Newton Falls council hears about abduction response team

The team can respond to a number of different cases.



NEWTON FALLS — A member of the Ohio Child Abduction Response Team spoke to members of Newton Falls council Monday to bring awareness of the program to the city.

Jim Luonuansuu said the Ohio CART can be called to aid the city in a child abduction case.

Ohio is divided into eight regions, each encompassing multiple counties. The Region 5 team, which includes Trumbull, Mahoning and 11 other counties, has about 120 members.

The Ohio CART is a network of trained public safety and other individuals from various agencies, jurisdictions and disciplines who are prepared to respond to specific at-risk missing, endangered or abducted children.

Unlike the Amber Alert system, CART can respond to a number of cases and can be called in less-specific situations.

“A child doesn’t have to be missing. We can be called in if a child is simply out of his or her safety zone,” said Luonuansuu.

He said the team can also be used in other cases, such as a drug user escaping a treatment facility, a mentally impaired individual leaving an institution, or an elderly person leaving a group home.

He said longer abduction cases have cost agencies more than $1 million, but CART can significantly lower those costs.

“Most of the people responding are doing so on their own time,” said Luonuansuu.

He said that many local agencies do not have the resources to handle cases quickly, noting that most abduction cases end with the death of the child in less than three hours.

CART started in Florida in 2004, and has expanded to more than 109 groups.

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