A claim made by Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith that 63 girls in Santa Clara County have been missing since January 2011, is “not up to date,” according to Sgt. Chad Gallacinao with the Gilroy Police Department.
Smith’s announcement about the swollen list of missing juvenile girls in Santa Clara County came on the heels of an arrest made in the case of missing Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar.
Of the 63 missing female juveniles in Santa Clara County, five are listed as hailing from Gilroy, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
That information, however, does not accurately reflect the true number of missing girls who are in immediate danger, according to Gallacinao.
“It’s not up to date, and at no time did the Sheriff’s Office call to verify the information that they were going to release,” he said. “I think it’s unfortunate, because I think that the information was released prematurely and upset a lot of people who are already upset over a sensitive issue.”
Firstly, there are only four missing girls from Gilroy – not five – according to Gallacinao.
Three of those individuals are chronic runaways “who have a history of running away,” Gallacinao explained.
Two have returned since May 1. The other returned, but ran away again shortly after, according to Gallacinao.
The fourth Gilroy child is believed to have been taken out of the country by her mother. Gallacinao coins that scenario as “more of a family issue than an at-risk missing teen.”
As for the three Gilroy girls classified as chronic runaways, “those investigations are ongoing,” Gallacinao pointed out. “Obviously there are concerns when they’re unsupervised, as they could be potential crime victims. And that’s why we continue our investigation until we can reunite them with their family or guardian.”