This morning, we saw reports in print and on television noting cops' fervent search for missing 12-year-old Mireya Zapata. Disturbingly, the Tenderloin pre-teen had reportedly refused to text her mother their agreed-upon code indicating she was all right. Instead she sent along the messages “Don't look for me no more,” and “Just don't.”
Police ominously noted that Zapata did not have a history of running away. And yet, with 30 seconds of searching on the Internet, SF Weekly discovered that, yes, she did have a history of running away. Two years ago, she took off for more than 24 hours. Just like the present case, this sparked a frantic police search and a bevy of media outlets putting out the hue and call. It inspired several articles in the San Francisco Chronicle alone, including a lengthy writeup of her tearful, voluntary return to her parents' apartment. Police now describe Zapata — who, by the way, is believed to be in the East Bay, safe with friends — as a “voluntary and habitual runaway.”
Do the cops do a rudimentary Google search before raising the alarm in a case like this? No. No they do not.