16-year old Danica told her grandmother she was going to an after-school dance program near her home in San Joaquin, however when her grandmother went to pick her up a few hours later, Danica wasn’t there. Her grandmother was frantic and filed a police report, but law enforcement considered Danica a “runaway” rather than an “abduction” so it wasn’t treated as an urgent priority.
Our investigative team immediately interviewed her friends and family and quickly figured out the name and address of a new boyfriend, whom Danica had met at a shopping mall prior to her disappearance. Our team then used confidential informants to spread the word that a new wave of investigation would be starting if Danica were not returned safely. 24 hours later, Danica was returned, walking in a daze in very inappropriate clothing. Our team talked to the parents on the telephone as they drove Danica to St. Joseph’s Hospital Emergency Room. Her speech was slurred, and she was unable to answer simple questions. We contacted the non-emergency dispatcher and alerted them to signs of human trafficking and other crimes. We also suggested law enforcement call in the Sexual Assault Response Team as the dispatchers thought it was “only” a recovered missing child.
Danica is now home safe.