This is the question for all of us: why are we not reacting? – said Izabela Jezierska-Świergiel, vice-president of the ITAKA Foundation, in “Fakty po Faktach” TVN24. Former provincial police commander, Dr. Rafał Batkowski, assessed that all the conditions for activating Child Alert had been met. – This situation is a surprise to me – he added. TVN24 reporter Małgorzata Marczok pointed out that for the teenager’s family, the police’s message is “incomprehensible and, above all, hurtful, because – in their opinion – the police were very slow.”
The spokesman for the District Prosecutor’s Office in Kraków, Janusz Kowalski, told TVN24 on Friday that the autopsy of 14-year-old Natalia from Andrychów took place on Friday and investigators already have a preliminary examination report. – The preliminary cause was indicated by the experts as brain death, which occurred as a result of cerebral edema caused by massive intracerebellar bleeding – said the prosecutor.
TVN24 reporter Małgorzata Marczok said in “Fakty po Faktach” that it was “shocking” that no one helped Natalia. – As soon as we arrived, it turned out that it was the very center. There are plenty of shops around, a main hypermarket, and a green belt next to it. There is a large parking lot right next to it and smaller shops around it, Marczok reported.
The reporter recalled that based on surveillance recordings, it can be proven that “Natalia was first walking along the sidewalk, and later she was found lying next to an advertising banner.” – It’s hard to believe no one saw her. When we asked various people if it was possible not to notice the child in this place, they said no, Marczok added.
Divergent information from the 14-year-old’s family and the police
– This is shocking. Let’s imagine a situation in which a child calls his father and says he doesn’t feel well, he’s losing consciousness, he doesn’t know where he is, he’s already lying in the snow. The father went in search of his daughter, walking from the house to the bus stop. He must have been walking down the street near where Natalia was already lying, but he didn’t notice her. He set off for Kęty, returning home after making sure that his daughter had not arrived at school, he called the police – recalled Marczok.
The reporter noticed that there was conflicting information at this point in the story. – According to the family, the first signal to the police was at 9.36, when the father called the police station. He heard that he had to come there and was there before 10 o’clock. The family does not understand why the police statement states that they believe the father reported the matter a few hours after his daughter’s disappearance. This is incomprehensible to them and, above all, unfair because – in their opinion – the police were very slow. The father spent two and a half hours there, trying to report his daughter’s disappearance, trying to ask for patrols to move into the area – said the TVN24 reporter. She noted that at the same time, the 14-year-old was “on the lawn next to the parking lot, just 500 meters away.”
Why didn’t anyone help? “Responsibility has been distributed: maybe someone else will react”
Izabela Jezierska-Świergiel – vice-president of the management board of the ITAKA Foundation, which deals with the problem of disappearances – assessed in “Fakty po Faktach” that “more and more often” it happens that “no one reacted” when the tragic situation could have been avoided. – I have been working at the foundation for over a dozen years, I have observed many stories of disappearances and talked to many families. I feel that nowadays, when we live in a virtual world where we comment on disappearances, we comment on the situation of the families of missing people, what the family should have done, what they didn’t do, what they did right, what they did wrong, whether the missing person was there anyway dressed, we express our opinions and advise, but in the real world we do not react – said the vice-president of the ITAKA Foundation.
– I often wonder whether a person who shares the image of a missing person on social media would be able to notice the missing person sitting next to him on the bus. I think not. I think she would be so busy sharing this image that she wouldn’t be able to realize she had this person in front of her. Here we were dealing with a very similar situation. This responsibility was distributed: “maybe someone else will react, I don’t have to, I’m in a hurry, I’m busy, busy” – said the guest of “Fakty po Faktach”.
– As you can see, not everyone is interested in other people’s history. It doesn’t really matter whether it was a small or big city. Of course, in small towns people know each other, these are often closed communities. They have lived there for many years. The girl lived there for quite a long time, her father is probably known. People who knew her probably passed her and no one reacted. This is the question for all of us: why are we not reacting? – Jezierska-Świergiel pointed out.
Batkowski: the system failed here
Former provincial police commander in Masovia and Greater Poland and former member of the EUROPOL management board, Dr. Rafał Batkowski, said that the police “usually” cope with such activities very well. – Here the system failed – he noted.
– Twelve years ago, the issue of searching for people, especially children, became a priority for the police. Later, tools such as Child Alert and other solutions were also created – Batkowski recalled. He stated that in the case of Natalia’s disappearance, “all the conditions to activate it (Child Alert – ed.) have been met.”
– I believe that the police, who received information about the incident, about the disappearance, about the girl feeling bad when contact with her was lost, and what’s more, we had winter weather outside and low temperatures, should force them to take immediate action – noted the former provincial commander.
The guest of “Fakty po Faktach” explained that “by accepting the notification, asking about the facts and all the circumstances of this event”, at the same time it would be possible to “start penetrating the area, send patrols, try to find this person”. – At the same time, we should immediately demand through the provincial headquarters – this is what it looks like in practice – the positioning of the girl’s phone, so as to do everything to find this person immediately – he noted.
– I emphasize: the police usually deal with such situations very well. This situation is a surprise to me, Batkowski noted.
Death of 14-year-old Natalia
On Tuesday, 14-year-old Natalia was supposed to go from Andrychów to nearby Kęty for classes. In the morning she called her father that she felt bad and didn’t know where she was, after which she lost contact with her. The father reported the matter to the police and, together with his friends, also looked for his child on his own. In the early afternoon, the police published a message about the search for a 14-year-old girl. A moment later, the girl was found by her father’s friend.
The called ambulance transported the girl to the University Children’s Hospital in Krakow. The 14-year-old was then in a state of very deep hypothermia, her body temperature was 22 degrees. Despite the doctors’ efforts, the girl’s life could not be saved.
Main photo source: TVN24