Inala siblings who never came home among the many missing people across nation

Melony and Chad Sutton were just teenagers when they went missing from Brisbane's south-west in 1992.

They were last seen leaving their Inala home walking to school after missing their bus.

Their family later learnt they had intended to hitchhike to Perth and neither sibling, who would now be in their late 30s early 40s, has been seen or heard from since.

Their story is just one of many being highlighted over the next seven days as part of Australian Federal Police's National Missing Persons' week.

The focus this year is on those under the age of 18, who account for about half of the missing persons reports each year, according to AFP commissioned data taken from missing persons reports between 2008-2015.

Queensland Police and AFP, including NGOs and charity groups will gather at the Gabba on Monday to kick off the week, AFP Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz said.

"The Gabba stadium actually seats just over 38,000 people, that represents the number of people who are reporting missing to police across Australia each year," she said.

"It is an opportunity to be able to shine a spotlight on how many people are missing in the hope people will look at the (missing persons) website or check social media and provide us with some information about people who are missing."

According to AFP data, about 70 per cent of children or young people went missing over relationship or family breakdowns, financial or other stresses, domestic violence or mental health issues.

Assistant Commissioner Platz said the greatest group at risk of going missing were females aged between 13 and 17, who went missing for a range of reasons.

"Some of the children are leaving because they are fleeing a domestic violence or sexual assault situation and then there are others that simply feel it is just the best way out for them," she said.

"Whilst individually none of that means automatically someone is going to run away or become missing, it does mean it is something that parents should be alerted to and perhaps take the time to talk to their children about what is going on and seek help.

"We also have a percentage of them that become victims of crime as well."

During the 2008-2015 period, two thirds of those reported missing in Queensland were found in less than 48 hours, 15 to 19 per cent remained missing for up to a month and less than one per cent of reports remained unsolved.

Assistant Commissioner Platz said police relied on the community and age progression images to help with unsolved cases.

"For police, it is very important we get the information and our greatest chance of finding someone is within the first 48 hours, the longer it goes on, the harder it becomes," she said.

She urged anyone who was considered a missing person to contact police to let them know they were safe.

"The missing persons themselves, if they are still alive, at some stage they might like to reach out to us and let us know they are fine," she said.

"A lot of people think that if they tell the police that they are going to be in trouble because they think they have committed a crime, which they haven't because missing is not a crime.

"They often think we will tell their family where they are but they do have a right to privacy.

"If they don't want to be reconnected with the family then we don't reconnect but we will try to encourage a reconnection and at least put the family at ease by saying they are safe."

National Missing Persons Week runs from July 30th to August 5th. More information on Queensland missing persons can be found here.

Source : https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/inala-siblings-who-never-came-home-among-the-many-missing-people-across-nation-20170730-gxll1o.html

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