TROY, Mo. – A 15-year-old reported missing in last week’s FOX Files was found by police Sunday night. It’s one of many recent disappearances solved by Lincoln County authorities.
Last week, the Missouri State Highway Patrol website listed five missing teenagers from Lincoln County, just since May.
The Troy Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office have now found all five.
Capt. Dave Hill, of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, asked parents to be aware of their children’s’ social media accounts and the names of those accounts.
“Knowing those accounts, knowing what social media their teens use, can make a big difference to us, at least verify they’re safe, if not recover them outright,” Hill said.
The sheriff’s office found two missing teens in less than a week. Troy police found another three, including one who was in DCFS custody and not reported correctly by the state, and another this past Sunday who was featured in a recent FOX Files.
It turns out all five recent cases involved runaways. In each of those cases, police and sheriff’s investigators learned almost immediately that they were runaways. That means they didn’t get Amber Alerts, but investigators say they still needed to act quickly.
“You don’t know where they’ve runaway to. You don’t know if the people they think are a safe place for them are actually a safe place,” Hill said. “I’m a parent of four children. I would want the police to put that level of effort into recovering my kids if they ever ran away.”
Capt. Hill added that Lincoln County Sheriff Rick Harrell recently said he wants to prevent runaways, and that he sent school resource officers to what’s called P5 training – Preventing Problems by Promoting Positive Practices.
“Getting them to recognize those kids that are higher risk,” Hill said. “Hopefully, we can intervene before they become a runaway and find the help they may need. Whether it’s helpful resources, engagement with parents, or whatever it is we need to do.”
Results are promising, with Lincoln County reporting nearly six runaways per month in 2021, with the number so far this year; down to about four runaways per month.