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345 children reported missing

A total of 345 cases of missing children were reported to Missing Children SA (MCSA) in the last year, the organisation said on Thursday.

For the same period, between May last year and the end of April this year, 195 adults were reported missing, it said.

The police recorded about 1460 missing persons cases annually.

Of the cases reported to MCSA in the last year, 295 children were subsequently found, a success rate of 86 percent. Overall, 80 percent of those reported to MCSA were found.

By province, Gauteng had the highest number of missing persons at 251, followed by the Western Cape at 172. Only three were reported to MCSA in the Northern Cape during the year.

Teenagers were most likely to go missing, with 190 reported missing countrywide. Eighty-three were between seven and 12 years old, and 72 were aged six and below.

The leading reason for children's disappearances was running away, at 26 percent. Almost a quarter got lost, and eight percent were abducted by strangers.

Parental and family abductions accounted for six and one percent respectively. In 32 percent of cases the cause of disappearance was unknown. Three percent were found dead.

MCSA urged parents to be vigilant.

“We have seen an increase in cases reported to our organisation and a decrease in our success rate.”

Contrary to popular belief, there was no waiting period before a person could be reported missing to the police.

“Should you report a person to the police station and the police officer tells you to come back after 24 hours, demand to speak to the station commander.”

The name, age and physical description of the missing person would need to be recorded, as well as where they were last seen and the clothes they were wearing at the time. – Sapa

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