Sue Evans, Minot
The missing individuals are mounting. Families are at a loss of what to do and have to gain a fast education. Our laws focused on smoking, abortion, same sex rights. We have many hot button topics. I do not wish to discount any of these or an individual stance.
There is a point we need to set aside these fights for a moment, find the missing people and help families. I recently found a mother and father who tried to report a missing adult son to the Highway Patrol and Grand Forks PD. They were denied the ability to report citing only the last person to see their son could make this report. I would say this is an incorrect statement.
The ND Supreme Court has held time and time again: The Legislature's intent must be sought initially from the language of the statutes. Words in statutes must be given their plain, ordinary, and commonly understood meaning.
12-68-01. Missing person reports.
1. A report of a missing person may be made to any law enforcement agency in the state.
The law enforcement agency may not refuse to accept a missing person report solely on the basis that:
a. The missing person is an adult;
b. The circumstances do not indicate foul play;
c. The person has been missing for a short period of time;
d. The person has been missing for a long period of time; or
e. There is no indication that the missing person was in the jurisdiction served by the law enforcement agency at the time of the disappearance.
Many families have printed flyers, worked endless hours, begun social media pages and contacted media in an effort to promptly locate a loved one.
I asked the Attorney General's Office who actually has the ability to file a missing person's report. I got a lackluster response. "Unfortunately, the Attorney General and his staff are prohibited by law from providing legal advice or assistance to members of the public; we serve as legal advisors to state agencies and certain local government officials. Further, this office does not have jurisdiction or authority over the NDHP or local law enforcement agencies."
No matter your stance on the missing individual, where they are from or this oil boom, they are important. I have no solution. It appears it is up to the public.