The Anderson Police Department must do a better job of taking missing person reports seriously and investigating such reports with sincere effort.
After the family of Timothy Adkins, 52, reported him missing to Anderson Police on June 1, 2018, his family searched frantically for him at spots around the city.
About a month later, they learned he was incarcerated in the Dearborn County jail.
The fact that he was still alive was a great relief to the family, but why hadn't Anderson police discovered that Adkins was in jail in another county?
Anderson Police Department Maj. Joel Sandefur later told The Herald Bulletin that criminal checks are not always conducted when officers take missing person reports.
“Each case is unique to itself, and you handle it case by case in many circumstances,” he said. “Many of them in many situations are unique to themselves.”
That position defies common sense, which would dictate a check with the state's jails in cases such as Adkins'.
The family grew even more frustrated when they reported to local police that Adkins was in the Dearborn County jail and asked that he be removed from the missing persons list.
Police told the family, they say, that for Adkins to be removed, he would have to come to the APD office to prove that he was no longer missing.
That was going to be difficult since Adkins, again, was incarcerated elsewhere.
In researching a news story (published Wednesday) on missing people in Madison County, The Herald Bulletin discovered at least one other person erroneously still listed as missing in Madison County. Mona Davis' body had been found June 20.
By Tuesday of this week, the names of Davis and Adkins had both been removed from the missing persons database.
Elizabeth Freestone said she had gone with her stepsister, Adkins' wife, to notify Anderson police that Adkins was missing.
“I do believe a lot of people get dismissed because either they are poor or they have addictions,” she said. "I do think the Anderson Police Department needs to get up and do a little bit more when it comes to not only kids being runaways, but missing adults.”
The whole affair was all too familiar to Freestone. She had taken her daughter to the police station to have her removed from the missing persons list and, six months later, someone from the APD came to her home asking whether her daughter had been found, according to Freestone.
Anderson police must do better.