NewsMissoula County


UPDATE: Missoula teen reported missing found safe

Posted at 6:56 AM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 15:28:59-04


MISSOULA - The Missing Endangered Person Advisory for a teen who was reported missing from Missoula has been cancelled.

Franklin Valenzuela, 17, has been found and is safe.

No further information is being released at this time.

(first report: April 30, 2020 - 6:56 a.m.)

A Missing and Endangered Person Advisory has been issued for a Missoula teen.

The Missoula Police Department is looking for Franklin Valenzuela, 17, who was last seen in Missoula on Wednesday, April 29.

Franklin left a “goodbye” video discussing his death and sent messages to friends, according to the advisory. He did leave his cellphone behind.

He has a history of drug use and suicide ideations and there is concern for Franklin’s mental stability and physical safety.

Franklin is a white male who is 5'6" tall and weighs 130 pounds. He has brown eyes and brown hair.

It's not known what Franklin was last wearing or where he might be headed.

Anyone with information about Franklin’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Missoula Police Department at (406) 552-6300 or call 911.

Whenever a child is reported missing in Montana, law enforcement agencies work quickly to determine the circumstances, and whether or not to issue an AMBER Alert, or a Missing/Endangered Person Advisory (MEPA).

The AMBER Alert program started in Texas in 1996 after 9-year old Amber Hagerman was abducted and murdered. In response to community concern, broadcasters in the area teamed up with law enforcement agencies to establish a program capable of quickly distributing information about child abductions to the general public.

In memory of Amber, the program was called the AMBER Plan – America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.

In Montana, officials also have the option of issuing a Missing/Endangered Person Advisory.


To initiate an AMBER Alert, call 9-1-1 and provide your local law enforcement agency with all the information you can about a suspected child abduction.

To activate the program, all of the following criteria must be met:

  • There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that a child has been abducted or has disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
  • The missing child is age 17 years or younger, or has a proven mental or physical disability.
  • The law enforcement agency believes the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
  • There is enough descriptive information about the victim and abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.
  • The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer.

The AMBER Alert system is not used to track runaways, missing children or children involved in custody disputes. The program is restricted to child abduction cases that could be life threatening.


A MEPA Advisory is initiated solely by Montana law enforcement agencies using the following criteria:

  1. Do the circumstances fail to meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert?
  2. Is the person missing under unexplained, involuntary or suspicious circumstances?
  3. Is the person believed to be in danger because of age, health, mental or physical disability, or environmental or weather conditions; to be in the company of a potentially dangerous person; or is there some other factor that may put the person in peril?
  4. Is there information that could assist the public in the safe recovery of the missing person? The initial advisory will include any available information, like name, age, physical description, date of birth and where the person was last seen. It might also include information about whether the person has a health condition or physical or mental disability.

Click here to read more at the MT DOJ website .

Click here to read more at the federal AMBER Alert website .