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3 West Palm Beach siblings missing after guardian dies, police say

Boys' guardian taken to hospital Wednesday morning but later died
Posted at 9:33 PM, May 09, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Police in West Palm Beach are actively searching for three siblings who have not been seen since their guardian was taken to the hospital and died early Wednesday morning.

The three brothers, Nicholas Garnica Perez, 8, Gabriel Garnica Perez, 13, and Juan Pablo Garnica Perez, 16, were last seen leaving the home where they lived with their guardian on Valley Forge Road at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

They left the home after the relative who they lived with became ill and was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Police believe the three boys took a rideshare vehicle to another relative's location, but have not been located since.

If you know the boys' whereabouts, you are urged to call West Palm Beach police at 561-822-1900 and mention case #7991.

Police said the boys are presumed to be with a family member, but they want to find them to know for sure that they are safe.

How are searches for missing children conducted?

WPTV spoke Friday with Callahan Walsh, the executive director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"There's a variety of tools, processes and procedures that we implement when a child goes missing, a lot of that has to do with how the child goes missing, and what are the circumstances around their disappearance," Walsh said.

He said they are working 30,000 missing child cases at any one time. Walsh said they receive about 500 calls every day to their 24-hour hotline, and they've recovered 430,000 missing children since the organization's inception 40 years ago.

Callahan Walsh discusses the tools the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children uses to locate missing children.
Callahan Walsh discusses the tools the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children uses to locate missing children.

He said while every case is different, getting police involved on the front end is always ideal.

"You don't want to think of, 'Oh, I should have done something sooner,'" Walsh said. "If you think something isn't right, trust your gut, make that call, call law enforcement and get them involved right away."

The most common missing child case reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a runaway, followed by family abductions.

Walsh said they have a family advocacy division to offer support after a child is found.

"They can provide localized support to these families that are so desperate for it, whether it’s counseling or therapy or even education and job training, those resources exist," Walsh said.

Click here to learn more about the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.