CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation now has an easier-to-find list of the state's missing persons.
As of Wednesday, the webpage listed 74 people currently classified as missing in the state, starting with the most recent "last seen" date. The earliest case on the list is a Fremont County man who disappeared in April 1974.
The list isn't entirely new, but was separated out from a combined unsolved cases list during a recent website redesign, DCI staff said. Now, the missing persons list is separate from the homicide and unsolved cases list.
"This was part of (the redesign) – making sure that what we have is user-friendly, and that we're able to provide the information that the citizens need," said Allison Moore, deputy director of Criminal Justice Information Services at DCI.
Missing persons must be reported by local law enforcement to the FBI's National Crime Information Center, often called NCIC. When entered into NCIC, staff with DCI's Control Terminal Unit adds it to DCI's statewide database. The control terminal provides telecommunications services that connect Wyoming agencies with the FBI.
"That database is not publicly available because it includes all kinds of personal identifying information, such as Social Security numbers, so that's why they also will update the webpage separately," Moore said.
After a person has been missing for two weeks, control terminal staff adds that person to DCI's public list, which includes information like where the person was last seen, their physical description, the local law enforcement agency that should be contacted and any other notable information.
Moore said the two-week period was established because, on average, about 90% of the state's missing persons are cleared within two weeks. And because the terminal is staffed by just two people, it would be "extremely difficult" to update the webpage more frequently, she said.
The control terminal used to be staffed 24/7, Moore said, but the agency lost positions in 2016 because of state budget cuts. Two employees now work at the terminal from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They look at the webpage every weekday, removing people from it as they're removed from NCIC by law enforcement.
Moore said the new missing persons webpage has already received attention – both from the public and from law enforcement – after being shared on social media.
Only people reported to NCIC to have gone missing in Wyoming will be added to DCI's public webpage.
According to DCI, eight people who are currently missing were last seen in Laramie County. One of those is Silas Ojeda, a 13-month-old boy who disappeared in October 2016. Logan Rogers of Cheyenne pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the case in November 2017 and was given a possible two decades in prison, but the child's remains have never been found.