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‘You may not see the FBI, but we are there,' FBI among agencies involved in search for Breasia Terrell

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 8:49 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Missing 10-year-old Breasia Terrell has not been seen since the early morning hours on Friday, July 10. As the investigation into her disappearance continues, Davenport police are being assisted by a handful of agencies, including the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Davenport police addressed the public Monday about the ongoing investigation. Chief Paul Sikorski said, “At this time, we continue to focus our resources on the investigation to pursue the leads that have been developed and are evaluating the tips provided to us by the community.”

On Tuesday, TV6 spoke with Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Omaha Division, Kristi Johnson, who remains in Davenport working on Terrell’s case.

Johnson said, “Every day in the FBI we maintain excellent relationships with our local police departments and our police chiefs. In this investigation, on July 10 we were in contact with the Chief and offered our assistance with respect to everything that we can offer in a case like this, and of course, immediately we all started working together.”

Upon learning of Terrell’s disappearance, Sikorski said the department immediately entered her into the National Crime Information Center database, and contacted the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, among other agencies.

“I absolutely applaud Chief Sikorski and the Davenport Police Department,” said John Bischoff, Vice President of the Missing Children Division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“They did an amazing job realizing what they had in front of them,” said Bischoff, “realizing the escalation that they needed to do and calling the appropriate resources. From time to time we do see cases where some people think they have it, and ‘I don’t need any extra assistance,' but this is a big deal and Chief Sikorski did an amazing job by making the call to reach out to the FBI and get them involved early, and reach out to us as the national clearinghouse and get us involved very early and apply those resources because he knew he had a situation on his hands.”

“The tools that the FBI brings to the table involve something called our Cellular Analysis Survey Team, which is the phone analysis and looking at all of the phone records and the location information,” said Johnson. “We also bring to the table something called the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team, which is a team of 12 agents that come on scene and are here in town working day in and day out to identify any additional evidence that we need to try to bring the case to a successful conclusion.”

Johnson said, “We have an Evidence Response Team out of Omaha that came here to assist, and that will continue on throughout the course of the investigation if needed.” She said the team of specially trained technicians is made up of analysts and professional staff members, “We’ve got the best team we can have.”

“First and foremost we assist in getting the image out into the community because that’s key having the child’s image out into the eyes of the community so they know this child has been missing and we need the public’s support in looking for this child. I know Iowa’s been amazing with this. They’ve had amazing turnouts with volunteers,” said Bischoff, of the role that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children plays in missing child cases.

“We also have field resources,” he said, “we have a cadre of support. They’re retired police officers who have had a lifetime of experience in working missing child cases and just because they’ve hit the point of retirement they don’t lose that skill set. They come and do contract work for us and we train them. We deploy them to the scene of which was one of the early resources that was accepted on day one of this missing child incident.”

“Whatever’s needed. Whatever we can help support them with in the search for this missing young lady,” said Bischoff, “We want her home safe just as much as everybody else does and hopefully that’s the outcome we’re going to get.”

Although a team with the FBI continues to work in Davenport on Terrell’s case, you may not necessarily see them as they conduct their investigation. “We are not uniformed officers. We are law enforcement officers,” said Johnson, “We are a team of analysts as well. We are working together to make sure we have the evidence that’s coming in that can be analyzed whether that’s digital evidence, or phone evidence, or surveillance evidence.”

“In this or any other case, you may not see us. You may not see the FBI. But we are there,” said Johnson.

“We cannot thank Chief Sikorski enough for the collaboration that has gone on thus far. This is the only way that it can be successful,” said Johnson, “the tools that are available and especially what we can bring from a national perspective to a place like Davenport, Iowa, and any place that needs us. We are here and doing everything that we can to bring Breasia -- we are every day -- wanting to bring this case to a successful conclusion.”

Johnson explained, “These are ongoing investigations. Things are developing throughout each day. This and other cases are very similar and we want to make sure that we have our best foot forward and making sure we bring the offender to justice.”

According to Johnson, this is a collaborative effort between agencies, who essentially become one team during an investigation into a missing child. She said, “What happens is it all becomes one big team. Everybody gets on board, the strategy’s developed in concert with both teams and all agencies involved, any additional interviews, and whatever the command post is deciding to do is done as a team effort so that we all have the same goal and the same outcome.”

“We rely on the public. In most of our investigations of all types, we rely on people telling us things, in this case and many others like this, people to tell us what they know,” said Johnson.

Bischoff explained, “Out of all of the missing child incidents our organization has been involved with, not one of them is just like the other. Each one takes different strategies and tactics.” He said, “I heard Chief Sikorski’s press conference in front of the City Council, and he isn’t lying that his department is absolutely dedicated to the safe return of this young lady.”

“One of the foundational messages of our organization is to never give up hope,” said Bischoff.

Bischoff said, “We will never forget about a missing child no matter what.”

He said, “We’ve seen many a child come home after weeks, months, even years of disappearance. Sad cases, heartbreaking, they absolutely are but don’t give up hope. Let the investigation run the course. Let law enforcement do their job and keep your eyes open for information, report it to law enforcement, and listen to them for what they are able to share with the community and clarify any misinformation that’s out there.”

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