B.U.R.N. volunteers meet, ready-to-ride, search for missing children

B.U.R.N. meet and greet, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Bikers Urban Response Needed and its new Southern Utah chapter of volunteers stands ready to serve when a child is missing. In an effort to promote awareness of their mission, the group held a community meet-and-greet on Saturday at J.C. Snow Park in St. George.

B.U.R.N. meet and greet, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

A division of the nonprofit Center for Search and Investigations for Missing Children, B.U.R.N. is a nationwide network of bikers who are ready to ride at a moment’s notice in search of missing children.

“Responding quickly when a child goes missing, or when tips as to their whereabouts come in, is very important in getting them found safe,” B.U.R.N. Western District Vice President Jason Clark said. “B.U.R.N. is able to do that.”

When a child is reported missing to CFSI, the nearest B.U.R.N. chapter is notified. Volunteers distribute flyers and social media announcements, join search efforts organized by law enforcement and canvass areas where the child may be, passing along leads to investigators.

“We don’t stop until the child is found,” Southern Utah B.U.R.N. road captain Amy Macomber said.

On Jan. 5, 16-year-old Amanda Artrup of St. George was reported missing as a runaway. Volunteers from B.U.R.N. and CFSI Utah organized a poster distribution the following week, and a prayer vigil and release of balloons with missing flyers attached on Jan. 25.

Western District Vice President Jason Clark at the B.U.R.N. meet and greet, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

Local B.U.R.N. members networked with other volunteers in the Las Vegas area, who kept watch over her ex-boyfriend’s house in Henderson, where she was believed to be hiding. Their efforts were successful when she turned herself in to authorities on Feb. 1.

“They give you support and encouragement to keep hoping that your child is safe,” Amanda Artrup’s mother, Mindi Artrup, said. “They will go beyond and do whatever is necessary to find your child.”

The group was also successful in locating a missing relative of Macomber’s recently. Nationwide, 80 percent of CFSI/B.U.R.N. cases are “found safe,” mostly due to tips from posters.

As awareness of B.U.R.N. spreads, more families are reaching out to the group for help. Volunteers are needed; the only requirement is a willingness to help whenever possible. If you don’t ride but want to join the cause, CFSI may be the right fit. Visit B.U.R.N. or CFSI Utah on Facebook for more information.

Approximately 300 children are reported missing in Utah every month. Local law enforcement resources are limited, especially in the case of runaways. B.U.R.N. picks up where investigators leave off.

“Having multiple eyes looking for the child will make it nearly impossible to hide out and therefore, (many) are found safe in a short amount of time,” said Audra Bennion, CFSI Nevada state coordinator and Southern Utah representative of CFSI Utah.

B.U.R.N. meet and greet, St. George, Utah, April 5, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

“If a child goes missing, the police department may seek the help of citizens and volunteers to assist in an organized and coordinated effort; there are strict guidelines for these volunteers. If someone with B.U.R.N. would like to assist in the search for a missing child, they are welcome to join in that effort under the direction of the Police Department,” said Sgt. Sam Despain, public information officer for the St. George Police Department. “We welcome the help of qualified individuals to assist. We applaud the efforts of any group or organization making an effort to provide a positive service to the community.”

Resources

Southern Utah B.U.R.N.

CFSI Utah

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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