The police treated the case of 14-year-old Natalia as a “protection disappearance”, which has a low priority and usually concerns, for example, a child who “arbitrarily left” a juvenile home – according to unofficial findings from tvn24.pl. A report by experienced police inspectors, which will fully assess the actions of Andrychów police officers, is to be ready this weekend.
According to our sources – who requested anonymity – police officers from Andrychów, after receiving a notification from Natalia’s father, treated the case as a “protective disappearance”, which may have given the case too low a priority. RMF FM also reported earlier about the possibility of such a qualification.
A key moment
The receipt of the notification and the initial assessment are key moments. They dictate what actions the police will take next.
The general method of qualifying a notification is described in the public order of the Chief Commander of Police (No. 48) of 2018. It is also accompanied by a confidential manual that describes the details of activities, such as accessing data from mobile phones.
Let us recall that the father received a phone call from his daughter around 8.17 am.
In a short conversation (then the phone was active on the Internet, but the girl did not answer) she said that “she had darkness before her eyes, she didn’t know where she was, and there was snow around.”
First, he looked for the child himself, and showed up at the local police station around 10:30 a.m. and filed a report for about an hour. A man found the girl, still alive.
Search. Three priority levels
The public order provides for three priority levels of search, the next being “care search”.
First level orders the use of “significant police force and resources” when the case concerns, for example, a minor under 10 or 13 years of age and “has gone missing for the first time”. The same highest level also mentions those missing “in weather conditions that threaten life if not found immediately.”
Second level is a person “a minor aged 14 to 18 missing for the first time”.
Third level it is intended for people whose disappearance is not related to a direct threat to life, e.g. for a person who escapes from his family home after a quarrel.
Only the next category is “care search”and it concerns, for example, the situation described as follows: “arbitrary removal of a minor from the family home, care or educational facility, youth sociotherapy center or other such facility.”
And this is how – as tvn24.pl learns – the police treated the notification from Natalia’s father. In this situation, it does not impose any priority, for example it does not cause, for example, the mobile operator to immediately ask the mobile operator for data regarding the last place where the phone was logged in.
Disciplinary penalties and prosecutor’s investigation
As we have previously informed, police officers from control departments went to Andrychów, whose task is to create a full report on the activities of local police officers. These were officers from both the provincial headquarters and the police headquarters.
The report of the control department will constitute the basis for assessing the actions of police officers from Andrychów. It may result in, for example, being appointed to a lower position, a reduction in rank or a reprimand.
Chief Commander Jarosław Szymczyk will be the first to read the report, who will then make decisions.
The prosecutor’s office will also evaluate the officers’ work in terms of possible violations of the law. The investigation is being carried out under Article 155 of the Penal Code, which concerns unintentional manslaughter.
– The case will be transferred to the prosecutor’s office in Krakow and will be conducted in the form of a personal investigation of the prosecutor – said Janusz Kowalski, spokesman for the District Prosecutor’s Office in Krakow.
This approach of the prosecutor’s office proves that the responsibility of police officers will be examined. In such cases, prosecutors conduct “personal investigations”.
Preliminary autopsy results
As spokesman Kowalski said on TVN24, the teenager’s autopsy 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.
– The signs of hypothermia were obviously found by experts during the autopsy. However, we must bear in mind that the deceased was hospitalized for almost two days, connected to ECMO equipment, the operation of which certainly impaired the experts’ ability to determine the impact of hypothermia on the child’s death – he added in front of the TVN24 camera.
Main photo source: Art Service/PAP