Abigail Bonner: Missing Teen from Madison Found

Madison Police Department announced that the body found at Madison Avenue Upper Elementary school belonged to Abigail.
They stated there are no obvious signs of foul play, but other results are pending an autopsy.  This does not mean that later they may decide there is foul play.  It is just at this time they are stating this.Previous story:
So, as we wait to find out if the body found on Tuesday belongs to missing Abigail Bonner, I reflect back to the statement by the Madison Police Department that classified Abigail as a runaway, last week.

According to their statement, “During the course of the investigation…information has been developed that leads officials to believe Abigail left home of her won free will and may be in the New York City area.”

This lead to news stories that stated, “Madison police have reclassified the case of 17-year-old Abigail Grace Bonner from missing person to run-away.

WJTV states, “Abigail’s status has been changed from missing to run-away with the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC).”

When it comes to teens this can put a stop to an active search.

As soon as the public reads that a missing teen is thought to be a runaway, and classified as such, the concern to find them drops.  They don’t hear runaway as much as they hear, “ran away from home” putting pictures of kids packing their bags and running to grandma’s house or the best-friend next door in their heads.  Which leads to them thinking they are in no real danger and they need to no longer continue looking for them as they don’t want to be found anyway, and they’ll come home eventually. 

For example this was a question put on the Looking for Abigail Facebook page:


Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can we still put signs in our area looking for Abigail even though it’s been classified as a run-away case?

Answer: Yes, please do. We do not know where she is or if she is safe. Please continue to post signs and to encourage all to keep their eyes open for any information as to where she may be.


Classification as a runaway also effects the way that the police will treat a case.  I have been told 100s of times by families that police will tell them to just sit and wait and the teen will come back.  This is because of the runaway classification,.  Police know that there is no foul play suspected, thus putting the urgency to find the teen low.

The trouble with this whole “runaway” title is that it doesn’t mean that the teen is no longer in danger.  Because even if they left on their own will, they are still too young to know what they are getting themselves into out in that wild world.

There are so many words that are no longer used because they cause harm, and runaway should be considered one of them.

It should be one of those words that has run its course and should be eliminated from our vocabulary.  

I implore the authorities to please drop the word runaway from their vocabulary and in their police work.  It only does harm.

Would classifying Abigail as an endangered child helped to get her home safe?  We will never know, but it has helped others.  

Abigail Grace Bonner, 17, was last seen at her residence in Madison, Miss. about 7-8 a.m. on Saturday, according to the Madison Police Department.
She is described as five foot six inches tall and weighing about 125 pounds. She has medium length brown hair and brown eyes.  Her family is offering a $25,000 reward for her safe return. A note from her father on her Facebook Page read:

“Update – Aug 4 – 11:25 PM Central Time.

– The police put their helicopters to work and our teams scoured most of the wooded areas of Madison. So far no signs of Abigail.
– We received a lead of a suspicious vehicle and turned that over to the police.
– Police have been going through in great detail her belongings and analyzing them with the family. Some insight into things but nothing yet conclusive.
– As Lance said in the news interview: she does not seem to have money, cell phone, transportation nor a lot of clothing.
– The police have taken her computer and should have access to all her accounts and Internet/social media activities tomorrow, which is when the family should know more about what she was looking at and what she may have been considering.
– We will keep you updated. Our next update will be by 10am tomorrow Monday, August 5th. If anything urgent occurs before then, we will update it immediately.
– In less than 10 hours, this page has gone from 11 likes to over 4,700. These posts have reached over 500,000 people nationwide and our posts have reached almost all 50 states.
– The Missing/Reward flyer we generated has been downloaded hundreds of times and has been posted in over 75 cities in all approximately 20 different states.
– We do not know where she is. Together we can find her. That’s why here we are focused on “LOOKING FOR ABIGAIL”.

Good night.
Maurice”

 
The parents are moving swiftly and doing all the right things in order to get Abigail home, and are not missing a beat as far as setting up a website and Facebook page so that social media can spread the word about her missing.  I have also added her poster to Pinterest.  
Anyone with information concerning Abigail’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Madison Police Department at 601-856-6111 or contact Crime Stoppers at 601-355-TIPS.
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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

2 Comments

  1. Praying for Abigail's safe return to her family. I agree on the word “runaway” has to be taken out of police vocabulary. Anyone under 18 that disappears needs attention and fast. With the recent human trafficking problem being brought to light in the media it needs to be taken seriously when a young person suddenly leaves home without word to even a friend. Our children are being picked out of our homes.