Memo: Ethical and Legal Issues
Case Overview This memorandum provides details of interviews with potential witnesses in a critical missing person’s case involving a female child of eleven years missing from her home. The interview, involving neighbors in the community, was conducted in the company of a juvenile detective and a few police officers. The missing girl, a daughter of the police lieutenant from the detective bureau did not return home from school, besides, she has never arrived at school that day.
Neighborhood interviews conducted by several uniformed officers reveal that a specific neighbor, an adult subject, was observed walking behind the missing child on the sidewalk. The relevant facts of the case are: the child belongs to a police lieutenant from the detective bureau which implies there may be many people, especially criminals, who would want to kidnap his daughter. Presently, the lieutenant does not recall any particular people who have ill will against him. The child is not with any of the neighbors, family members or other known relatives. By one of the neighbors an adult subject was observed walking behind the missing child on the sidewalk. A description of the adult subject identified Sam, a visiting family member of one of theneighboring families from a nearby city as the most promising lead and potential culprit, who is returning to his home in the nearby city by transit bus in a few hours.
The investigation plan entails conducting preliminary interviews focusing all the neighbors to the missing child’s home, after which identified persons will be further interviewed and interrogated alongside Sam. The InterviewsThe interviews are focused on the questions about people who may have interacted with or observed the girl or other people who may have interacted with the missing child during that morning or during the rest of the day. The interviewees were quite persistent and ready to help with any information that could solve the missing child’s case, as they knew the little girl and her wonderful parents. The approach utilized in conducting the interviews will involve initial neighborhood-wide interviews with neighbors, followed by identification of potential witnesses, interviews and interrogations based on the collected interview information and other evidence. We would need to know about any people who have any grudges against the police lieutenant or any member of his family and relatives.
More information on the family’s and the lieutenant’s friends, family and relatives and the locations that the child and her friends would go to would also be required. Questions asked will include: Did you see the little girl this morning or any other time of the day? Did you witness anyone acting suspiciously or anything else that was suspicious in the neighborhood?Did you observe anyone in the company of the child? If so, can you describe or identify the little girl or where she went? The legal considerations that will be taken into account revolve around voluntary provision of relevant information by the witnesses and the appropriate questioning of school-aged children. Specifically, legal provisions governing collection of information and evidence, as well as the questioning and interrogation of potential witnesses, as outlined in the criminal procedure code, will inform our activities in interrogating Sam and other potential witnesses. Also, in line with the criminal procedure code, the approach to be utilized in questioning school-aged children in the community will involve interviews in their homes and in the presence of their guardians, parents, relatives or friends. Additionally, the witnesses will not be coerced into giving any information, considering it would be unethical and illegal.