Editorial Opinion St. Joseph — 23 May 2013
You can make a difference by being aware

Recent news out of Cleveland, Ohio, about the discovery of three women who had been missing for more than a decade has caused many locally to pause.

St. Joseph and the surrounding area have had its share of tragedy and heartbreak when it comes to missing people. Of course, Jacob Wetterling is the name that everyone knows and thinks of when abductions are mentioned. However, let’s not forget Joshua Guimond who also disappeared from nearby Collegeville and St. John’s University in 2002.

The discovery of the women in Ohio makes many wonder if Wetterling, Guimond and others might still be alive.

We as citizens can play an important role in cases like this.

We need to become ultra aware of activities around us and in our neighborhoods and communities.

In the Ohio case and others like it that have been reported nationally, people have spotted these missing individuals and rare occurrences. Some have ignored the incidents and others have reported them to police. In the Ohio abductions, it seems, police didn’t thoroughly investigate some of those sightings fully. For instance, a neighbor reported seeing one of the abducted women crawling naked in the backyard of the residence where she was being held captive. The neighbor called police, but for whatever reason, the follow-through didn’t occur.

We as citizens may see things from time to time that just don’t add up, make sense or seem a bit out of place. We may tend to ignore those suspicious things and justify ignoring them by reasoning we don’t want to be over-reacting or we may not want to get involved.

However, times have changed. Citizens are becoming an even more crucial part in helping law-enforcement officials do their jobs. The more eyes and ears that are on alert can make a difference in not only helping solve missing persons’ cases, but also perhaps even preventing a tragedy like those that are becoming more prevalent in our schools, at movie theatres, shopping malls or the finish lines of marathons.

We used to think law-enforcement officials might roll their eyes at a tip from a citizen. Not any more. Times have changed.

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