The NCMEC works in mysterious ways and sometimes I find myself shaking my head at their classification system and who’s classified as what. The following people are listed as “endangered runaway” on the NCMEC website, when in fact they probably didn’t run away at all. I’m not saying there’s not one person on this list who ran away, but in all these cases the runaway theory is doubtful at best:
James Robert Cooper, 16, disappeared from Monroe, Michigan in 1996. Left behind his wallet, ID, money and an uncashed paycheck, and never contacted his friends or family again. Most runaways usually at least drop a postcard in the mail or call someone from a pay phone or (nowadays) update their Facebook page.
William Charles Cordes, 15, disappeared from Auburn, California in 1984. He was in a group home, and he and his friends sneaked out to go to a party and their car ran out of gas. His friends went to get gas and when they came back he was gone. His family never believed he ran away, and the circumstances of his disappearance as well as the passage of time don’t point to a runaway theory.
Ivory Francis Green, 17, disappeared from Utica, New York in 2004. In 2007, the police said they believed she was the victim of a homicide, possibly drug-related.
Angela Rene Jaramillo, 16, disappeared from Dallas, Texas in 2010. Authorities found her cell phone in a local park, along with some evidence that she’d been injured.
Stacey Haunani Kelekoma, 14, disappeared from Anahola, Hawaii in 1986. Vanished from her boyfriend’s house, leaving the TV on, the door open and her slippers by the door.
Ayellah Gbo Dzata Marshall, 17, disappeared from Hawthorne, California in 2006. Her ID turned up in the home of Lonnie Franklin, the so-called “Grim Sleeper” who’s been charged in ten murders and suspected in a lot of others.
Carlee Jade Morse, 16, disappeared from Westland, Michigan in 2010. Her ex-boyfriend and a friend of his were charged with her murder, and one of suspects pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the other.
Arkadiy Tashman, 17, disappeared from Staten Island in New York City in 2005. A strange case: he left a note saying “Sorry about this. No wake, no funeral.” There there were no indications that he was planning to run away and his family said they didn’t see signs that he was suicidal either, but it’s hard to interpret that note any other way.
Laura Lynn Thompson, 15, disappeared from New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1993. Left behind an infant son. In 2010, two suspects were charged with her murder. They’re awaiting trial.
Alissa Marie Turney, 17, disappeared from Phoenix, Arizona in 2001. She left all her belongings behind, including $1,800 in her bank account. The general consensus is that her psychotic stepfather, Michael, killed her, but he hasn’t been charged. He’s in prison for weapons violations now; he had planned to blow up a local union hall and kill himself in the process. The cops found 26 homemade bombs, 19 assault rifles and two homemade silencers at his house.