More than 45 juveniles have been reported missing in the Cleveland-Akron area in September alone after 35 others were reported missing in August, according to the Ohio Attorney General's missing children website. The disappearances are part of a trend in the region that has continued since May when nearly 30 children were reported missing within the first two weeks of the month.
On Monday (September 25), Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost reiterated that the number of missing minors in the state is alarming, but contested that the reported totals could be inflated due to updating errors, which have been acknowledged by the Cleveland Police Department previously.
“Yes, of course we are worried about that,” Yost said via News 5 Cleveland. “Now, what we know is when we look behind the numbers, some of those represent repeated runaways and local police have talked about that.”
Yost also acknowledged that data for runaway, abduction or sex trafficking cases is occasionally entered incorrectly amid a police staffing shortage within the state.
“All of these things have localized reporting problems that, again, are a function of local conditions,” Yost said. “We do our best to encourage compliance and improve assistance to remove barriers, but at the end of the day, we have to rely on our local partners that we don’t control.”
“I am fearful of all kinds of things that fall through the cracks, that include missing children,” he added. “I rely on the tenacity of a worried parent more than I do a harried bureaucrat whose job it is to put data into a computer.”