Police explain missing persons procedure after 3 women reported - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Police explain missing persons procedure after 3 women reported missing


With three missing women reported in less than two weeks, KCBD spoke to police to find out how they investigate a missing person report, and what loved ones can do to help in the search effort.

Rachel Guzman, Shelley Jordan and Bettye McWilliams are mothers, sisters and friends who are now no longer missing. Some stories ended happily and others left families in tears.

Sergeant Jason Lewis with the Lubbock Police Department said that every case is different, but he wants people to know that when it comes to issuing a statewide alert, there are requirements that have to be met beforehand.

Lewis said it is crucial to be prepared for an incident like this and to be ready for the unexpected, so if it ever happens, police have what they need to move forward with an investigation and send out that alert.

He said there is no rule on how long you have to wait before filing a missing person report.

"Ask questions and see where we stand," Lewis said. "Is this typical behavior? If they're obviously very young, very old or maybe have Alzheimer's or dementia, then it's a problem right then, they don't need to wait."

And if a family member is diagnosed with a medical or mental condition, Lewis said it is imperative you have documentation readily available.

"Keep a copy of a doctor's note and copies of medication somewhere very handy," he said, "because if they do end up wandering away, and we are worried about their safety, we need that in order to place a silver alert."

That is just a piece of the criteria needed to issue a silver alert. There are also criteria required for issuing an amber alert.

"It's very strict," Lewis said. "It's not a matter of picking up the phone and saying we need an amber alert and it just happens, because it doesn't work that way."

He said it is important to be observant, and if you notice something suspicious, notify police.

Rachel Guzman's son told us he noticed something wrong when he entered his mother's home Sunday morning. He shared these with police to help them in their investigation

"Her son noticed that his mom is a neat freak," Lewis said, "and so that's odd that her clothes would be out. So yes, by him saying that, that's exactly what I am talking about in noticing that that's not right. Just because your clothes are thrown out on the bed, it wouldn't mean anything to me walking into that apartment, but to her son it probably meant something because that's not something she does. Those little things can be important to us."

For a list of criteria needed to issue a silver alert, click here.

For a list of criteria needed to issue an amber alert, click here.

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