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Jake Samusenko: Teen missing from Erie Found

UPDATE 3/18/13 – The family of Jake Samusenko have received the news that Jake’s body had been recovered from the East Basin on Monday afternoon.

Nadia Samusenko said that police told her that  the body was spotted by a woman near the foot of State Street and the fire department divers seemed to think it was Jake by the clothing that seemed to be the same clothing that Jacob was wearing.

Official confirmation will be made by the  Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook on Tuesday.

His death has been ruled accidental drowning.

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Since the article put out by the Huffington Post in February, where the Mayor announced that  “Anybody that knows what’s going on in this case is very satisfied with what’s happening,” Sinnott told Erie’s WICU News. “The [Samusenko] family is happy with the progress the police have made and the things that they’re doing, and the attention they’re giving, so that’s really the telling part,” the involvement by the police has been criticized and the media attention for Jacob is slowing down.
In an article published by The Huffington Post in February, Adrian Ewing, a local resident who helped organize and manage volunteer search efforts, said that during the search,  “There was no involvement by our local police department,” Ewing told HuffPost. “People are very frustrated that the City of Erie has no one out here. There is no official presence, no fire department, no search and rescue team, nothing.”

Although many would find this shocking and maybe even unbelievable, it is actually the norm as far as kids are concerned when they are labeled as a “runaway,” which is usually the case unless there is obvious foul play.  Why? Because police know that 75% come back in the first couple of days and 90% come back after a few weeks.  Obviously, at this point Jake has become one of the 10% that is not found.

Police have learned not to listen to the parents because so many times they have been told by parents their child would never run away and days later they find they did.  Compound this with the accepted response to this kind of situation across the board in the U.S., by city officials who back the police’s less than enthusiastic response to our missing teen children, it is no wonder when there is a real cause for concern, police can’t tell the difference.  Because they have been allowed to treat every teen case as a runaway, they have not honed their skills to be able to tell the difference between a runaway or crime.  One of the most important arguments to why every single missing teen should be treated with the same level of importance.

Because you have to give some pretty convincing information to NOT get your teen classified as a runaway, your chances of their being a full scale search for them is not hopeful, but please note, there are exceptions to this, and it has a lot to do with each and every police department and their policy, and in some cases their personal feelings about a case.

Diane Esser wrote on Jacob’s Facebook page the following:
“As of March 9, the Pennsylvania State Police had received no directive from the local law enforcement to have them activate the Pennsylvania Missing Endangered Persons Advisory Alert.

‘The CIA missing persons unit has no age restrictions to activate the Missing Endangered Persons Advisory,’ said Trooper Zirpoli.
As of March 7th 2013, Zirpoli confirmed there had been no directive from the Erie Police Dept. to the Pennsylvania State Police to activate the advisory. The State Police Dept. cannot do it on their own, nor can they receive a directive from a family member, but must receive a directive from the EPD. Ref: 717-772-1861 Captain Relph – Bureau of Criminal of Investigation – (Trouper Patrick Zirpoli is in his department)”

Jacob’s family is still out there, still asking for media attention, and the police to do more.

If you have a teen, you should be aware of Suzanne’ Law that required police to notify the National Crime Information Center whens someone between 18 and 21 are reported missing.  The law enforcement agency is able to file a report with NCMEC and receive services such as poster creation and age enhancement technology.   

Jake Samusenko, 17, is missing from Erie, PA since Jan 29, 2013.  Jacob is 17 years old, about 5ft 5in and about 130 pounds. If anyone has any information about him please make a post or email to
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