(KUTV) — After police announced an arrest in the murder of 30-year-old Lopine "Chynna" Toilolo, 2News is looking into the difficulty some families face in reporting their loved ones missing.
Toilolo was found dead in Ogden Canyon five weeks ago, and police have now arrested her ex-boyfriend, Andy Dennis, for her murder.
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Toilolo’s family initially took the search into their own hands. A private investigator said when adults go missing, law enforcement's hands can be tied.
At the announcement of Dennis’s arrest, Toilolo’s father said:
“My daughter did not deserve what happened to her.”
From the beginning, Toilolo’s family pointed to Dennis as a person of interest.
“There was a lot of frustration as we waited for this, but the outcome that we waited for is finally here," Toilolo's father said.
Lieutenant Cortney Ryan with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said of the investigation:
“There’s many different moving parts that come along with a case like this. We want to make sure that the evidence is strong, that we have evidence to support the theories.”
But when the 30-year-old was still missing, the family took the search into their own hands, creating the Facebook page "Call4Chynna."
Jason Jensen, a private investigator and co-founder of the Utah Cold Case Coalition, says police can’t necessarily get involved in an investigation without probable cause.
“Adults have a right to disappear," he said.
In situations like Toilolo’s, law enforcement may not investigate right away.
“Law enforcement’s hands are kind of tied, with the absence of statute or other authority to investigate — if there’s no probable cause, if they don’t have the basis to obtain a warrant.”
Jensen says if your loved one goes missing and police cant investigate, try to check bank and phone records.
“Wisely, like the Toilolo family did, they investigated the matter themselves, pulling records and things like that. The alternative would be contact any local private investigator.”
The private investigator also said he’d like to see police departments in Utah create missing persons units to better assist families with missing loved ones.