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Palo Alto 15 year old reported missing

Original post made on May 20, 2011

A 15-year-old Palo Alto resident, Annie Shark, has gone missing, and the police department is requesting help in finding her.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 20, 2011, 9:13 PM

Comments (13)

Posted by Gaston Olvera, a resident of Midtown
on May 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm

We just got a call from the PA PD... She has been located an reunited with her family... Great news...!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

Just curious why the comment about her being found in her backyard was removed. As a community parent who received the police calls last night, it was unnerving. I would like some followup regarding what really happened and I would also like to know under what circumstances it is appropriate to notify the police that a teenage girl is missing - and then, when calls will go out, etc. I would like to know, so that I can respond accordingly, in action, stress and in case it happens to my kids. (so I think the comment was reasonable). What was the deal?


Posted by Agree with Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

I saw the comment from qq too and she has a police radio.

I think we have a right to know what happened since we were all notified.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

The comment was from a different "qq". The one with the police scanner also puts a link to the twitter feed with the police reports so we know it is the real one.

This girl is known (just from school) by teens in our household. It made us discuss just how important it is for them to let us know where they are and if their plans change. Even in days with cell phones, it is not OK to assume that letting parents know what is going on is not OK. To our teens, it seemed like over-reacting on the part of parents. We were able to pint out that it is worrying and if something dreadful had happened, the police response is best within a couple of hours of knowing of a "kidnapping" rather than a day later.

If nothing else, this should be a discussion starter in the homes of all teens who received the call.

So glad she was found OK and thanks for the opportunity to learn from this.


Posted by midtown parent, a resident of Midtown
on May 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I'm grateful to live in a community where the police are willing to act immediately when something like a missing child is reported and am also glad that they will activate the emergency system in this way. The sooner the word gets out to the community after a child goes missing, the more likely it is that we can avert a tragedy. If, once in a while, it means that there is a "false alarm", then that's a price I am more than willing to pay. Thank you to the police. I also agree that it provides a teaching moment to remind our kids to keep us aware of their plans so that we can keep the worries to a minimum.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Is that what it was then, a false alarm? That's ok, but it would be nice if that was officially confirmed.

I'm still interested in guidelines, as well.

For my kids, they are generally too young (not that independent) for this to be much of a teaching opportunity.


Posted by fatnino, a resident of Midtown
on May 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm

This feels a bit "off".
My family has in the past called the police to report a 13 year old missing and the response from them then was, "Kids run off all the time, call us again if he's not back in a day or 2".

I'm glad this story turned out ok, but I also can't shake the feeling that someone with connections had to pull some strings to make these phone calls go out when they did (so soon).
Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but our tax dollars had to pay for these calls.


Posted by noway, a resident of El Carmelo School
on May 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Fatnino,
In this day and age of lawsuits, I doubt that someone told you that.

Glad the kid was found safe...good reminder for us to have a plan worked out with our kids.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

It is worth knowing a few things legally about missing persons. First, there is no "waiting period" until you can report it in. In fact, don't waste time. A few things by law: (i) a report must be initiated by the agency whenever a person is reported missing; (ii) the report must be accepted without delay; (iii) it must be accepted regardless of jurisdiction; and (iv) it must be given priority over reports of non-emergency property-related crimes. If the missing person is "at risk" a Be On Lookout (BOL) broadcast must be made without delay. Legally anyone under 16 is automatically at risk. At risk can also be elderly, mentally ill, suicidal, etc. The agency must also notify the missing persons database within 4 hours of an at-risk missing person. The California DOJ is also notified within 24 hours for at-risk. So if your child or family member goes missing, make sure you understand how they may qualify as at risk to have their case dealt with appropriately.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm

This event plus the case of the Danville teen who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge this week after a similar missing teen alert shows that we must take every notice of a teen not being where supposed to be very seriously.

I think the high schools should alert parents if their child is missing from school during the school day, not at 6.00 pm when the dialer automatically alerts families. Elementary schools contact families within an hour if the child has not turned up at school. Leaving it until evening is too late.


Posted by Melissa, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Been missing my daughter for months and east Palo Alto police department. Not doing nothing to help...


Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Agree with Resident. Attendance is all electronic now so the attendance office can easily see who is not attending their first class. I wrote to Superintendent Skelly regarding this and he thinks this is a safe town and we don't need to worry about students disappearing so there is no need for the employees to do extra work.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 21, 2013 at 2:34 am

@Parent,
I agree with you and Resident, too. I have found it really disturbing to have calls that my child was not in school after a whole day when said child was in school, just late for first period. Very unnerving to consider what happens in an emergency. There is no reason they can't notify immediately via the system.

(Do you know why the PA libraries notify you two days before your books are due instead of two weeks after? A long argument about it with Paula Simpson - not all of these administrators understand the technology well enough to know it's no big deal to change. Please persist in your complaint, Parent!)


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