CLEVELAND, Ohio (NewsNation) — An alarming number of children have been disappearing in Cleveland, with more than 30 reported missing over a two-week span at the start of May — many of them without their pictures on the city’s missing persons website.
Just two days ago, another teenage girl was reported missing, adding to the growing concerns.
Now, officials fear some of these kids could be victims of predators.
Law enforcement officials told NewsNation that most of the children reported missing in Cleveland are likely to be runaways.
However, police are still calling this trend alarming, and no one seems to know exactly why it’s happening.
Cleveland Police Department missing-person data shows that 34 missing children were reported in May, and they were all still missing as of Friday.
The uptick follows a mission by the U.S. Marshals Service, which has been described as a success, during which marshals found 225 missing children in 16 locations throughout the country during Operation We Will Find You.
In Ohio, the initiative led to the discovery of 35 children.
In 2021, marshals said more than 300,000 children were reported missing. They reported that 91% of them were runaways, and one in six were likely victims of human trafficking.
When the weather gets warmer and school is out, law enforcement officials said there’s typically an uptick in children reported missing.
They also tend to see a spike after big operations to find missing kids end.
Still, no one interviewed by NewsNation could identify why Cleveland has seen this alarming jump in missing children reports over the past month.