Northern Virginia family struggles for answers in search for Palmer Marsh

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. -- The Marsh family can't understand how it has been more than one month since they saw 16-year-old Palmer.

The teen missed his chores on the farm May 2. He missed wrestling matches and swim meets. He missed his birthday.

The Marsh family spoke with DCW50 in mid-May. At that time, they were frustrated because they felt not enough was being done to find Palmer.

Part of the worry stemmed from the fact that the Prince William County Police Department classified his disappearance as voluntary missing.

With police not calling Palmer endangered, Susan Marsh, his mother, was limited in how much she could learn from the cell phone company about its location.

A few days later, the Prince William County Police Department did begin a series of searches with the help of at least three local agencies but no clues were found according to a press release.

Sometime around May 24, Palmer's disappearance was reclassified and Palmer was considered endangered.

We asked police about their decision to wait to search for Palmer and got this response:

"...We follow standard practices in Virginia regarding both missing and missing endangered cases.

In reference to missing cases, our Department will take reports for anyone missing, regardless of timeframe or age, if the person resides in Prince William County or was last known to be in the County.

We will coordinate as needed with other agencies in the event the individual is believed to be in another jurisdiction. As for missing endangered cases, we rely heavily on the information provided by the reporting party.

Endangered cases can include, but are not limited to, information obtained from the reporting party regarding the missing person’s mental health, physical or medical disabilities, threats of harm, etc. Again, these are common practices by agencies throughout the state.

In regard to your questions specific to the Marsh case, we are not disclosing specific details in the investigation at this time as it’s still active and ongoing. However, in general, for us to use phone records and/or data we have to obtain a legal subpoena through the courts as long as the individual is classified as endangered and such records can be justified. Exigent circumstances might allow us to use phone technology (excluding records) through the phone company itself quickly to locate the person in real time (the phone would have to be turned on and physically on the person in order for this to work)."