Cleveland police reports show most missing persons cases resolved quickly

CLEVELAND - High-profile cases, like the recent discovery of three murdered women in East Cleveland, have brought renewed attention to missing persons cases.

NewsChannel5 investigators obtained data and expert analysis to uncover how cases are handled and why few resources are devoted to missing persons.

"The sad reality is that police resources are stretched thin, especially in the case of missing persons," said James Chriss, a sociology professor at Cleveland State University.

"We talk a good game. That every life is valuable and important and we should do everything we can, but the reality is that police have to make calls with regards to available resources and leads," he said.

NewsChannel5 investigators uncovered another reason for few resources to missing persons. When you look at the data, it shows most missing people are found quickly.

For example, in 2012, there were 2,800 people reported missing in Cleveland. As of Monday, only seven of those people are still missing.

"Most missing persons cases are resolved relatively quickly without real harm done to the missing person," Chriss said.

According to Cleveland police records, there are currently 118 missing persons in the city. Out of the 118, 76 percent are African-American, 68 percent were juveniles when they disappeared and 60 percent are women.

Chriss said when a woman goes missing for an extended period of time it is often because she has been killed.

"Women, for those who are found dead after a period of time being missing, are seven times more likely than men to be the victim of a homicide," Chriss said.

In spite of those odds, Tonia Adkins still has hope. Her sister, Christina, disappeared in 1995. She was 17 and five months pregnant.

"Every time I hear about the murder of a woman I think, 'Is it my sister? Is it her this time?'" Adkins said.

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