(QCOSTARICA) So far this year 58 children have gone missing, that is to say on average 14 per month, a figure that is not only disturbing but also because it reveals the chilling reality of what our are children are exposed to.
According to the statistics from the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), from January 1, 2015 to April 30, 2015, there has been a radical increase in the disappearance of children under the age of 18. In 2013 there were only 10 cases, last year 19.
Of the 131 missing children in 2015 the OIJ investigate, 73 were found, the majority of cases of children running away from home. However, there are still 58 whose whereabouts are unkown.
Of the 58 missing, 46 (79.3%) are girls, which 20% of them are 14 years of age, according to the OIJ. Of the 12 boys, 8.5% are between 15 and 17 years of age, that is to say the majority are 14 and under.
According to the 2015 numbers, the OIJ says in two cases the missing are under the age of two and one case each of ages 4, 5, 8 and 10.
The statistics indicate the missing children around the country are: 23 in San Jose, Cartago 12, Alajuela 8, Guanacaste 7, Limon and Heredia with 2 each and 4 Puntarenas, a province that has never had a case.
According to the OIJ, when it comes to complaints of missing children over the age 12, the case is investigated although in the majority of cases the disappearance is a child running away from home.
But here’s the paradox.
For the Ministerio Publico (Prosecutor’s office) the disappearance of a minor, by itself, is not a crime, so the prosecution cannot intervene. That is to say that the prosecution can only take action when there are indications of a crime involved, such as an abduction, rape, murder, etc.