After finding missing woman, police tell public what to do in such situations

WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange police announced the evening of Aug. 6 that the 25-year-old West Orange woman and her two children reported missing the previous day had been found and were safe. The morning of Aug. 5, local police reached out to the community asking for information as to the whereabouts of Gabrielle Goulbourne and her two children.

According to West Orange Police Capt. Michael Keigher, anyone who fears that someone may be missing should not hesitate to call police.

“There’s no wait period,” Keigher told the West Orange Chronicle in an Aug. 12 interview. “You should contact police when you become concerned. Don’t waste any time. And it doesn’t need to be for a relative; it can be a friend, a neighbor, a colleague — you don’t have to be related.”

Keigher said police look for a wide variety of information in a suspected missing persons case, including but not limited to: the last time the person was seen; a recent photograph and detailed physical description; the person’s age; the person’s motor vehicle information if they have a car; with whom they were last seen; and more. He also emphasized the importance of providing police with access to the person’s email and social media accounts, which can lead police to individuals who may know where the person is or have other information.

It is also important to tell police if the missing person has any health conditions, whether physical or mental, as well as any other risks associated with the person.

Police also want to know what the circumstances are that indicate a missing persons case.

“We want to know what makes it suspicious,” Keigher said. “How do we know this person is missing and not just away on vacation?”

Once a person is reported as missing, Keigher assured that the West Orange Police Department will investigate to ensure the person is found and is safe.

“We don’t leave any stone unturned; we go down every avenue to investigate,” Keigher said, adding that on missing persons cases the department will work with state and national agencies as necessary, such as the New Jersey State Police and, in the case of missing children, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The bottom line: anyone who fears someone may be missing shouldn’t wait to call the police.