CLEVELAND - Cleveland police removed Michelle Knight's missing persons report from the FBI database almost a decade before she was found.
Knight, then 21, was reported missing on Aug. 23, 2002 and was last seen at her cousin's house near West 106th Street and Lorain Avenue. On Monday, police discovered that she was being held inside a house on Seymour Avenue with two other women.
Cleveland's Joint Information Center -- the group handling media releases for this case -- said police followed guidelines from the National Crime Information Center and the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System when they removed Knight's entry in November 2003.
LEADS rules state authorities should check with a parent, guardian or the person who filed the police report to see if the missing person is still missing. Cleveland police said officers could not locate anyone to verify that Knight was still gone.
"The suggestion that Cleveland Police did not follow missing persons protocol is false," the information center said on Friday.
According to the joint information center, Cleveland police kept Knight's case open. Her missing persons report said officers made checks on her case multiple times in 2002 and 2003. The most-recent checks were on Jan. 9, 2012 and Nov. 19, 2012.
Knight's mother, Barbara Knight, filed the police report. The report also said Knight, who went by "Shorty", would become confused by her surroundings.
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