Buffalo, NY -- Many are wondering why police did not alert the media Sunday after Lanasha Rollerson's family says they first reported her missing.
Wednesday afternoon, Buffalo police held a press conference where Channel 2's Claudine Ewing asked a lot of questions about Rollerson's death. She did not get many answers.
"How does that work? When you finally decide that you're going to release a photo to the media especially when it's a child. I think that's something that has irritated people in the neighborhood that fliers were going around in the neighborhood and they never saw a photo of this 13-year-old girl on the news. The news media didn't even know," said Ewing.
"Again, each case is different. In this case, by the time she was reported, we believe she was already deceased," replied Comm. Daniel Derenda with the Buffalo Police Department.
"But, the family didn't know, and they were still searching," said Ewing.
"Again, there's a lot I can't comment on right now," said Derenda.
We asked New York State Senator, and former Erie County Sheriff, Patrick Gallivan about the guidelines used by law enforcement the moment a family files a missing child report.
"They have their own policies and procedures, what they do when somebody is missing, but generally, for a child under 18 years old, when they're reported missing to the police, it kicks in several things. Certainly, the police investigation. Sometimes they might wait 24 hours, that's not standard, but some agencies may do that. But they look at thing like where is the child likely to be, has the child gone missing before and been in the tree fort, or been with neighbors, or been in the garage or something like that," says Gallivan.
As soon as a report is filed, Gallivan says generally police notify all law enforcement organizations in the area, enter the child's information into a state-wide network and in some cases alert authorities in other states.
He also says there are many reasons why police might not tell the public right away that someone is missing.
"The family might ask them not to. In some cases, reporting this immediately to the media and releasing information might put a child in danger in certain circumstances, so you think of a potential child custody case, that you don't want the person to flee the state with a child, but the person's not in physical danger. So it wouldn't meet the criteria for an Amber Alert," he says.
And, Buffalo police tell us they think Rollerson left on her own, and wasn't abducted.
Gallivan says that now, police in Buffalo will likely debrief and go over how they handled the case when the investigation is over with to see if they handled it appropriately.