What if your 22-year-old daughter had been missing for 4 days, her two-year-old dropped off at a local police station?
What if the police called after you had filed a Missing Person’s Report and had in no uncertain terms communicated to the police that you felt your daughter was in danger?
What if the police called you and told you they had found your daughter’s van and for you to come and pick it up before it was impounded?
What if you arrived where the police had found the van, parked illegally in a lot next to the police station and you found the front two windows were down?
What if when you opened up the sliding door you saw some blankets and you lifted them up and found your daughter’s bare leg?
What if your son pulled you away but your son-in-law jumped inside and pulled the blankets aside and you saw your daughter, dead, stabbed in the throat?
What if, after discovering your daughter’s body, the police told you it wasn’t their job to check the inside of the van when they found it?
This is exactly what happened to the family of 22-year-old Eileen Nicole Ponce-Orta.
According to the LATimes, there are two police departments involved in the Ponce family’s nightmare. It was the Covina California Police Department that took the initial missing persons report and it was the Pomona Police Department that called the family. The van was parked illegally in a lot next to the Pomona PD.
Pomona Police Chief Joe Romero claims it’s not his police officer’s responsibility to look inside of the van:
Pomona Police Chief Joe Romero defended his department, saying officers had followed proper protocol. When the van was located, Romero said officers were sent to inspect the vehicle. After running a check of the license plate, they learned it was part of a missing person’s report filed in Covina.
He said the officers called Covina police and were told to release the van to the family or it would be impounded, Romero said.
Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the Ponce family, to not only lose their precious daughter to murder but to be the ones who found her body after the police had been involved. A nightmare for this poor family to have to endure.
The credo of the police is to protect and serve but in this instance it was to “inspect and serve notice”.