Abducted Girl Missing for Months: Armchair Critics of Law Enforcement At It Again (After All, Everyone Knows That It’s Easy to Find Anyone, Even if He Is Determined to Not be Found)
By Ken K. Gourdin
In response to Salt Lake Tribune coverage of a toddler who was taken from her mother during a domestic dispute with her father in February and was only located today (see here, last accessed today: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57913488-78/webb-police-child-girl.html.csp), an on-line commenter to coverage of the incident said, “Keystone Kops.” I replied, “Put in an application, then. Or better yet, really put your money where your mouth is and self-sponsor through the academy.” My interlocutor replied, “Spoken like a true government employee, or [the] spouse of one, i.e., can’t take criticism, hate any accountability, deflect blame. They got outwitted and outrun by a transient …” [Ellipses in original]. I replied:
I don’t have any problem accepting [warranted] [sic] criticism or accountability. As for blame, given a choice between fixing a problem or fixing the blame, I’d rather fix the problem. Since you implied you know so much about how this case should have been investigated (the girl now has been found), let me ask you a question.
KSL is reporting that one of the reasons the girl took so long to be found is because no one with whom the man had contact was aware that the girl had not come into his custody legitimately because the case hadn’t been widely publicized. If that’s true, then what investigative methods would you propose that law enforcement use to find someone who is determined to not be found? Conventional investigative methods are very unlikely to work. Chances are very good that this gentleman didn’t have a regular job, so you can’t talk to coworkers. If he’s estranged from family and friends, it’s likely not going to do very much good to talk to them. If he doesn’t have a stable residence, you can’t simply “sit” on that residence, watch the comings and goings, and/or talk to people who are in and out. He likely doesn’t have a non-disposable cell phone or a landline, so you can’t check those records. Talking to people on the street is going to be a tough way to generate any leads if you don’t have any information about what his regular haunts are … [Ellipses in original.] [I didn’t mention that he likely doesn’t have a bank account or a checking account, and he likely does business strictly in cash.]
If your response to all of this still is simply that I’m thin-skinned, easily stung by criticism, and so on, then I go back to my original suggestion: YOUR OUTSTANDING INVESTIGATIVE TALENTS ARE SORELY NEEDED IN LAW ENFORCEMENT.