Burns Case Brings Missing Person Protocol to Light

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- A Valley teacher is now home safe and sound after being missing for almost 24 hours.

Cheryl Burns returned on her own this morning.

"We were really concerned that she was safe and would be found," said Virginia Batten, one of Burns' neighbors

Batten lives a few houses down from Cheryl Burns.

"You hear about so many kidnaps, carjacking and that's usually what pops into your mind when you hear somebody missing," said Batten.

Burns returned home Tuesday unharmed, something Batten didn't expect

"I was a little surprised that it was quick, but people do what they have to do and I'm sure she had a reason," said Batten.

The Augusta County Sheriff's Office said it is not unusual.

"Sometimes adults just want to be gone an not let anyone know where they are, they just want some alone time," said Deputy Felicia Glick.

Glick said it is also not unusual to start the search quickly.

"One of the misconceptions is that there is a waiting period. It depends on the circumstances regarding the person's disappearance," said Glick.

In this case, Burns did not show up for work and that was out of her routine.

"We are a public service and it does entail a lot of resources and a lot of time, but we are very happy when someone does return or we locate someone," said Glick.

Batten is also happy to her neighborhood is back to normal.

"I'm so glad, she is back with her family and everything is OK with her," said Batten.

Glick said the sheriff's office also does interviews with people who know the missing person and check social media.

We tried to speak with the Burns family, but they were concentrating on Cheryl.


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