Police defend handling of missing woman case

Police defend handling of missing woman case

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

Atlanta police are defending the way they handled the case of a missing 72-year-old Atlanta woman who was found dead over the weekend.

The body of 72-year-old Lucilla Harris was found in Henry County five days after she was reported missing.

Investigators believe that Harris, who suffered from dementia, drove to Henry County on Nov. 23. Her family did not report her missing until Nov. 25. At that point, police began a missing persons investigation and put Harris and her vehicle on the Georgia crime information center computer, which alerted law enforcement statewide to be on the lookout. Authorities did not request a Mattie's Call until Wednesday.

According to Captain Paul Guerrucci of the Atlanta Police Department said certain guidelines must be met before a Mattie's Call is issued. He said the decision to wait on issuing the Mattie's Call was because the family informed police that Harris was self-sufficient and lived on her own. Guerrucci stressed that police did immediately begin the investigation.

The Mattie's Call ultimately led Henry County police to Harris' car and then her body over the weekend. It is not clear that if the Mattie's Call had been issued earlier, Harris could have been saved.

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