ST. MARTIN PARISH, La. (KLFY) – Just about everyday a runaway teen is reported in Acadiana on the news or social media, and it is becoming a noticeable trend.
St. Martin Parish Sheriff, Beckett Breaux, said the number of runaways has been doubled in the past year.
“It is becoming an alarming issue for St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office.” Breaux said. “I am sure this trend is going around, not just in this parish, but other adjacent agencies and jurisdictions. That concerns us.”
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 77 percent of reported runaways were from the ages of 15-17 years old. Sheriff Breaux said this is an alarming issue as his office has a strategy on how to approach the situation.
Breaux said there are different strategies that the office does. “You know there is a national database that we put the kids into.. Incase they left town or left the state, other agencies can look into the database and see if the child is a runaway.” He said in addition to that they, “Get pictures. We post it on Facebook. Talk to neighbors. Canvas the areas where we last saw them.”
Sheriff Breaux gave advice on what parents and guardians should do if their loved one goes missing.
“My best advice is to monitor their social media. Take recent pictures in their natural setting of the child so we can take those pictures and post it on Facebook to help find your child,” said Breaux.
The St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office said they will do everything they can to locate a missing child, but they still need the help from the ones who know them the most.
Breaux said, “The children of St. Martin Parish are my children, is the children of this sheriff’s office. We are going to do everything we can to protect them, but we need help from the parents, the grandparents, friends and family. If you see something, if the child needs help, tell us.”