February 16th, 2007 14:40 EST
FBI Bringing Two Missouri Teens Home
It was a case that brought a happy reunion to two families and made many of us hug our kids a little tighter.
You probably know the story: how a Missouri teen disappeared after school one day last month…how an alert classmate caught sight of a white pickup truck fleeing the scene and provided details to authorities…how the media kept the case in the public eye for four days until law enforcement officers in the St. Louis suburbs spotted the truck in a local apartment complex parking lot.
And most surprising and gratifying of all: how the ensuing search of the suspect’s apartment by local police and FBI agents found not only the one teen, but another who’d been missing for four years.
In an age where teamwork rarely makes news, except perhaps in sports victories, the rescues were truly a partnership—from the public’s watchful eyes…to the media’s far-reaching spotlight…to law enforcement’s investigative legwork.
The FBI was pleased to play a role in the case . So far, about 50 of our agents and specialists have contributed. Here’s a snapshot of the various capabilities we’ve brought to the table (and often do in these cases):
- Soon after the teen was reported missing, we set up and led a multi-agency command post that helped generate and process some 800 leads.
- One of our Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Teams—made up of agents and analysts with a proven track record in crimes against children investigations—provided on-site investigative, technical, and resource assistance.
- One of our local victim specialists joined the command post at the outset to keep the family informed. Once the teens were found, the specialist arranged medical exams for both boys. The specialist continues working to ensure the families receive a seamless array of services available to them from federal and local agencies without being overwhelmed.
- Our victim assistance specialists also arranged for a contractor to conduct careful forensic interviews that would help avoid upsetting the teens. The interviewer coordinated with local officials so the boys wouldn’t be subjected to repetitious and overlapping interviews.
- We sent two experts in behavioral analysis from the FBI Lab to provide insights into offender behaviors in these types of cases and to support the family with interview strategies and other advice.
- Members of our St. Louis Evidence Response Team also helped search for evidence in the apartment where the suspect held the boys captive.
Our partners at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children—where FBI agents are stationed full-time—also dispatched specialists to help in the search and investigation and to support the families.
“What a blessing to find not one but two missing kids,” said Roland J. Corvington, the special agent in charge of the St. Louis FBI office. “This is the payday for honing our skills and pooling our resources with our partners.”
And the partnership continues. A new multi-agency task force was formed to move the investigation forward and to check for links to other local missing children cases.