Woman presses Columbus mayor at forum to change missing persons policy

(Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA - Residents, officials, and community members voicing their concerns from across the area to Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson during the 26th annual "Let's Talk with the Mayor" open discussion on South Methodist Church.

But among the crowd in the discussion, Christina Whitaker, who shared her family's emotional story with the mayor.

"This is Paul's sister, his daughter and his two stepchildren and I was married to him," began Whitaker. "Paul has been missing since 2013."

Whitaker continued explaining her story and pressing the Mayor, along with government officials, to re-evaluate their strategy when it comes to missing person's cases in Columbus.

"The missing person's problem in Columbus is growing," said Whitaker to the Mayor and crowd in attendance of the discussion. "We don't have a missing persons unit in Columbus, what can we do to fix this?"

Tomlinson quickly responding to Whitaker's statement, asking for Columbus Police Chief, Ricky Boren's input on the issue.

"That's not accurate," responded Boren. "We investigate missing persons cases every day and we do that through the juvenile unit..."

Tomlinson then asked if the police also handled adult missing persons cases in the juvenile unit as well.

Boren said the department handles both minor and adult missing persons cases entirely through the juvenile unit.

"They have the unit but that unit isn't just specifically for missing people," said Whitaker.

Whitaker said she believes if a police unit were devoted specifically to missing persons cases, then she feels her husband Raymond Paul Akin's case would have more advancement than it does today.

"I know that they can only do so much with each case," said Whitaker. " But there has got to be something we can do to bring more attention to people and have more people work on these specific cases."

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here