Police: 30 Hispanic teens missing in Suffolk, 17 missing in Nassau

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BAY SHORE -

Members of the Hispanic community say more must be done to protect their children in the wake of gang violence and the discovery of bodies in Nassau and Suffolk counties. 

There are currently 30 missing Hispanic young people (ages 13 to 23) in Suffolk County and 17 in Nassau County, according to county police departments. 

Walter Barrientos, of Make the Road New York, says those are concerning numbers and that the police response has been improper or inadequate. 

"Often, many community members have told us they feel their cases are not taken seriously, that the police do not investigate quickly enough," says Barrientos. 

Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini says that's simply not true. 

"We aggressively investigate our missing persons cases, which is why I reject this notion from Make the Road. It's ridiculous," says Sini. "When a detective is assigned a case regarding a missing child, we take it very seriously."

Evelyn Rodriguez, mother of murdered teen Kayla Cuevas, and victim advocate Barbara Medina say they would like to see a resource center for parents of missing children and a police task force specifically for Hispanic missing children.

Sini said the department already has "a very robust language-access plan" and is willing to talk about creating a task force. 

"I can see why some would advocate for that, but I can also see members of that community not wanting that," he told News 12 Long Island

Nassau police issued a statement saying "all missing persons cases are provided with superior investigative techniques."

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