Investigating Missing Persons Cases in South Dakota
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – South Dakota authorities investigate anywhere from 35 to 55 active missing persons cases at any given time. Rarely do the reports turn into full blown investigations like the Mollie Tibbetts case.
“Sometimes people just need time by themselves. Usually it’s those cases and it’s once we get a hold of the people they say, ‘Yeah, we’re fine.’ And we’re good with it,” said Officer Sam Clemens with the Sioux Falls Police Department.
Police say there is often a misconception that a certain period of time has to pass before a person can be reported missing.
That’s not the case, missing persons reports can be made right away.
Sioux Falls Police say their investigations begin once they receive a Missing Persons report.
“They can certainly involve patrol officers, street crimes officers, sometimes it’s the Warrant Task Force from the Sheriff’s Office that assists as well. So there’s a lot of different resources, it really just depends on what we’re looking at, what incident we’re talking about and where the information takes us,” said Clemens.
CrimeStoppers is another tool authorities can use to assist in their investigation. People can make tips anonymously and sometimes, there are cash rewards.
“Some people, they may have that information, they may not necessarily provide it but if they hear there’s some money that might be involved with it that may sway them. Obviously what’s that designed to do is get those different pieces of information on a crime or perhaps a missing person but get that to police as soon as possible.”
When local authorities have exhausted all their resources or need more help, that’s when state or even federal authorities step in.
South Dakota’s Division of Criminal Investigation maintains a “Missing Persons Clearinghouse.”
Right now, there are seven missing people listed.
The most recent case is Rachel Cyriacks.