The Protocol for Finding Missing Persons

MERKEL, Texas (KRBC) - Earlier this year, the Merkel Police Department worked a missing person's case involving Mr. Kingston.

"There was a week where we worked 18 to 20 hours and sometimes didn't even go home," stated Phillip Conklin, an officer with the Merkel Police Department.

After a week of searching Kingston was located, already deceased.

"So for the end to be what it was, you feel defeated," Conklin continued.

But what exactly went into the search? Let's first start with dispelling a time related misconception.

"The myth of 24 hours is just that, a myth," he continued.

According to the Merkel Police Department, the timeline for a missing person's case is as follows: a call comes in, an officer is dispatched, that officer gathers information about the person in question and makes a determination whether or not the disappearance is suspicious.

"It's just based on what the patrol officer observes when he arrives on scene."

If a disappearance is suspicious, more information is gathered, initial canvasing starts, and in the case of a smaller police department such as the one in Merkel, additional aid is quickly called in.

"Time is always against us in a missing person's case. We play catchup from the minute we arrive on scene," commented Conklin.

From there additional canvasing is performed and often the community is asked for assistance. In regards to the recent disappearance of Daniel Lerma, which was a Taylor County Sheriff's Department investigation, many in the community actually formed a search party to find Lerma.

The search party did locate Lerma, unfortunately he had already passed, but the Merkel Police Department says the search still provided something valuable.

Even though he was found unfortunately deceased, it brought a lot of closure to the family and community in general.


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