CLEVELAND-The FOX 8 I-Team has learned a state check of Cleveland Police missing persons records found widespread critical errors. And, significant errors were found for the third year in a row.
The highway patrol did an audit of the Cleveland missing persons records put into a police computer, and 43% had errors. This follows 51% last year and 50% the year before.
Amanda Berry spent ten years as a missing person held hostage on the west side. She knows how significant every clue can be in a missing persons case, so to her, the state findings are troubling.
Berry told the I-Team, “So it’s kinda scary. How can you do your job with incorrect information? Especially with something so important as missing people.”
The state patrol’s review found records with no date of birth, information entered two years after a report was filed, no dental records and more.
Amanda Berry thought about this and looked back to her days in captivity. She said, ” So you’re like, why can’t you connect this piece to this piece? Or why can’t you connect this person to this area or this phone call?”
The I-Team wanted to ask police brass or city leaders about this for you. Why are there so many problems? What’s being done about them? No one at police headquarters or City Hall would face an I-Team camera. Instead, the police department simply issued a statement.
Police say they’re arranging training, “identifying proper procedures,” and hiring more staff.
All of this is disturbing to Donnita Carmichael, too. Her mother was one of 11 women murdered by Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell. That case raised questions about Cleveland’s handling of missing persons way back in 2009.
Carmichael said about the new findings, “That doesn’t surprise me at all.” She added, “And I wouldn’t want this to happen to another family, let alone 11 families. Something needs to be done.”
Amanda Berry now can be seen on FOX 8 regularly hosting segments trying to help find the missing. She hopes the record-keeping gets better before it’s too late. She said, “It’s just not traffic tickets or little violations.”
Police say they’ve now made corrections with the records. The state had threatened to take action to punish the city because of the errors in the latest audit.