“When a child is reported as missing, we rely on law enforcement officers to locate and reunite the child with their loved ones – a mission that requires quick thinking and compassion,” Yost said. “I’m thankful for the peace officers who drop everything at a moment’s notice to protect a child and those who are dedicated to the pursuit of the children not yet found.”
The clearinghouse documented 21,520 people reported missing in 2020 (2,772 fewer than the year before). Of those, 16,332 were reports of missing children: 8,396 females, 7,935 males and, in one entry, the sex was unknown. Authorities reported that 97.2% – a total of 15,881 children – were recovered safely by year’s end. Open source data revealed that seven Ohio children reported missing were found dead in 2020.
There were six attempted child abductions in 2020 (15 fewer than in 2019) involving six girls and one boy. Of incidents in which the suspect’s method of abduction is known, 50% involved suspects driving vehicles. In all reported incidents, the children were approached in public spaces such as parks, stores or walking along public streets.
In 2020, Ohio law enforcement issued seven Amber Alerts through the Ohio Amber Alert Plan. All seven of the children were recovered safely. Additionally, 10 Endangered Missing Children Alerts were issued, involving one child each. Eight children were recovered safe and two were found deceased. In both cases where the child was not recovered safely, the cause of death was accidental drowning.
The Ohio Missing Persons Unit is housed within the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and operates the Missing Children Clearinghouse. As a part of BCI’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, the Missing Persons Unit coordinates resources, facilitates rapid responses to missing person cases and provides immediate access to important investigative tools. In addition to focusing on missing children, the Missing Persons Unit plays an integral role in cases and issues involving missing adults, human trafficking and unidentified human remains.
The Missing Persons Unit has a 24-hour toll-free hotline (800-325-5604) to field calls from law enforcement, parents and community members. A database of Ohio Missing Persons along with a full copy of the report is available on the attorney general’s website.