Springfield police initiate robo calls to find missing woman
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) —
As of Friday, the desperate search for the missing woman, Theresa Cox, continues.
The Springfield police department tried an unconventional way of reaching out to residents and business owners for help after Cox disappeared two weeks ago, without a trace in the 1100 block of West Cook St.
Police say they are "exploring all angles", including searching for a body.
"I just can't imagine where she went,” said Michele Hughes, a childhood friend, who said she had looked everywhere.
"I’ve searched the park and trails and alleys and behind garbage cans,” said Michele. “Anywhere that you can possibly think. I mean we have no idea what happened."
The Springfield Police department does not have any leads either. They decided to send out a robo call over a week ago.
It started with: “The Springfield police department is still attempting to locate a missing person."
They've rarely used the technology and sent the message to all landline owners, which includes business and residential, like Ed Hughes.
“The girl grew up around us, she spent a lot of time here,” said Ed. “I think the more people that know about it would be a little bit more alert if they see something."
The message goes on to say: “We are asking the public to please check their properties, backyards, garages and any vacant vehicles for any evidence of Theresa..."
More eyes searching is what police want.
"Anything we think would be critical for the public to know, right now,” said Tom Chi, of the Springfield Police department’s Bureau of Emergency Communications.
Chi said the call went out to over 22,000 people.
Another part of the message: “The police department is requesting the assistance of the public to locate Theresa..."
"Now we want to reach further than social media,” said Chi. “So we decided we would use this as a way to gain additional people."
He said they hope everything is looking to find Theresa Cox.
"Look in your sheds, look in behind your fences you know just in case you know,” said Michele. “Something really bad happened, that she's just there because we have no idea where she went. I just pray to god that maybe she's at a friend and just really upset and can't come home yet. I don't know."
Landline owners cannot opt out of the messages. The robo calls usually target a certain radius for different situations and cases. Police say the Alert Sense App, is a way for cell phone users to get these messages.
You can download the app and connect to the local police department by providing your address.
Springfield police say they used robo calls in this case because they know Theresa Cox has a health issue. They weren't sure how severe it is, so they sent the message to all of Springfield.
Police hope to use the robo call system more often in the future for other critical cases.