Directions Read the background, the story, and assignment instructions before beginning. Also refer to the DNRC Written Exercise Guidelines. Background The following story is a fictional account of an incident that occurred during the mythical DemocraticRepublican National Convention (DRNC) event in Miami, Florida. The story is loosely based on an amalgamation of real life occurrences during the Free Trade Area of the Americas conference in Miami, Florida in 2003. The names of all the characters in the story are fictional.
James Jones and his wife Camilla were thrilled that they had both been selected back home in Ohio to be delegates at the Democratic-Republican National Convention in Miami. Both had volunteered for years at the local DRNC headquarters in Columbus as campaign staffers, and now they were being rewarded by being elected as delegates from the important swing state of Ohio. James and Camilla felt privileged, since it’s not often that a husband and wife are chosen to be delegates at the same time… and going to Miami was a once in a lifetime opportunity for them. For years they had planned to visit Miami Beach with their two teenaged daughters and young son, but due to their busy schedules and family budget constraints, they had put off their plans year after year. Now the opportunity of a lifetime had come to them, and James and Camilla decided that they would bring their three children with them, even if it meant that the kids would have to miss a week of school at the beginning of the school year. James and Camilla decided to reserve two adjacent rooms at the Intercontinental Hotel in Downtown Miami, where most of the delegates were staying the week of the convention. James and Camilla planned to stay in one room, and their two daughters, 16-year old Samantha, 13-year old Priscilla, would stay in the adjacent room and take care of the 8-year old boy, James Junior (J.J.). There were not too many children staying at the Intercontinental Hotel for the convention, since most of the delegates from around the country did not bring their families with them, but the DRNC had made provisions for family activities anyway. In addition to the large pool area, the hotel offered several amenities for kids of all ages. In addition, the DRNC had hired a staff of 6 day care specialists to supervise the various family activities for the children of the delegates. The DRNC set up a game room with arcade style video games, and close to the pool area, they set up two basketball goals, as well as other games such as volleyball and horseshoe toss. Since the entire hotel area had been sealed off to the general public, James and Camilla felt that their kids would be safe while they attended the Convention events during their one week stay. The Joneses arrived at Miami International Airport on Sunday afternoon, one day prior to the Convention where they took a shuttle to the hotel. By 3 o’clock they had checked into their adjacent rooms at the hotel. That first day, they took another shuttle from the hotel to Miami Beach, where the family spent the rest of the afternoon. The Convention activities would start on Monday evening, and continue through the final nomination of the presidential candidate late on Friday night. In the meantime, the Joneses decided to see some of the sights and enjoy the beaches for a day and half that they had together. Afterward, James and Camilla would be committed to the event activities for the remainder of the week, but they felt that the two girls and their son would be safe in the secured and supervised hotel area. Monday and Tuesday passed with no notable incidents. Every day around 11 a.m., James and Camilla boarded the “water taxi” ferry that transported the delegates on Biscayne Bay from the Intercontinental Hotel to the American Airlines Arena (AAA) venue where the Convention was being held. This was done by the event planners to avoid the delegates having to be bussed to the venue, and thus minimizing the chances of confrontations with protestors as had happened at the WTO event in Seattle, in 1999. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Marine Patrol Units of the Miami-Dade Police and the Miami Police had secured the water route on Biscayne Bay so that the water taxi could transport the delegates without being impeded. After several hours of Convention business, the delegates would return via the water taxi to their hotels around 4 p.m., to freshen up and have dinner. They would then return to the AAA around 6:30 p.m. and remain there for the rest of the evening until around 12 midnight. Samantha, Priscilla, and J.J. spent most of their days at the hotel poolside. The girls mostly sunbathing, while J.J. played basketball with a few other kids his age nearby. J.J. would occasionally jump into the pool to cool down and play with water guns that the hotel had provided. J.J. also liked to go inside into the arcade room and play video games. Wednesday started the same as the previous two days. James and Camilla came over to the kids’ room and made sure that everything was OK before they boarded the water taxi. Samantha and Priscilla had decided to sleep in that day because they were both sunburned and very tired. J.J. was sunburned too, but he was up and ready to go play video games again. Camilla brought them some bagels and cream cheese for breakfast and gave them all kisses before she and James headed out. Around 1 p.m., the two girls were still in bed, texting to their boyfriends back home. J.J. was getting antsy and wanted to go out and play video games at the arcade. The two girls did not feel like going out at all. Even though they were told by their parents to keep a close eye on J.J. during the entire visit, they agreed to let him go out to the arcade by himself. At 2 o’clock, both girls had decided that they were hungry and that they would go down to the café on the first floor and grab some lunch with the money that their parents had left them. They called J.J. on the cellphone that their mom had left him, but they noticed that J.J. had left without the phone when it started ringing under a pile of dirty clothes next to J.J.’s bed. They were not too worried, but Samantha and Priscilla decided to look for J.J. at the arcade before heading out to the café for lunch. They checked the entire arcade and didn’t see him. They then went by the pool to see if he was there, or by the basketball court playing with other kids his age. He wasn’t there either. It was now 2:30 p.m., and they were starting to get a little worried, but first they went to get some lunch in the lobby café. They thought that they may see J.J. hanging out there. He was not there. At 3 p.m., the two girls went back to arcade to see if J.J. had gone back there. He had not. Samantha asked one of the adult attendants is she had seen a little 8-year old boy at the arcade. The attendant asked Samantha what the boy looked like, and what he was wearing. Unfortunately, neither Samantha nor Priscilla had noticed what J.J. was wearing when he left the room earlier that day. The attendant told the sisters that dozens of kids had come into the arcade that day, and she wasn’t sure if any of them was J.J. At that point, the two sisters decided to go back to the pool area and check to see if he was there. He was not there. They then went up to their room to see if J.J. had returned to look for them there. Up in the room, everything was the same as they had left it earlier. The cellphone was still in the pile of dirty clothes, and J.J. was nowhere to be found. At that point the two girls were getting very worried about J.J. At 4 o’clock, they called their father’s cellphone, but got no response. They knew that their parents would be doing business during that time, and that they would probably have their phones turned off. They also knew that their parents would be returning around 4:30 p.m., so they decided to go down and look for J.J. one more time in the lobby of the hotel. There, they asked the concierge and the front desk attendant if they had seen an 8-year-old boy. They said they had not. At 4:30 p.m. James called Samantha on her cell, “Sam, did you call me? I had my phone turned off. Is everything OK?” Samantha answered, “Dad we can’t find J.J. and we’ve looked all around.” “Did you check the game room? What about the pool area?” Dad asked. “We did. We checked everywhere. I’m worried!” replied Samantha. “I’ll call him on the cellphone that I gave him,” said the father. Samantha replied, “He left that phone in our room under some dirty clothes. He doesn’t have it on him.” “Ok, calm down. We’ll be there in 10
minutes. Where are you now?” asked Dad. “We’re in the hotel lobby, by the concierge area,” replied Samantha. “Ok, we’ll meet you there. Don’t move. We’re getting on the water taxi now. We’ll be there in a few minutes,” Dad replied. At 4:45 p.m., James and Camilla arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel and met their two daughters in the lobby area. Camilla asked the girls, “What was the last time that you were with him?” Samantha answered, “I don’t know. We were still in bed. I think it was around 1 or 2 o’clock. He said he was going out for a minute and that he’d be right back. “How could you let him go out by himself?” asked the mother, “You are supposed to watch him all the time! I trusted you to take care of your little brother. What were you thinking?” James interrupted, “Not now Camilla; let’s focus on finding him first.” James went to the front desk and asked the same employees whether they had seen an 8-year-old boy. They told him they had not. At that point, James decided to call the police. He asked the employee at the front desk to call 911. At 5:50 p.m., a City of Miami Police patrol officer responded to the hotel lobby and met with James, Camilla and the two daughters. The officer briefly interviewed the father, the mother, and the two daughters. He asked them for a clothing description, but none of them could provide one. At this point, the officer issued a BOLO (be on the lookout) for J.J., but with no clothing description available. The officer asked if they had a photograph of J.J. Camilla had a recent photo image of J.J. on her iPhone, and the officer asked her to email it to his phone. The officer then asked Camilla if J.J. had ever been to a dentist, and if so, would she be able to obtain the dental records from the dentist’s office. Camilla was dumbstruck by that question, and it suddenly dawned on her how serious this matter could be. There could only be one reason for the officer’s request. Camilla responded, “It’s late afternoon, and the dentist’s office in Ohio is probably closed. Let me call and see if they’re on Central time; maybe they’re still open.” It was now 6:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The last time that the family had seen J.J. was around 1 p.m. The 8-year old boy was now missing for over five hours.
Assignment Instructions Consider the following questions in your narrative response: 1. In addition to issuing a BOLO, what should the first responding City of Miami police officer do? Keep in mind that 99% of the time, the child shows up safely within an hour of the parents reporting the missing child to the police. 2. How appropriate was the officer’s question regarding the child’s dental records? For what purpose was this question asked? 3. At what point should the DRNC Incident Command Post be notified of the missing child? 4. Should an Amber Alert be issued? 5. As the assigned investigator to the case, what actions would you do? (Assume that you arrive on the scene around 7 p.m., and the child has not yet been located). You are to prepare a written report not to exceed 1,200 words that responds to the questions above, and that states your recommended course of action in regard to this incident.