A 17-year-old male juvenile from Hillsboro who had been reported missing was recovered safe and sound on the east side of Litchfield at 10:33 p.m. Monday, July 29. He was subsequently reunited with his family at the Litchfield Police Department.
The Hillsboro Police Department was notified at 2:18 a.m. Saturday, July 27, that the juvenile had reportedly left work in Litchfield on Friday evening, July 26, but had not returned home. The Hillsboro Police Department then began working with the Litchfield Police Department, who took over primary investigation.
The Litchfield Police Department made contact with acquaintances of the missing juvenile, and evidence in the case indicated the missing person was a runaway. There was no evidence of criminal involvement. In addition to Litchfield and Hillsboro police departments, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, and the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency also assisted in the investigation.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Montgomery County Search And Rescue Team was deployed at 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 29, for a ground search along Route 16 between Litchfield and Hillsboro. That search produced no results.
The juvenile was ultimately found after a concerned citizen who had contact with him called Litchfield police.
“We welcome verified information and appreciate the assistance from those who provided information that led to the recovery of the missing juvenile,” Litchfield Police Chief Kenny Ryker said.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
“During the course of an investigation, speculation and falsehood on social media can hamper law enforcement, requiring crucial time in chasing down leads that have no basis in truth,” Hillsboro Police Chief Randy Leetham said.
Multiple social media groups forming search parties independent of law enforcement could also impede an investigation.
“Montgomery County has a trained Search and Rescue Team in place, used in areas determined by investigators as having a high probability of producing results,” Montgomery County Sheriff Rick Robbins said. “These trained volunteers understand the needs of a law enforcement investigation, whereas unqualified searchers can accidentally destroy evidence and lead to false information.”
The Montgomery County Search and Rescue Team is used solely by first responders. Those who wish to apply for the team and take the mandatory training may pick up a volunteer application from Montgomery County EMA Director Greg Nimmo (217-532-9560) or download one at