It is difficult to think of anything more important than doing right by our veterans and active duty service members.
They deserve all the support and care we can give.
That reality makes the following story even more heartbreaking.
Pvt. Dakota Stump went missing from Fort Hood for 24 days before his body was found.
The military told his family he had gone AWOL but that clearly wasn’t the case.
In fact, we still don’t have answers about what happened to Dakota.
Now, there’s a petition being circulated to try and prevent something like this from happening again…
From Go Petition:
On October 10th 2016 Dakota Stump went missing. Law Enforcement and Military officials immediately assumed he was AWOL. Family, friends and veteran related organizations investigated and searched frantically for 24 days with extreme resistance from both law enforcement and military officials alike, to include multiple issues on filing the Missing Persons Report.
Many confusing tips and leads came in and they were told that the Military was actively searching which included the entire base being searched with no luck. On November 3rd Dakota’s Mother received that horrible call no mother should ever receive. Dakota had passed. She was told that he was in a horrible accident and had been on base the entire time. The case is still under investigation, and there are no answers as to what exactly happened.
We need to change Standard Operating Procedures on how Law Enforcement and Military handle situations when our Veterans and Active Duty Members go missing. Which will in turn allow not only Law Enforcement and Military Officials the tools to better locate these individuals, but will help the families and any veterans organizations to assist as well.
1. Open lines of communication and Free Flow of Information with Next of Kin/Point of Contact.
2. No time limit or restriction of Jurisdiction to file Missing Persons Report.
3. All video surveillance that is available from any and all areas, regardless of location will be made available to investigators immediately, and will be made priority by said investigators to review.
4. Tracking bank account activity and pinging of and/or remotely turning on the cell phone to ping it immediately after the Missing Persons report is filed with no required warrant or paperwork.
5. Regardless of reason for individual being missing Law Enforcement and Military Officials should make every possible effort to locate individual ASAP.
6. Specialized Search and Rescue units (with specialized training and clearance) will be dispatched at or before 0800 the day after the Missing Persons Report is filed and will be afforded every privilege and access to search every area that may be pertinent to the investigation regardless of location.
7. A special Alert aptly named -A Warrior Alert- will be initiated upon the filing of the Missing Persons Report. The parameters will be similar to that of the Amber alert.
8.Commands will not be allowed to automatically file AWOL status on a service member, a thorough investigation must be made to determine the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the service member. Then and only then if applicable may the command file AWOL paperwork. However AWOL status will not be needed to get a Missing Persons report filed.