Joplin Police, FBI and surrounding agencies join in search for missing Joplin teen

Joplin News First

55 officers and agents: FBI, Jasper County Sheriff, Newton County Sheriff, Webb City Police, Carthage Police, Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team.

JOPLIN, Mo. — Missing since September 17, 2020, Leora Hardee, 14, of Joplin. That’s the reminder that Captain William Davis of the Joplin Police Department wanted to remind spread to Joplin and area residents on Saturday afternoon when we chatted with him at the Joplin Police Department.

  • Capt Davis: Joplin Police Department received a report September 17, a local teenager was reported missing from her home around D and North Wall. Officers immediately responded and members of our investigative team and they have been actively working it ever since.
  • #JLNews1st: You all are seeking tips?
  • Capt Davis: It’s part of the reason in reaching out to the media, to the public is that we are looking for tips. If anybody has any information we are just asking if they would please call Joplin Police Department to report that, because any lead we can follow up on to help find her and make sure she’s safe.
  • #JLNews1st: FBI is now assisting in the investigation?
  • Capt Davis: The FBI has a ton of resources beyond the capabilities of the Joplin Police Department. And so we are able to bring in the FBI to assist in the investigation, along with members of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Webb City Police Department, Carthage Police Department, Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team.
  • #JLNews1st: Is this a case of a runaway teen?
  • Capt Davis: That’s one of the areas that we are looking at but we can’t comment and look at this and say that exactly at this moment.
  • #JLNews1st: Do yo suspect foul play?
  • Capt Davis: It’s unknown at this point.
  • #JLNews1st: Is the family being cooperative?
  • Capt Davis: Investigators are working with all family members in conducting interviews and talking with friends to try and get a better idea what would have led to her disappearance. The family has been disseminating posters. We also have the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, they have a poster as well that is on their website. The Joplin Police Department and all their social media pages, along with the FBI on their twitter account has sent it out as well.
  • #JLNews1st: Does she have a medical condition?
  • Capt Davis: That’s part of the investigation we received information she may have a medical condition that requires some medications. That’s part of the issue too, we want to make sure that she is safe and her well being is being taken care of.
  • #JLNews1st: How crucial is this investigation?
  • Capt Davis: Well with every passing minute it becomes concerning. Obviously you want to find a missing child as quickly as possible. With each day that passes, it stretches out the investigation and we are pouring every available resource we have into trying to find her because we want to make sure again, that she is brought home safe.
  • #JLNews1st: You have dozens of agents and officers on this case?
  • Capt Davis: So far with all the assisting agencies we have about 55 investigators that have actively been [been working] to find her.

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