MEDFORD, Ore. — Three women who have been missing for nearly a decade were found alive Monday in a Cleveland home. Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michele Knight all disappeared in separate cases between 2002 and 2004.
As family members celebrate the safe return of the three abducted girls, police say they’re breathing a sigh of relief as well. Investigators say three quarters of child abductions involve female victims. The average age of those victims is 11-years-old.
Detective Eric Fox spent twelve years working on a similar case in the Rogue Valley. He was one of the detectives investigating the abduction of Kaelan Glazier, who disappeared in 1996 at the age of 15. A patrol officer at the time, he said he was the one who received the initial call for a missing child.
Fox followed the case through the identification of Glazier’s body in 2008, and the conviction of her killer just last year. He says those cases can bring officers into the victim’s families, and that grief or joy that is experienced when closure happens is hard to avoid.
“You begin to feel some of their emotions. I mean you can’t help not feel for them…Feel for those people,” said Detective Fox.
Fox says the girls rescued in Cleveland and their families will likely have to replay the case many times over. He says at least for police, they won’t be able to put it to rest until a conviction is made. In Kaelan Glazier’s case, court proceedings continued for four years after the body was found.
Research from the FBI finds that most missing children are found quickly and without incident. Only six hundredths of a percent turn out to be kidnappings by strangers. They still say to call as soon as you suspect your child is missing.