Missing child case resolved

Responders search for missing child, St. George, Utah, May 24, 2015 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A search for a missing child was successfully resolved in St. George Sunday evening.

Ashley Anderson, 11 years old, was reported missing from the Dixie Downs area Sunday but was located at a friend’s home later in the evening. She had been missing for about three hours.

Ashley’s grandmother called St. George police just after 5 p.m. to report that her granddaughter had gone to a friend’s home to collect some clothes. When Ashley failed to return, her grandmother notified police.

The Police Department utilized a reverse 911 calling system to notify people in the area about the missing girl, and officers also canvassed nearby neighborhoods.

Capt. Mike Giles, of the St. George Police Department, said Ashley was found just before 8 p.m. at another friend’s apartment.

Police officers gather in the driveway of the missing girl's grandmother's house, St. George, Utah, Sunday May 24, 2015 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News
Police officers gather in the driveway of the missing girl’s grandmother’s house, St. George, Utah, May 24, 2015 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

Giles offered some tips on what parents and caretakers can do if a child goes missing.

“First thing, before you get to that point, know who your kids’ friends are and how to contact them,” he said. “A lot of our time is spent trying to track down numbers and contact information for their friends, and if we know who the friends are and where they live, we can check those locations quickest.”

Giles said people often hesitate to involve authorities before they know for certain that a child is missing.

“Sometimes, parents are afraid to call the police, because they’re not sure that their child is missing.” Giles added. “Those first couple of hours are crucial to successfully investigating and locating the children.”

Parents should encourage children to go in groups when spending time with friends, he said, and to be aware of suspicious people or circumstances.

“It’s a matter of talking to your kids,” he said, “letting them know that if there is something suspicious, something doesn’t seem right, if it’s somebody pulling up to them, run in the opposite direction, draw as much attention as possible to themselves and get someone to call the authorities.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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