More than 400 children are missing in Virginia right now, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children but most do not qualify to get an AMBER Alert.
In a series called Have You Seen Me, News 3 Investigator Jessica Larche shows us why.
Why don't all missing children's cases warrant an alert for media coverage? Because many of them are considered runaways. Parents and experts tell us though that it doesn't mean the children aren't in danger.
So, News 3 is taking action to bridge the disparity in coverage for missing children.
This case was fond by the Investigative team at News 3 by digging through national sites for missing and exploited children.
16-year-old Alana Burton is missing out of Portsmouth. She is about 5’5” and 120 pounds.
She was last seen on November 22 wearing pink pajama pants and a white tank top.
She has a tattoo on her chest and could be carrying a bag of clothes she took from home.
News 3 investigators reached out to Portsmouth Police to get a hold of their policy for missing persons, and missing children's cases.
In the document of Portsmouth's policy for runaways they provided, it says: "in cases where the child is 13 and is known to be a chronic runaway (3 times or more), the supervisor will assess the case to determine the extent of the search required, specialized services required, and if the public information officer should be notified."
We asked police how many times Alana is believed to have run away, but have not yet heard back.
If you have any information on Burton’s location call your local police department.
- Samaritan House also operates a 24/7 crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. That number is (757) 430-2120.
- You can also call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
- To report a tip of suspected human trafficking activity, you can call 1-866-347-2423.