Over two dozen children have gone missing in Cleveland in the first two weeks of May, police officials said, raising the alarm about the “extraordinary” surge of disappearances in the area.
At least 27 kids have been reported missing between 2 and 16 May, Newburgh Heights police chief John Majoy said.
The police chief, who also serves as board president for the organisation Cleveland Missing, warned that the disappearances of children aged 12-17 years have reached “unprecedented levels” in 2023.
“There’s always peaks and valleys with missing persons, but this year it seems like an extraordinary year,” Mr Majoy told Fox News.
“For some reason, in 2023, we’ve seen a lot more than we normally see, 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.”
According to the police chief, the majority of the cases were likely runaways, but he feared that young teenagers could also have fallen victim to predators, who could be “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.
There were a total of 56 active missing children cases in Cleveland as of mid-May.
Most of the disappearances do not make the news unless there is an Amber Alert, he lamented, adding that solving the cases becomes difficult because often there is a lack of photos of the victims.