HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Police have their hands full with runaway calls, receiving 93 calls since mid-January. Police say they investigate each call thoroughly before launching a full-on search.
"Almost one hundred in three months is a significant number of any time, to say this is just runaways, this is one particular classification of our police calls, and it's 93 times in three months that we've had to go out there and do this, it's quite a significant number," says Lt. Raul Denis with the Horry County Police Department.
Of those 93, Lt. Denis says 57 involved parents or guardians searching for their children. "That's what makes us get involved, that's what makes us get involved, the fact that they're still children in the eyes of the law," Lt. Denis explained.
As for adults, Denis says people have the right to come and go as they please.
Denis says after a while, officers will learn who the "runaway regulars" are, where to find them, and bring them home.
Denis explains there's a difference between a runaway and a missing person.
"A runaway doesn't want to be found, a runaway wants to run away, wants to be out there doing whatever, whereever," Denis said.
If the runaway has a medical condition, is elderly or young and in need of attention, Denis says they will launch a search, but a missing person is missing in every sense of the word, meaning no one knows where they went, or if they are safe and police don't hold back on their resources.
"If we know somebody's missing, We assign detectives to it quickly, Detectives spend a lot of time and energy tracking down where they were last seen, who they last spoke to, chasing down those people and getting confirmation or dismissing them as suspects or contacts or whatever it be...a lot of effort goes into looking for a missing person," Lt. Denis explained.
Lt. Denis says there is no hesitation acting on a missing persons case, but whether looking for someone who's missing or a runaway, you should always provide police with as much information as possible, down to what the person may be wearing.