The truth behind viral DC missing girls' posts

Chanel Dickerson is Commander of the Metropolitan Police Department's Youth Services Division. She explains what's being done to find DC's missing children and keep them from going missing in the first place.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Chances are if you have been on social media within the past two days you have seen #missingdcgirls trending, accompanied by a photo of 14 girls who apparently all went missing within one day from the District.  

The missing girls featured in these posts are specifically black and Latina girls. Hundreds of people are asking why the mainstream media isn't covering their stories.

But WUSA9 is and has been dedicated to finding missing children in our area. Every day we share photos of children that police ask us to share and we use the #BringThemHome.

RELATED: Are there really more missing kid cases in DC?

A post on Instagram claims 14 girls from D.C. went missing within 24 hours. Yes, there are reports of missing girls from the District, however they did not disappear over the course of one day. 

It also must be noted that some of the pictures being shared on social media are not of recently missing children. One of the most well-known examples is Relisha Rudd. Relisha's picture was shared as a "recent missing D.C. girl," however she went missing three years ago. 

Another misconception is that these missing girls have been sex trafficked. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. police confirmed they have found no links between these cases and human trafficking. Additionally, many of these girls left home on their own terms, which is why no Amber Alerts have been issued. 

WUSA9's Delia Goncalves spoke with one of the girls pictured in the viral post

For the most recent and most accurate list of children missing in DC, click here.

According to D.C. police officials, the number of missing children is down from previous years. 

It may seem like there are more missing children, but that's because the Metropolitan Police Department have changed their strategy in regards to posting missing children on social media. DC police officials say they have simply been using Twitter more often to publicize missing person reports. 

On average over the past five years, 200 people have been reported missing each month, the head of Metropolitan Police Department's Youth and Family Services stated.

So far in 2017, there have been 190 cases on average. Officials said 99 percent of all missing person cases have been closed from 2012 to 2016. Only 16 cases are still open out of the 19,000. For information and stats on missing people in the District click here

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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