15-Year old Nikki Peress reunited with parents 24 hours after being reported missing.
Black Rock City, Nev. — Burning Man organizers, in conjunction with local law enforcement, successfully located Nicole “Nikki” Peress, a 15-year-old girl who had been reported missing at the event Thursday afternoon. Following an investigation by the Pershing County Sheriff’s Department, Peress’s disappearance was classified as a runaway child.
When Peress was reported missing, Burning Man initiated its missing child protocol, including an Amber Alert and citywide shutdown operations, whereby all outbound traffic and airport departures are halted. Burning Man’s Black Rock Rangers posted flyers throughout Black Rock City and distributed public service announcements via Burning Man Information Radio.
“The system worked,” said Marian Goodell, Director of Communications for Burning Man. “We have a system set up to reunite minors who have become involuntarily separated from their parents, and it’s also effective for voluntarily-separated ones. This is a very tight-knit community, and it’s gratifying that our participants really step up to help in situations like this. We’re very happy that Nikki has been returned to her parents.”
Peress was found Friday afternoon when a participant recognized her, and brought her to a Burning Man medical station, whereupon she was reconnected with her parents.
About Burning Man:
For 22 years, the Black Rock Desert outside Reno, Nev., has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man arts event. Started on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, the event now attracts more than 60,000 participants annually, from every U.S. state and 22 countries. For media inquiries, please call 415-906-2441.