First 72 hours 'crucial' in missing persons cases

Charleston, SC (WCSC) - As the search for a missing North Carolina teen moves to the Grand Strand, missing persons specialists offers advice and information to the general public.

"The first 72 hours in missing persons cases are crucial," said Monica Caison, a staff member of the Cue Center -- a North Carolina based missing persons research center.  "If you get the word out within three days, your chances of recovering the person, or persons, is almost double."

Caison says the current search for 15-year-old Brianna Dawn-Perry is reaching that breaking point now; Dawn-Perry was last believed to be headed for Myrtle Beach on Wednesday, March 31.  A state-wide search began Saturday, focusing on main routes between her Catawba County, N.C., home and Myrtle Beach.

Despite the efforts, Caison says the search is getting tougher amidst a booming tourism season.

"With it being Spring Break, there are wall to wall people on the beach," said Caison. "Every 12th person looks like [Dawn-Perry], so it just makes it that much more difficult."

Caison says spring and summer months are also the seasons that many abductions, or alleged abductions, take places.

"Predators know young people are going to be out and about in areas they aren't familiar with," said Caison.  "It's tricky."

Caison said about one-half of missing persons cases reported to the Cue Center are for those under the age of 21, a majority of whom disappear when allegedly en-route to a friend, often without parental or guardian supervision.

"[People] let their guard down a little too easily at times, " said Caison.  "When you're young and not protected, bad things can happen."

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