Tuesday, February 14, 2006

San Jose missing kids returned

San Jose news:
Two missing San Jose children who were allowed to roam their neighborhood unsupervised were found at a Milpitas shopping mall Monday, 24 hours after they left their East San Jose home with a story about going to the library. ...

After launching a massive hunt for the children, Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies found the 9-year-old girl and her brother, 8, at the Great Mall about 3 p.m. Monday and put the children and their two siblings in protective custody. The children's father had not reported them missing until midnight, seven hours after the library closed at 5 p.m.

"They're very active, very social, very smart kids -- they're firecrackers," the children's father, Brad Bishop, said in an interview shortly after they were found. Bishop said the children were often out late into the evening.

It is not clear where Erica and Cain spent the night, but neither child was the victim of foul play, sheriff's spokesman's Serg Palanov said. It appears they simply rode a light-rail train away from home for 24 hours of adventure. ...

Chief Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu said she expected to receive a report on the incident. She said she did not know enough about the situation to say whether the parents could be charged with child endangerment. ...

When asked why the children and their 11-year-old brother and 5-year-old sister were being placed in protective custody, Palanov said, "Just the fact that they were allowed to be out that long at night -- although apparently without their parents' knowledge -- is very disturbing to us and we're looking into it as well, and that's one of the reasons they are being taken into protective custody." ...

The children -- described by Palanov as "a little sophisticated" and "astute" for their ages -- were apparently well acquainted with the light-rail system because they had ridden it with relatives.
I just listened to KGO talk show host Ronn Owens spend an hour complaining about this case. His complaints were: (1) that the kids did not have cell phones; (2) that the parents did not call police sooner; and (3) that the parents have not (yet) been charged.

A caller raised the obvious point that if we criminally prosecute parents of runaway kids, then parents will be reluctant to report their kids missing. Owens insisted that the parents' only concern should be getting their kids back, and that they should not worry about the consequences of notifying the police.

Well, these parents notified police, and as a result, they do not have their kids back. If they had kept their mouths shut, they would have their kids safely back at home. Next time, they won't call police.

No comments: