO active search for Catlin is “proper investigative action.”

Only law enforcement officials have access to NCIC, so I cannot confirm that Catlin has been put in there, but I can only hope that she was.

Police need to locate her and make sure she is not with a group of men and not go by what Harlie said.  According to police Catlin has runaway before and that also needs to be addressed.  There is all kinds of warning signs that this case should be followed up on, and to get to the bottom of what is going on.

There is 40 children missing in Oregon right now. Click here.

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

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