Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins took to Facebook on Monday night, May 15 to address the recent disappearances of two Grayson County juveniles, Savanna C. Crawford and Haliey S. Mercer.
Crawford, 16, was last seen leaving her residence on Penner Drive in Leitchfield on Monday, April 10, and Mercer, 17, was last seen on Monday, May 8.
Chaffins assured the public that local law enforcement is doing everything in its power to locate the missing teenagers.
“Each of us has a special place in our hearts for kids,” Chaffins wrote. “I can assure every parent that we are treating these cases like they were members of our own family that went missing.”
Chaffins said the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) and Leitchfield Police Department (LPD) have received hundreds of tips and have followed up on every single one, executing search warrants, using bloodhounds, pinging phones, and contacting friends and family.
According to Chaffins, local police have travelled to other parts of the state to distribute flyers, posted flyers locally at most Grayson County businesses, sent news releases to local, regional, and national media outlets, conducted one calls, met with immediate family members, conducted interviews, contacted multiple other police agencies and sent pictures to each of them, “and many more tactics that cannot be released to the general public.”
Chaffins also stated that police do not believe the disappearances of Crawford and Mercer are related.
“We have no evidence to indicate such,” said Chaffins in a separate statement to the Grayson County News-Gazette.
“…Do we believe that we have a pedophile going around abducting our children? No, we do not,” Chaffins wrote in the Facebook statement. “At least one of the missing girls has contacted her worker in the past few weeks. Certain ‘rules’ will not allow us to say that any of the youngsters are runaways, so that’s why you have read nowhere that law enforcement has mentioned that.”
Chaffins also discussed the efforts to take the investigation and story of the missing girls nationwide.
The GCSO and LPD both consulted with the FBI on Monday, May 15; however, the FBI would not take the case because there is no obvious evidence of an abduction, homicide, or any other foul play, Chaffins said.
“However, they have offered any resource they may have available to assist,” he said.
Police have also submitted information to larger television and other media outlets, but cannot control what they cover, according to Chaffins.
Nevertheless, the GCSO and LPD continue to work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Secret Service, other law enforcement agencies, and many volunteer agencies and citizens on the case.
“We will continue to follow any lead given to us until these kids return home!” Chaffins said.
Chaffins concluded with the following remarks:
Lastly, we are beyond worried about the safety and well-being of these missing kids. We know the dangers of teenage girls (and boys) being out there on their own. Many teenagers nationwide fall victim to human trafficking, sex trafficking and drug addiction from being away from home. Additionally, although there is no evidence, we cannot rule out that someone did not take one of these girls.
So, we are asking for our citizen’s help by being vigilant and keeping a close eye on your child. Not because we think there is someone out there stealing our children, but because we know there are people out there that will if given the opportunity. A child molester/pedophile looks for a target and finds the right opportunity to strike. Again, we have zero evidence of that being the case in any of these investigations. If you have a legitimate tip about the whereabouts of these kids or any other missing person in our area, you are encouraged to contact the Leitchfield Police Department at (270) 259-3850, the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office at (270) 259-3024, the Kentucky State Police at (270) 766-5078 or your local law enforcement agency. You may remain anonymous (but why would you, if you truly wanted these kids found?!).
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.