Dozens Of Kids Mysteriously Missing In Cleveland

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The Cleveland, Ohio, area is seeing an unprecedented number of missing children cases this year.

Almost 30 kids, aged 12 to 17, were reported missing over a two-week span in May.

“There’s always peaks and valleys with missing persons, but this year it seems like an extraordinary year,” Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy said.

Newburgh Heights is a suburb just outside of Cleveland.

“For some reason, in 2023, we’ve seen a lot more than we normally see,” Majoy said. “Which is troubling in part because we don’t know what’s going on with some of these kids, whether they’re being trafficked or whether they’re involved in gang activity or drugs.”

Nearly 30 Cleveland kids went missing in a two-week period alone. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Majoy suspects most cases are runaways instead of abductions. But he noted teenagers are naive and susceptible to predators.

And the disappearances usually don’t make the news unless there’s an Amber Alert.

“It’s a silent crime that happens right under our noses,” he said. “The problem is where are they? Where do they go? They can be in a drug house or farmed to prostitution or caught up in drug trafficking or gangs.”

According to Majoy, the missing kids end up feeding into Cleveland’s larger crime problem.

The minors join gangs for protection, which leads to initiation crimes like carjackings and robberies. They often sell their bodies or they use drugs and become addicts, Majoy said. 

Cleveland Ramps Up Search For Missing Kids

In May, U.S. Marshals launched “Operation We Will Find You” to recover the missing children. 

Agents combed through cases in Cleveland, Toledo, Akron and other surrounding counties to find the minors — with some of the kids located as far as California, Arizona and West Virginia.

“The epidemic of missing children in our country needs a spotlight. It needs our focus. We hope operations like this sharpen that focus,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said. “Every child deserves a safe environment to grow up in, and we are dedicated to helping provide that for the children and families in Northern Ohio.”

More than 15,000 children were reported missing in Ohio last year, and four of them were found dead.

In more than 8,500 of the cases, abduction played a role.

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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