CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I-Team found thousands of juveniles wanted for crimes in Cuyahoga County, but we also found law enforcement, most of the time, is not looking for them.
We began investigating after the recent murder of 9-year-old Saniyah Nicholson. She was caught in the crossfire between teens and young adults near Lee Road and Harvard Avenue in Cleveland on June 20. Three adults and three juveniles were arrested.
We shared our findings with Saniyah’s mom.
“Oh, my God. How does that happen?” Marshawnette Daniels said.
One of the juveniles in the little girl’s murder was wanted on a weapons charge before the shooting. Many of the suspects have long criminal records as juveniles with more than a dozen cases.
"Wanted. He committed a murder, and it happens to be my baby. How did they drop the ball?" Daniels said.
Of the 2,100 teens wanted in the county, we found two wanted in murder cases, 67 for rape, 72 for violent robberies. We noticed some of the open warrants for the juveniles date back years.
"Once again, these juveniles are hurting people. Babies killed my babies," Daniels said.
Along with the juveniles, more than 10,000 adults are on the run in Cuyahoga County. Finding all of those people falls largely to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff`s Department. Mainly the warrant unit, which includes 10 deputies.
The sheriff’s department said warrants are handled case-by-case. No deputies are assigned solely to track down juveniles. Cleveland police do not have anyone doing that either.
Meantime, Saniyah’s mom is pushing for change. She wants a new law to have parents punished when their kids commit crimes.
The sheriff’s department wouldn’t provide anyone to answer questions from the I-Team.
A spokesperson pointed out the number of adult warrants has dropped significantly in the last decade, although part of that is a result of weeding out extremely old warrants. One even dated back to 1921.