BALDWIN, La. (KLFY) — When Quawan Charles’ parents reported him missing on Friday, Oct. 30, Baldwin Police filed a missing person report.
When Charles had not been found by Monday, Nov. 3, his parents went to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, who said they were not aware of a missing child in their area.
Within hours, they had pinged his cell phone and found his body.
News 10 dug deeper into why Baldwin Police say they don’t have the capability to ping a phone and if that’s really true.
“This idea that you need stingray software is wrong, and that they don’t know this is disappointing and concerning. That should have been done on Oct. 30, not Nov. 3,” Chase Trichell, an attorney for Quawan Charles’ family said.
Baldwin Police told News 10 they didn’t ping Charles’ phone because their department doesn’t have that capability. Trichell says that’s not true.
“Baldwin P.D. stated yesterday that they don’t have the wherewithal or the technologies to ping cell phones. Guess what. You don’t need special technology to ping cell phones. You do not need a warrant to ping a cell phone. You call the service provider, and they ping it for you,” he said.
To test this, I called my own service provider. My service provider said, ‘Absolutely. There’s a whole department.'”
My service provider told me there’s an entire department set up for law enforcement to ping cell phones.
This week News 10 asked Baldwin Police Chief Harry Smith what was done to find Charles in the days after he went missing.
“My officer, when he initially took the report down, he put the missing persons report into NCIC, into the computer. Myself and the assistant chief, the thought was to know to kind of be on the lookout for the kid, you know, to see if they would see him,” Chief Smith told News 10.
Baldwin Police did not ping his cell phone.
“My officer that was working, he had called his phone all weekend and was trying to call his phone that weekend,” Chief Smith added.
“Let’s be clear. What they did was call Bobby’s cell phone,” attorney Chase Trichell said. “By their own admission, ‘We called the young man. We texted the young man.’ If that’s all they can do, they are already doing what mom was already doing. You think Roxanne hadn’t called him and texted him up to that point? So if that’s all they can do, then it’s supremely inadequate, and this is going to keep happening.”
News 10 also spoke with other local law enforcement agencies about their abilities to ping cell phones.
Multiple police chiefs told News 10 they just call the individual’s service provider and request them to ping the phone.
They often have the cell phone’s location within 15 minutes.