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.
17-year-old Nyiah Hutton is missing out of Newport News.
She is 5’5” and weighs about 140 pounds. Hutton was last seen on September 23 of 2020.
Police say she could now be in New York.
News 3 investigators reached out to Newport News Police to get a hold of their policy for missing persons, and missing children's cases.
In terms of policy, documents from Newport News did not specifically address protocol for determining a case runaway. However, the procedure does detail one criteria for missing persons titled “Involuntary”. This category states “Child is missing under circumstances indicating the disappearance was not voluntary.”
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.