State Police said there are ways of preventing instances of missing children, such as the one that occurred in Monongalia County, Monday, June 8. 

They said communication is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with children and seeing signs of situations where a child may consider running away.  

Children in their teen years are most likely to run away. State Police said parents who have good relationships with their children will see the warning signs, like depression, anger and frustration, before it happens.  

“If you’re in tune with what your child likes to do and what makes him, what makes his personality, you’ll see a change if something is wrong in his life or her life, and that’s when you start asking questions,” said Sgt. Michael Kief, Morgantown detachment commander.  

Kief said State Police handle one missing child report every week. He said parents should not wait to call 911 if they realize their child is missing. In fact, faster reactions from parents could lead to a quicker, safer search for authorities.  

“There’s a misconception that you have to wait some amount of time; that’s not the case whatsoever,” said Kief. “There’s not a 24-hour mandatory period, nothing like that. As soon as you find your son or daughter missing, you need to call in so we can get on the trail as quickly as possible.”

Parents should also reach out to their children’s friends, especially boyfriends and girlfriends, if they are trying to locate their missing child.