Since 1983, May 25th has been declared National Missing Children’s Day. It’s a time to carve out and dedicate to the nation’s current, active missing children cases. It’s also an opportunity for the public to educate themselves and their children on how to prevent a child from going missing.
Children who vanish aren’t always abducted by strangers, in fact, more children are taken by someone they know – than someone they don’t. The U.S. Department of Justice says just under 800,000 children go missing every year under the age of 18 and an average of 2,185 vanish each day. Out of that number, more than 200,000 kids are victims of family abductions. About 115 are victims of stereotypical kidnappings.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), started by John and Reve Walsh 30 years ago, is the clearing house for all things related to missing children. The center was designed after the Walsh’s son, Adam, was abducted and brutally murdered more than three decades ago.
NCMEC recently released a list of ways to honor this holiday. Here are 4 things you can do right now, today:
1. SHARE A MISSING CHILD POSTER
One of the easiest things to do is visit NCMEC’s website, search for a poster of a missing child and share it. You can share it via social media, you can e-mail it – you can even print it out and hang it on a bulletin board in your community.
2. ACTIVATE WIRELESS AMBER ALERTS
NCMEC also recommends activating your wireless Amber Alert accounts. This way you are up-to-date if a child goes missing in your immediate area. In addition, for those who have children, make a child ID for each of them, NCMEC has them available in English and Spanish.
3. DOWNLOAD FBI CHILD APP
The FBI also goes into detail on the child ID app they’ve created. It is a place to store information about your child digitally. Currently, there are three active Amber Alerts in the USA.
4. CHECK OUT NCMEC’S FEATURED CASE OF THE MONTH
The case the NCMEC are featuring this month is a case the Crime Feed covered recently. The circumstances surrounding missing 6-year-old Timmothy Pitzen are bizarre to say the least. Although his mother was found dead, NCMEC and police believe there’s a solid chance the child could still be alive somewhere. His body was never found, and the case is still an active missing person investigation. Recently, NCMEC teamed up with local authorities and released new information and an age-enhanced photo of what he may look like today.
For a full list of safety tips and information, click on the FBI’s page. They’ve put together a number of resources for parents and guardians about how to keep your children safe.
So what do you do if you think you have spotted a missing child or a suspected abductor?
Call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children directly: 1-800-The-Lost