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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Police Talk About Missing Persons Protocol

DAYTON -- People go missing all the time, and unfortunately some cases end tragically. That seems to be the case with Nichelle McKnight and her son, Zaden, who are still missing, but feared dead.

We asked police how they go about deciding whether or not a missing person is truly in danger.

"I just heard that they were missing, but they might have been on a trip someplace, that's what I heard. (when did you hear that?) It's been 3-4 days ago," said Morene Sosebee, who has been keeping an eye out for her neighbors for days now. She had not yet heard that police believe Nichelle McKnight and her 4-year-old son Zaden are dead.

"That's terrible. I hope not, I've been praying for them, that's all I can do," Sosebee said.

They were last seen alive March 25, 2014. McKnight's mother did not report them missing until Saturday, March 29, 2014. The detective started working the case on Monday, March 31, 2014.

"If our officers were to respond to a call on a Saturday night and have some credible information to be concerned, that officer would notify a supervisor and that supervisor would notify the special victim's unit, who would then make a decision whether or not to launch an immediate investigation," said Lt. Wendy Stiver, who cannot speak on the specifics of the investigation.

She told us Dayton Police get more than a hundred missing persons cases each year, and each are handled depending on the person.

"That detective looks at any relevant information and starts asking questions on whether or not that person is missing, because they want to be missing. In every case, our supervisory staff evaluates and makes decisions on whether or not to issue alerts to the media," Lt. Stiver explained.
 
On Tuesday April 1, 2014, police continued to work the case, including interviewing family members. On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, police received a tip that the two were dead. Until they are found, Sosebee says she will be keeping an eye out.

"I think it's terrible, and I hope they are found safe, that's all I can say," Sosebee said.

 
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