On Saturday, May 27, The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced that they are searching for Matthew Rodriguez, a 17-year-old Lake Worth teen. According to authorities, Matthew Rodriguez was last seen in 1700 block of Lake Worth Road, near Lake Worth Community High School.
Authorities described Matthew Rodriguez as a 5’7 and 140 pounds male with brown hair and brown eyes. At the time he went missing, he was wearing a black and brown hoodie and a T-shirt with a Tuxedo pattern. Deputies noted that Rodriguez is suicidal and borderline autistic.
Authorities comment on the case of Matthew Rodriguez
Lake Worth Deputies told journalists that since Matthew Rodriguez is a neuro-divergent teen with self-destructive tendencies, people who see him in public are not recommened to approach him.
His father, Adam Dominguez, pleaded with the community to keep an eye out for Rodriguez, and to report any information regarding his whereabouts to the police.
“I would want everybody to look for him, you know, notify me, tell me something, you know, of course. I’m a father, so my kid missing, I don’t know how that feels, but I wouldn’t want to know.”
Officials have not disclose any potential motive that would cause Matthew Rodriguez to leave home. It is believed that he left by himself, and that no foul play is involved in this missing persons investigation.
Missing teens in America
According to Kraut Law Group, the FBI records 840,000 cases of missing minors on an annual basis. While 85 to 90 percent of these minors are children, the remainder are generally teens. The State of Florida reports approximately 1252 missing persons cases a year, making it number three among all states with a high frequency of disappearances.
The Global Missing Persons Network noted that in the case of missing teens, a majority leave home by themselves. This could be motivated by a variety of reasons, including disatisfaction, mental health issues, or abusive home environments.
The FBI has stated that in a majority of closed missing persons cases, the individual was discovered within 48 hours of being reported missing. After the initial 48 hours, the chances of discovering the missing subject would dramatically decrease.
Uncovered reported that in many cases, there is an overlap between missing persons investigations and the discovery of unidentified bodies, or cold case murder investigations. In the State of Florida alone, there were 55,895 unsolved murders from 1980 to 2019.
Please share this post! A Florida MISSING CHILD Alert has been issued for Matthew Rodriguez, 17yo. DO NOT APPROACH. If you have any information on the whereabouts of this child please contact the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office at 561-688-3000 or 911. pic.twitter.com/HvJ8tx5Si3
— FDLE (@fdlepio) May 27, 2023
In order to aid in missing persons cases, American authorities began to use the Amber Alert System. This system allowed them to relay information about missing subjects to various media outlets and police stations in the region. This allowed various different investigative agencies to co-operate, while also increasing the chances of strangers reporting information about the subject to authorities.