Ohio has endangered missing adult alert program

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 23, 2023

COLUMBUS — Older Americans Month in May is a time to celebrate the achievements and longevity of our elders, but just as important, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says, is reinforcing our collective responsibility to protect their dignity and keep them safe as they age.

“Not only does my office go after those who neglect, steal and abuse older Ohioans,” Yost said, “But we also work hard to help older adults who go missing return home safely to loved ones.”

Key to the latter efforts is the Endangered Missing Adult Alert program, which is administered by the attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

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Using statewide emergency alerts, BCI works collaboratively with local law enforcement agencies to help find endangered older Ohioans who are reported missing. 

In many cases, the missing adults have dementia or other health challenges and could be in danger.

“A lot of Ohioans are probably familiar with the AMBER Alert system – which is used for endangered or abducted children, but far fewer may know that there’s a similar program to help locate older adults who are reported missing,” Yost said.

Like AMBER Alerts, Endangered Missing Adult Alerts rely heavily on the public’s help. 

Since Ohio implemented the program in 2008, the adult alerts – also like AMBER Alerts – have proved overwhelmingly effective.

Last year, for example, BCI issued 146 missing adult alerts based on requests from law enforcement agencies in 38 Ohio counties and two nearby states, West Virginia and New York. In all but one instance – a Dec. 7, 2022, alert issued in Clermont County – the missing older adult was either found by law enforcement or identified by the public or returned home on his or her own.