Until Jan. 3, a week after she disappeared on December 27, 13-year-old Colorado City, TX middle school cheerleader Hailey Dunn was classified as a runaway. Police Chief John Bevins declaration has been parroted by local media, most notably local radio station owner Jim Baum, who told the local NBC affiliate, "To tell you the truth, this is the first time, and I've been here 30 years, that we've had a runaway like this. It's so uncommon”. Calling a missing child a runaway has always been law enforcement’s fallback position. It allows them to defer responsibility and puts the onus of recovery on the shoulders of the family, because runaways are considered a family issue. This action also reflects an exaggerated and distorted sense of what is happening to America’s children.
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