February 06, 2015 - 8:30 AM
KAMLOOPS – A local mother is calling for a change in RCMP protocol for missing persons after her daughter went missing twice in a two-day period last week and could have stayed missing if friends hadn’t come to her aid.
Jenny Dodman filed a missing persons report after her daughter didn’t come home when she left for a walk. After police sent out a media release with the 15-year-old’s photo and description, the girl turned herself in to the detachment in Logan Lake. But Dodman says she wasn’t held or convinced by the RCMP to stay long enough for her mother to come pick her up.
After police confirmed the girl was safe, she told police she didn’t want to return home and left the detachment.
“I just thought there was something else they could do. The (RCMP) just let her walk away,” she says. “As a person – as a parent – I would have encouraged a child to stay. I don’t think the RCMP rules are good.”
A spokesperson for the Kamloops RCMP did not provide comment by deadline.
Dodman says when her daughter left the detachment, she wound up at a house with several older men. She wasn't in a safe place, but police had no ability to force her to remain at their location.
“(The RCMP rule) is that unless she’s breaking the law or under the influence of alcohol or a threat to herself they can’t apprehend her," Dodman says. “It’s frustrating because she’s 15.”
When Dodman arrived in Logan Lake to search for her daughter, the teen’s friend told her she was too late and that she already left town, possibly hitchhiking to Vancouver. The RCMP detachment was closed, leaving Dodman with no more options.
“I had to drive home back to Kamloops thinking that my baby was on the highway somewhere,” she says.
Because the original missing person file was opened in Kamloops, media received a press release confirming Dodman's daughter was found safe in Logan Lake. But Dodman filed a second missing person report in Logan Lake when her daughter wasn't there and somehow that wasn't issued to media. Beyond searching for her child, Dodman was campaigning for her daughter's whereabouts on social media fighting against the police report that she was located.
Fortunately, Dodman’s daughter was travelling to a safe location after calling a friend, who travelled with a parent to come collect her.
Her daughter is safe now, but the story frightens Dodman that other missing children might not be so lucky.
“If that family wouldn’t have picked up my daughter that night, if that Dad didn’t get up out of bed and drive all the way to Logan Lake from Lumby, she would have been on the highway somewhere by herself,” she says.
Dodman is in contact with her daughter who remains with friends and expects her safe return to Kamloops soon.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015