This year, the Red Deer RCMP have sent out more than 50 press releases regarding missing persons.
Officials with the detachment have said that is not uncommon for Red Deer and the number may seem high because of a new position that has been filled within the organization.
“The fact that we do have our communications specialist in the detachment now – not only have our missing persons releases increased but our releases have increased in general,” said Cpl. Leanne Molzahn, of the Red Deer RCMP. “Given the fact that we are a City of close to 100,000 people, I believe that is probably consistent with the amount of people that live in this community.”
The general public may be under the impression that there have been a lot of missing persons as of late, but Molzahn said social media has also played a role in that perception as well.
“There’s the use of facebook with the various users that post them, there’s the use of Twitter and it’s just out there a lot more. It’s more widely spread by utilizing those means. It’s getting a lot more coverage.”
Since January, the Red Deer RCMP have put out more than 55 releases regarding people who have been reported missing. Of that, 10 have been adults and the remaining have been youth.
“More commonly it does seem that we are seeing more youth,” said Molzahn. “The RCMP take all missing persons reports seriously and especially those involving the vulnerable and that includes the young people, so it does seem that that is the most common is our youth.”
In addition, Molzahn said that missing persons reports are handled on a case-by-case basis by the RCMP.
“Every case is handled differently and investigators determine if and when a media release will be included on each case. There’s a lot of factors and investigation that goes on to determine if a media release is suitable,” she said. “There really isn’t anything set. It’s really case-by-case.”
She added the RCMP have found success in utilizing the media releases as all of those reported missing have been found except for two outstanding people – Diamond Saddleback and Megan L’Hirondelle.
“We do have success with the media releases and that is why we continue to use them as an investigational tool whether it’s that individual hearing that the police are looking for them or members of the public, friends or acquaintances pointing us in the right direction to find these people and bring them home safely.”