(CNN)Here is a look at missing children in the United States. There are several different types of missing children: runaways, family abductions, lost or “thrown away,”* and non-family abductions. Recent advances in technology, communications through public alerts and greater cooperation from law enforcement have helped solve many cases quickly.
According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File, there are 88,089 active missing person records, of which juveniles under the age of 18 account for 32,121 (36.5%) of the records. (as of December 31, 2017)
The Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2), released by the Department of Justice in 2002 and spanning the years 1997 to 1999, reported that of the 797,500 children reported missing in a one-year period, 203,900 were abducted by family members and 58,200 were abducted by non-relatives. One-hundred and fifteen were classified as being taken by a stranger.
CNN, April 2018
Note: The term “thrown-away” refers to children who are homeless. More here: Thrown Away Children: An American Epidemic
I Was a Teenage Runaway
I used to be a poster partner for NCMEC. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.) When I disappeared as a young teen in 1974, the NCMEC didn’t exist. My step-sister and I returned home safely a week later. We almost didn’t, and I learned first-hand how dangerous it is for teen runaways or anyone on the street.
Today, the NCMEC helps thousands get help and return to safety. I was a poster partner for years, but I had to stop after continuously getting letters saying a child whose face I knew well from sending prayers and love was now deceased. The letters always started, “It is with great saddness and deep regret…” It tore apart my heart. I signed up in 2000 or so. When my own son disappeared, I couldn’t continue. I have lost four out of six of my children. It felt like a wound to my heart every time another mother’s child was lost to us.
I’m strong enough now, so I am signing up to be a “Poster Partner”* again. It feels good to help others. I’ll start with my state and use social media to share posters.
*I can no longer find a link on the NCMEC.org site for a Poster Partner program. I asked on Twitter but so far no response. If I find out, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, these are the children missing in my state (Delaware):
Delaware Missing Children and Teens (at the Time they Went Missing)
1. Kevin Baily since 4/18/18
2. Allen Briscoe since 12/13/84
3. Marya Caririllo Cardona since 4/7/18
4. Brandon Daniels since 4/23/18
5. Jane Doe (unidentified) Found 3/18/67
6. Shakyla Dukes since 9/25/18
7. Janteyl Johnson since 3/3/10
8. Tina Kemp since 3/3/79
9. Tyashia Miller since 9/8/18
The woman in the middle is a Jane Doe they found in 1967 and with updated tech were able to do a reconstruction of her face.
If you go to the site: http://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/search
and live in the US, you can input your state. I don’t know if they have an international branch. I hope they will soon if not.
I also signed up the ADAM Program for Amber alerts on endangered children. You probably know the story of Adam Walsh and how his father advocated so passionately after his death to have Amber Alerts put in place.
I’m also starting along with this the same thing I did for those kids, noon (EST) healing meditations and prayers for a safe return, and strength and support for their families.
There are many active missing adult cases open currently in the US too.
On average, 90,000 people are missing in the USA at any given time, according to Todd Matthews from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, or NamUs, a national database for missing people.
USA Today: “By the Numbers“
Ben’s case is only one of those. I met a woman named Melanie on a forum who lives in the New Zealand. Her brother Eugene went missing from South Africa on March 2, 2016, same day/year as my son, Ben. Eugene is still missing. Melanie and I have been in touch a lot. There is nothing like NAMus.org or the NCMEC in the UK where Ben’s sister lives, in New Zealand or in Africa, but I think NAMus is working to get that going. I hope the entire world can be helped by these beautiful organizations eventually.
Since I cannot put my arms around my child right now, I can do something. I can help others’ until I can. Every story of a reunion brings me a shot of hope too. So, in addition to sending healing for these kids, and sharing their links on Social Media, I also called Mary Lyall of Hope for the Missing again. When I called the NCMEC asking for help early days after Ben went missing, they gave Mary Lyall’s information. Ben was 32 at the time which is long past the cut off for the NCMEC missing children/young adults (21). Mary and her husband Doug were the ones that got the age changes from 18 to 21 with the NCMEC after their daughter disappeared. Mary was really great when I called initially and so helpful. I learned then that Mary’s own daughter disappeared 19 years ago on the same day Ben and Eugene did (March 2nd).
Earlier this year, I had to put aside my plans to be one of the Hope for the Missing intake volunteers. The Center for Hope gets so many calls and really needs volunteers. My situation is stabilized and I can help now for at least a few hours a week.
Mary suggested I contact media and at first I couldn’t. She shared that it took her five years until after her daughter disappeared to be able to talk to media. I did reach out to a site weeks after he went missing “Delaware Missing” in my state, but they never responded. They were active and posting other missing cases when I left Facebook a year later. I also asked Senator Carper if he knew of any other ways to get help or get the word out about Ben. He referred me to NAMus.org. I had already registered Ben’s case there.
This year I finally wrote to Delaware news agencies as well as others in the Tri-State area. No one responded. If any do, Ben’s best friend MJ has offered to stand with me in support should anyone from any media ever be interested. MJ has helped me more than words can say. He texts me every holiday since Ben disappeared including Mother’s Day to make sure I’m okay and to let me know he’s thinking of me. He teaches high school math in another state but he always remembers. I love this young man so much and am so grateful for his compassion.
A good bit of news — the head of all libraries in Delaware offered to put Ben’s poster in every library. The library of any town was always Ben’s second home no matter where he hung his hat. I’ll always be so incredibly grateful for her help and kindness.
Thank you for reading. ♥.