Virtual News Room
The pulse of the news that breaks from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®.
March 23, 2017
Family Birthday Letters: March 23, 2017
Caroline Teague was just 4 years old when she was allegedly abducted from her home in Alamogordo, New Mexico by her mother, Alejandra Urdaneta. Her family, who has not seen Caroline since Jan. 15, 2002, has never given up hope that one day they will see her again.
Today, March 23, 2017, is Caroline’s 20th birthday, a milestone birthday that her family wishes they could celebrate with her. To honor Caroline on her birthday, her family members have written her birthday letters as they continue the search to bring her home.
I have had a hole in my sole for the past fifteen years and I have searched every day for you, my precious daughter. You have no idea how much I have wished and prayed for you to find your way home. I have so many questions concerning your life and your experiences. I have so much to tell you and I kept everything your mother left behind in hopes I would see you again and be able to share your toys and spend time with you. I miss you so much and I hope you are doing wonderful. One day I hope you decide to reach out and find out what happened why you lost half the people who cared so much about you. Happy 20th birthday and I will always love you and will never stop searching for you.
Jason Ryan Teague
Daddy (your teddy bear)
Happy 20th birthday Caroline. I am your cousin, Misty. I am only one year and one month older than you. We miss you so much. I remember having sleep overs in sleeping bags in the living room floor at your Nana & grandpa's house. Those were the best times. I wish you were here to continue being my best friend. I believe you'll find your way back home. We want you back no matter what we have to go through to get you back. We want you to be reunited with the rest of your family and we will be patient and respect your comfort. I can’t imagine the emotions you will feel but we will support you in every way. We need you to make our family whole again. I hope to be laughing with you soon.
We have missed you so, for the past 15 ½ years. We pray daily for your safety and a good life for you. We pray for your safe return to your North Carolina family who love you so much. Happy 20th birthday to you this year. We hope this will be the year that you will wonder what happened to your Dad and Grandparents who will love you always and forever. Nana & Grand-daddy, [Jim & Norma Jean Teague]
Caroline and her mother may have left the country and traveled to Mexico or Venezuela. An FBI Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution warrant was issued for Urdaneta on November 5, 2003.
If you have any information about Caroline, please contact 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
NCMEC Poster (English): http://www.missingkids.org/poster/NCMC/951425/1/screen
Cartas de familia de cumpleaños: 23 de marzo de 2017
Caroline Teague tenía apenas 4 años de edad cuando su madre, Alejandra Urdaneta, le sacó de su casa en Alamogordo, Nuevo México. Su familia, que no ha visto a Caroline desde el 15 de enero de 2002, nunca ha renunciado a la esperanza de que algún día la volverán a ver.
Hoy, 23 de marzo de 2017, Caroline se cumple 20 años, y su familia desea celebrar con ella. Para honrar a Caroline en este día especiál, los miembros de su familia le han escrito cartas de cumpleaños mientras que continúan la búsqueda para ella.
He tenido un agujero en mi suela durante los últimos quince años y he buscado todos los días por ti, mi preciosa hija. No tienes idea de cuánto he deseado y rezado para que encuentres tu camino a casa. Tengo muchas preguntas sobre tu vida y tus experiencias. Tengo mucho que decirte y guardé todo lo que tu madre dejó atrás con la esperanza de volver a verte y poder compartir tus juguetes y pasar tiempo contigo. Te extraño mucho y espero que estés bien. Espero que un día decidas ponerte en contacto con nosotros y averiguar que pasó, por qué has faltado la mitad de las personas que se preocupan por ti. Feliz 20mo cumpleaños. Siempre te amaré y nunca dejaré de buscarte.
Jason Ryan Teague
Papa (Tu osito de peluche)
Feliz 20 cumpleaños Caroline. Soy tu prima, Misty. Solamente tengo un año y un mes mas que tú. Recuerdo durmiendo en la casa de tu Nana y tu abuelo contigo, en sacos de dormir en el piso de la sala. Esos fueron los mejores tiempos. Ojalá que estuvieras aquí para seguir siendo mi mejor amiga. Queremos que regreses, no importa lo que tengamos que hacer. No puedo imaginar las emociones que sentirás, pero te apoyaremos en todos los sentidos. Necesitamos que vuelvas a hacer nuestra familia entera de nuevo. Espero estar riendo contigo pronto. Feliz Cumpleaños Caroline. Te echamos mucho de menos y deseamos que vuelvas a casa pronto. Nunca perderemos la esperanza y estaremos aquí para consolar cuando regreses a casa con nosotros.
Te hemos extrañado tanto, durante los últimos quince años y medio. Oramos todos los días por tu seguridad y por una buena vida para ti. Oramos por tu regreso seguro a tu familia de Carolina del Norte, la que tanto te ama. Feliz 20mo cumpleaños a ti. Esperamos que este sea el año en que te preguntarás qué pasó con tu papá y tus abuelos que te amarán siempre y por siempre.
Caroline y su madre pudieron haber salido del país y viajado a México o Venezuela. Una orden de aprehensión por fuga por evasión de juicio fue expedida por la FBI para Urdaneta el 5 de noviembre de 2003.
Si tenga alguna información sobre Caroline, por favor comuníquese con 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
NCMEC Póster (Español): http://esp.missingkids.org/poster/NCMC/951425/1/screen
March 9, 2017
Law enforcement has announced the identity of a boy found deceased more than two decades ago in Lake City, Florida as 16-year-old Fred Paul Laster.
On June 5, 1994, a young man’s torso was found near a gas station dumpster, along with a red plaid shirt, several dark green flower-shaped bathtub adhesives and a foam crated mattress pad.
For 20 years, law enforcement worked diligently trying to determine who this boy was….and who was responsible for his murder.
Since it was not possible to produce a facial reconstruction, NCMEC created a poster featuring items recovered with the body and shared it with the public, hoping someone would come forward with information. And a year later, that happened. Fred Laster’s family, who’d been searching NCMEC’s website for any sign of their missing loved one, saw the poster and called police.
Through DNA performed by the UNT Health Science Center, law enforcement confirmed that the victim was Fred Paul Laster. Carol Schweitzer, who leads NCMEC’s Forensic Services Unit says, “This case is a perfect example of why families should never stop searching. The Laster family found our website, took a leap of faith and called police. It turned out they had the missing piece of the puzzle that helped law enforcement finally solve this case.”
Authorities have arrested and charged 60-year-old Ron L. Hyde with murder in Duval County, Florida. But that may not be the end of this story. Law enforcement believes there may be more victims out there. If you have information related to Hyde, please call the FBI Jacksonville Field Office at 904-248-7000.
March 2, 2017
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, families were torn apart. It became clear that a coordinated effort to reunite missing children with their families was needed in the wake of a natural disaster.
NCMEC began trainings for 911 call centers across the county on best practices when a child is reported missing. “They are the first responders,” said Laura Silver, who runs the training division at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Out of that grew the “Missing Kids Readiness Project,” a recognition program that helps law enforcement and 911 call centers be as prepared as possible if and when the call ever comes in.
And that’s exactly what motivated Chief Richard Jenkins, police chief of the North Palm Beach Police Department, to pursue membership in the program.
“North Palm Beach Police Department is right down the road from us,” said Nancy A. McBride, executive director of outreach at NCMEC’s Florida branch office in Lake Park, Florida.
“They are our neighbors as well as our friends. Chief Jenkins has always been a huge supporter of the National Center, and is dedicated to making sure his staff is ready to handle a missing child case should it ever happen on his watch,” McBride said.
Chief Jenkins attended NCMEC’s Chief Executive Officer training in Florida in 2014. When he returned home, he made sure all his staff went through NCMEC’s online training and he updated his agency’s policy for reports of missing and abducted children so everyone on his team was ready.
“Those are the crucial steps to become part of the Missing Kids Readiness Project,” said Silver. “NCMEC then verifies that all staff members who would be involved if a child went missing have completed the necessary training and that the policy they have in place meets the critical components of NCMEC’s model policy.”
North Palm Beach Police Department gained its recognition in the program in 2015. More than 260 other agencies have membership in the program, 17 of which are in Florida, including two others in Palm Beach County alone – Boynton Beach Police Department and Palm Beach County School District Police Department. To maintain their partnership, agencies go through a renewal process every five years.
All NCMEC’s trainings are available free of charge. Over the years, NCMEC has expanded its courses with “NCMEC University Online,” which offers a variety of trainings for law enforcement and first responders, child serving professionals and private security professionals regarding various aspects of missing and sexually exploited children cases.
“NCMEC’s trainings ensure that law enforcement and first responders are as prepared as possible so when that call comes in about a missing child, everyone knows what to do,” said Silver. “Time is critical…time is the enemy. We know that the likelihood a child will be recovered safely goes up when a team is well-trained and has a plan of action.”
For more information about the Missing Kids Readiness Project, NCMEC University Online or any of our training resources, please visit missingkids.org/training.
February 24, 2017
Month-Long Billboard Campaign Launches in Albuquerque
NCMEC and Clear Channel Outdoor have launched a month-long billboard campaign in Albuquerque, New Mexico to help bring home a child missing for more than five years.
Enrique Medel disappeared on March 17, 2011 when he was 14 years old. His family has been searching for him ever since. Enrique is now 20 years old.
At a press conference last week, Clear Channel Outdoor unveiled the new, donated billboard space.
“We know that photos remain the single-most powerful tool for finding missing children,” said NCMEC spokesperson Cynthia Mejia-Colon. “We also know someone has information that can help us finally bring Enrique home.”
Enrique’s mother, Olivia Medel, shared her gratitude for the donated billboard space and thanked all those who continue to fight to bring Enrique home.
Clear Channel Outdoor will run Enrique’s missing and age-progressed image and NCMEC’s hotline number for four weeks on billboards throughout metropolitan Albuquerque.
February 21, 2017
Our Story: Christopher Kerze
"The last birthday we celebrated with you was 27 years ago. We will never stop loving you." - Loni Kerze, Christopher's mother.
View Christopher's poster here.
February 14, 2017
Statement from John F. Clark on the verdict in the Etan Patz trial
“The abduction of 6-year-old Etan Patz nearly 40 years ago as he walked to his school bus awakened the nation to child abduction and helped change the way law enforcement investigates these crimes,” said John F. Clark, CEO and president of The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “NCMEC is here today – and America’s children are safer – because of Etan and other children whose abductions and killings launched a national movement. We applaud the Manhattan district attorney and law enforcement who never stopped fighting for justice for Etan. Our hearts go out to Etan’s parents, Stanley and Julie, who finally have the answers they’ve sought for 38 years.”
February 14, 2017
A 26-Year Mystery Remains Unsolved… Who is “Valentine Doe”?
Valentine’s Day marks 26 years since an unidentified girl was strangled to death in the Florida Keys.
An area known as “the horseshoe” is frequented by windsurfers and campers. It’s a place of fun in the sun and escape from the daily grind. Not 10 feet from the picturesque shoreline starts a heavily wooded forest.
It was there that the body of a young girl was found nude, strangled by the strings of her bikini top. She was murdered on Valentine’s Day, 1991, and found the next day. Investigators call her “Valentine Doe.”
Investigators believe “Valentine Doe” was murdered on Feb. 14, 1991.
There were some clues. Witnesses saw Jane Doe hitchhiking the day of her murder. She was last seen near mile marker 17 on U.S. Highway 1, about 18 miles from where her body was discovered. Two witnesses from the “horseshoe” area independently observed an older model white pickup truck with a camper shell in the area, driven by two white males. One of the witnesses saw the pickup on Feb. 14 and the other remembers the truck in the area two to three days prior.
Blood was discovered on a nearby dirt road. Drag marks led investigators to scattered pieces of the girl’s clothing. They found a “Forenza” brand cardigan sweater with wide, horizontal stripes and silver buttons, denim shorts and black, ankle-high moccasins with red stitching and leather fringe.
An autopsy revealed that Jane Doe was sexually assaulted and severely beaten. She had stretch marks on her abdomen that indicated a previous pregnancy. Jane Doe also suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease, and had a large cyst on her right ovary which would have caused her significant pain. She likely sought medical attention for her condition.
Jane Doe stood approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds. Her ears were pierced four times and she had two tattoos. Both tattoos appeared to be non-professionally done in blue ink.
“Valentine Doe” had a tattoo of a heart and the word, “Love,” on her upper left shoulder. She also had a cross tattoo with four radiating lines on her left hand.
Investigators don’t know where Jane Doe was from, although they note that she had no suntan lines on her body…which are generally seen on residents and tourists in the Florida Keys.
If you have any information on the identity of “Valentine Doe,” please call us at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
February 9, 2017
Case Update: Opelika Doe
Download the video here
It has been 5 years since Alabama authorities discovered remains of a little girl, 3-7 years old in Opelika, Alabama.
Opelika Police Department released chemical isotope results received from researchers at the FL Institute of Forensic Anthropology & Applied Science that suggest the little girl was originally from Alabama or one of the surrounding southern states.
View her poster here: http://www.missingkids.com/poster/NCMU/1197223/1/screen
Anyone that has information that could help identify this child, please call National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
February 2, 2017
NCMEC training helps save missing 4-year-old with autism
By Erin Farrell
Law enforcement agencies across the country receive 911 calls several times a year about missing children with autism. In these daunting situations, law enforcement agencies are often faced with unique challenges when it comes to executing a search plan. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children offers several training opportunities to law enforcement in hopes that when this situation arises, as it did for one agency in Michigan, the outcome is a positive one.
Two weeks after members of the Genesee County 911 team attended a NCMEC training session in Michigan, they received a call that would put their training to the test. In October 2016, the Genesee County 911 center received a call about a nonverbal 4-year-old child with autism who was missing. As one dispatcher took the call, another dispatcher immediately contacted NCMEC for further assistance. Drawing from what she learned during the training session, and relying on one of the most valuable pieces of information she learned from NCMEC—to take into consideration the various things that children with autism may be attracted to—the dispatcher guided first responders and instructed them to set up a tight perimeter around the trailer park where the child lived. With that in mind, law enforcement officials focused their search on nearby bodies of water and gathered as much information as they could about the child’s history. After nearly two hours of searching, the young child was located walking toward a body of water and was safely recovered.
The two dispatchers from the Genesee County 911 team who helped guide first responders on a search for a missing child with autism. The child was safely recovered within two hours.
Children with autism are more inclined to wander away from safe environments toward various things that could potentially cause them harm, including water, roadways and bright lights. Often children with autism are drawn to places or things that are of a special interest to them or they may wander away in an attempt to escape overwhelming stimuli. In an effort to help law enforcement become better prepared to deal with a case in which a child with autism has gone missing, NCMEC conducts training sessions to help educate telecommunicators and first responders on how to effectively deal with these unique cases.
NCMEC offers a wide range of training opportunities to child-serving professionals who deal with cases of missing and exploited children. Visit (http://www.missingkids.org/Training) to learn more! Additionally, NCMEC encourages all 911 call centers and law enforcement agencies to join the Missing Kids Readiness Project, a program that promotes best practices for responding to calls of missing, abducted and sexually exploited children and recognizes agencies that meet the requisite criteria and demonstrate their preparedness for responding to a missing child incident. To learn more about the Missing Kids Readiness Project visit: http://www.missingkids.org/mkrp.
February 2, 2017
This week's NCMEC Now
It sounds like a horror movie. After more than 30 years, a serial killer is revealed, but his child victims remain unidentified. We need your help in this week's NCMEC Now! NCMEC's Angeline Hartmann shares the story of the Allenstown Barrel Case.
January 31, 2017
OUR STORY: Christopher and Lisa Mae Zaharias
Louis Zaharias has been searching for his children, Christopher and Lisa Mae for almost 30 years. The children were abducted by their mom, Susan in 1987 from Santa Ana, California. They are now 30 and 32 years old.
Christopher's poster: http://www.missingkids.org/poster/NCMC/703577/1/screen
Lisa's poster: http://www.missingkids.org/poster/NCMC/703577/2/screen
January 26, 2017
Big break in decades old case
Download link for video
Law enforcement has provided the following information about the case:
• Unidentified adult female, estimated to have been between 23-33 years old.
• Caucasian, light brown hair.
• Found in metal barrel in Allenstown, NH on Nov. 10, 1985.
• DNA tests confirm she was maternally related to victim #2 and victim #4 (below), but not related to victim #3.
• Unidentified female child, estimated to have been between 8-11 years old.
• Caucasian, light brown hair.
• Found in metal barrel in Allenstown, NH on Nov. 10, 1985 with victim #1.
• DNA tests confirm she was maternally related to victim #1 and victim #4, but not related to victim #3.
• Unidentified female child, estimated to have been between 2-4 years old.
• Found in second metal barrel in Allenstown, NH on May 9, 2000.
• Believed to have been a part of original crime scene, but not found until 2000.
• DNA tests revealed she was unrelated to the other victims in the barrels, but new testing shows she is the daughter of the suspect in her homicide, “Bob Evans.”
• Unidentified female child, estimated to have been between 1-3 years old.
• Caucasian, light brown hair.
• Found in metal barrel with victim #3 in Allenstown, NH on May 9, 2000.
• Believed to have been a part of original crime scene, but not found until 2000.
• DNA tests confirm she was maternally related to victim #1 and victim #2, but not related to victim #3.
• 23-year-old Denise Beaudin went missing shortly after Thanksgiving 1981 from her home in Manchester, NH with her 6-month-old daughter, Dawn Beaudin, and her boyfriend, “Bob Evans.”
• At the time she disappeared, she lived at 925 Hayward St., Manchester, NH.
• Graduated from Goffstown High School, class of 1976.
• Recent DNA testing confirms her daughter, Dawn Beaudin, is a woman living in California, known as “Lisa.”
• “Lisa” and her grandfather, (Denise’s father) were recently reunited.
Suspect “Bob Evans”
• Law enforcement’s prime suspect in the murder of the four victims found in barrels in Allenstown, NH.
• Died in prison in 2010, while serving time for a separate murder.
• Some of his known aliases included Robert Evans, Curtis Mayo Kimball and Gordon Curtis Jenson.
• Skilled electrician and mechanic.
• DNA has confirmed he is the father of victim #3 (above).
• Lived and worked in Manchester, NH in the late 1970s and early 80s.
• Abandoned “Lisa” in California in 1986, who is now confirmed to be Denise Beaudin’s daughter, Dawn.
Law enforcement has provided the following statement from “Lisa”:
I am so thankful to be re-united with my Grandfather and cousins after all these years!! I want to send out a heart-felt “Thank You” to all the organizations and tireless individuals who made this possible.
As a victim in this incredulous story, I would like to ask that the media respects my privacy.
Currently I have three beautiful children and a loving husband, and would like our presently happy and secure life to remain intact and protected through the release of this story. Please turn your focus toward the un-identified victims, and other potentially unknown victims in this case, and hopefully their families will also be offered some closure as this investigation continues.
Thank you, Lisa
January 17, 2017
Another long-term case closed
The news today that law enforcement has located Kimberly and Kelly Yates who have been missing for more than 30 years comes on the heels of last week’s news that Kamiyah Mobley has been located after being missing for 18 years.
Both cases are a reminder of why we never stop looking for missing children. There is hope for recovery, even decades later.
In both cases a tip was critical in locating the children. We encourage anyone with information regarding a missing child to call us at 1-800-THE-LOST.
Jan. 13, 2017
A Recovery 18 Years in the Making
We are happy to share the news that Kamiyah Mobley, who was abducted as an infant in 1998 from a hospital in Jacksonville, FL has been found. Kamiyah was positively identified by law enforcement after a tip was made to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s 24-hour call center.
NCMEC has been involved in the search for Kamiyah since the day she went missing 18 years ago.
Kamiyah’s recovery is a reminder of why we never give up hope in the search for missing children. When children who have been missing for years or even decades are recovered, we celebrate those recoveries and are inspired to continue searching for the thousands of children who are still missing. We know there are other children who are out there, waiting to be found.
Jan. 11, 2017
Backpage purposefully underreported instances of potential child sex trafficking to NCMEC. Every unreported ad was a potential child victim that NCMEC was never made aware of, and therefore was unable to help.
The report also revealed the true owners of Backpage to be James Larkin, Michael Lacey and Carl Ferrer. All three men are currently facing pimping and money laundering charges in California.
NCMEC has previously called on Backpage to take internal measures to prevent children from being trafficked for sex and victimized on Backpage.com.
“It has always been within Backpage’s discretion to voluntarily ensure its site is not being used to facilitate the crime of child sex trafficking,” said NCMEC CEO John Clark. “While NCMEC is unsure of the impetus for Backpage’s recent decision, we are gratified to know that as result, a child is now less likely to be sold for sex on Backpage.com.”
The senate report comes as a result of more than twenty months of the Subcommittee’s investigation into the problem of online sex trafficking. The investigation led the committee to focus on Backpage.com, which in NCMEC’s experience is the number one website where children are sold for sex online. “We commend the Subcommittee, especially Chairman Rob Portman and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill, for their continued leadership on the investigation and their dedicated assistance to victims, survivors and their families,” said Clark.
Jan. 11, 2017
NCMEC Missing Alert - Melaney Cuadrado
Missing from Sorrento, Florida since Jan 5, 2017. According to the Lake County Sheriff's Office, Melaney may be in need of immediate medical attention.
Please WATCH and view her poster here: http://www.missingkids.org/poster/NCMC/1285739/1/screen
Jan. 10, 2017
John Clark: Backpage Statement
Watch NCMEC's President and CEO, John F. Clark's statement on Backpage's decision to remove escort ads from its website in the U.S.
Jan. 10, 2017
NCMEC statement regarding Backpage
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 10, 2017 – As the national clearinghouse for missing and exploited children issues, NCMEC has witnessed the prevalence and devastating impact of online child sex trafficking. We have long been concerned about Backpage’s business practices that fail to stop children from being trafficked on its website and enable traffickers to easily perpetuate this horrendous crime against children. Based on NCMEC’s specific experience with missing and exploited children cases, Backpage is the number one website where children are sold for sex online.
NCMEC has previously called on Backpage to take internal measures to prevent children from being trafficked for sex and victimized on Backpage.com. Yesterday, we learned that Backpage appears to have voluntarily removed the escort ads from its website in the U.S. It has always been Backpage’s responsibility to ensure its site is not being used to facilitate the crime of child sex trafficking. NCMEC has never recommended closure of any websites, but has recommended that Backpage, and all online classified ad sites, take appropriate measures, including the implementation of commonly used technology, to stop the sale of children for sex on its site. Instead, Backpage has made the decision to shut down the adult services section of its site entirely. While NCMEC is not aware of the impetus for Backpage’s recent decision, we are gratified to know that as a result, a child is now less likely to be sold for sex on Backpage.com.
NCMEC has strongly supported the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ work on the crime of online child sex trafficking, including the practices of Backpage. We commend the Subcommittee, especially Chairman Rob Portman and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill, for their continued leadership on the investigation and their dedicated assistance to victims, survivors and their families.
We look forward to continuing to work with Members of the Subcommittee and all others who are working tirelessly on halting the terrible tragedy of online child sex trafficking.
Jan. 6, 2017
Pamela Hobley - Our Story
Pamela Hobley went missing from Oscoda, MI 47 years ago. Nearly five decades later, her family has never given up hope that they could be reunited.
Hear their plea and join the search to help bring Pamela home tonight.
To read more about Pamela's case, go to: http://www.missingkids.org/poster/NCMC/1175075/
Jan. 5, 2017
2016 - A Year in Review
It takes a lot of people to keep NCMEC functioning! We look back on some of the faces and highlights of 2016. Hope is why we're here.
Dec. 22, 2016
A Father Waits
By Sarah Baker
Photos by Sarah Baker
On Aug. 25, 2010, J. Augusto Frisancho sat in Meadowood Regional Park in Baltimore, Maryland waiting for his recently-separated wife to drop off their kids, 11-year-old Ork’o, 7-year-old Amaru and 5-year-old Raymi, for their weekly visit. She was late. Slowly the minutes turned into hours. The sun set as Augusto waited and the children never arrived. Worried, he frantically called his wife. Getting no answer, he dialed every number that he had, and no one knew where the children were. He then switched to email, and still no one had any answers. After a frightening night of not knowing he finally learned by email that his children were taken to Slovakia by his wife and her family. He was confused and panicked, learning that they had left the country.
The following day Augusto finally reached his sons. “Daddy,” he heard on the other end, repeated by each child’s voice as they crowded around the phone. He felt relief to talk to them and believed they would be back in his arms soon. His oldest child, Ork'o, said, “School is starting in a few days, and I very much want to go there on time, I don’t want to miss it.” Hearing their cries, he stayed strong, trying to comfort them. Augusto then contacted the US State Department the day after he learned they were taken.
As time passed from days to weeks, the telephone conversations got shorter and less frequent. “I was worried that I would lose the right to talk to my children,” he said. “I kept it light and made sure to keep everything positive in our short conversations.” He knew he couldn’t sit and do nothing. After several attempts to resolve things amicably with his wife, Augusto filed an application for return of the children under an international treaty, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Augusto’s wife was called upon by the Central Authority for the Hague Convention in Bratislava, Slovakia to discuss the peaceful return home of the children. When no agreement could be reached, a slew of legal proceedings began that continue to this day.
Dec. 31, 2010 was the last time Augusto talked to his children in Slovakia. He wished Ork’o a “happy new year,” then the phone went silent. The phone numbers were changed after that night.
2011 was the start of the hardest year of Augusto’s life. Everything in his daily life was a reminder of the absence of his children; the empty Baltimore rowhome, the park and the children’s school. Unable to talk about what happened, he bottled up this tragedy and kept it inside, trying just to get through the day to day, slowly changing his routine. Becoming what he called a “zombie,” Augusto worked, ate and slept in an endless repetition, with no way of knowing how his children were doing. Understanding he had to stay healthy and strong for his sons, Augusto eventually picked himself up. “It’s easy to isolate oneself, but I knew I had to turn this nightmare around,” he said. Slowly he began to visit his sons’ favorite places. “I would close my eyes and say, ‘God! You can do it, please tell them their daddy loves them’.” His relationship with God has been his strength throughout this horrible ordeal.
Feeling alone in this nightmare, he didn’t tell people in his community that his children had been taken. But when Augusto joined the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s “Team HOPE,” a peer support group of families with missing, recovered and exploited children, he gradually began to open up and speak about his nightmare. “Parents like Augusto struggle with the emotional trauma and loneliness of having a missing or exploited child”, says, Abby Potash, program director, Team HOPE. Helping others and sharing his story became healing to Augusto.
In 2011 it seemed that his children might finally come home when the Slovakian courts ruled in his favor. But it just set off a host of additional hearings that would be drawn out to present day. Long plane rides were filled with a desperate studying of Slovakian law. The trips were filled with excitement and anxiety as he prayed the children would be in court. In 2013 Ork’o and Amaru were present in court. Augusto was flooded with emotion as he caught a glimpse of their faces for a brief moment, though unable to speak to them. After that, he hoped to see them at another court appearance, but they never returned.
At the table where they used to enjoy family dinners, Augusto sits alone, surrounded by piles of court documents. He prepares notes for his testimony on Capitol Hill. Congressman Chris Smith has invited him to speak before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He hopes that this will help him reunite with his sons. Today, Ork’o is 17 years old, Amaru is 14 and Raymi is 12. It’s been six years since they were taken. Augusto will never stop searching..View more images here/.
Nov. 17, 2016
How Safe Are Teen Dating Apps?
It feels like everyone is meeting online these days. If you’ve ever online-dated, you know there are plenty of ups and downs on the way to meeting someone you like (or could potentially date).
So it’s no surprise that the success of dating apps has led to the development of new ones, like dating apps for teens.
“Teen dating apps are popping up all over the place,” said Ju’Riese Colon, executive director of outreach at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Although the app stores where they can be found typically rate them for downloading only by mature users (17+), some of these apps are aimed at kids as young as 13 and up to age 19. “They’re putting kids and adults in the same space specifically for the purpose of dating,” Colon said, differentiating them from other popular social media sites that allow young users on their platforms.
“Other social media sites are bringing people together through common interests…these apps exist solely to match young people up to date, and that’s a problem when adults are allowed on the platform to mix with kids,” said Colon.
There’s also the possibility that an adult older than 19 could potentially pose as a child and use the app. Some apps have verification steps in place to attempt to keep older people off their apps, but it’s not failsafe. “If you’re determined to get on, you will,” said Colon. “I haven’t seen any teen dating apps that are impenetrable to adults.”
So what’s her advice to parents? “It’s probably best to have your kids steer clear of these apps. There are plenty of other ways for kids to meet each other in a safer environment.”
For more information on how to keep kids safer online, check out NCMEC’s tips and ways to start the conversation on NetSmartz.org/.
Nov. 10, 2016
Kevin, we'll never stop searching for you
On Veteran’s Day NCMEC salutes all those who have served our country at home and overseas. Especially in our thoughts, are Charles McClam and his family. Charles was proudly serving in the United States Military when his 14-year-old son, Kevin, went missing from their home on the Naval Weapons Station near Goose Creek, South Carolina. Kevin we have not forgotten about you and will never stop searching.
Oct. 27, 2016
NEW APP FROM NCMEC PUTS CHILD SAFETY JUST ONE SWIPE AWAY
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 27, 2016 – The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and EMCOR Group, Inc.(R) (NYSE: EME), today announced the launch of Safety Central, a free child safety app available for Apple and Android devices. The app is designed to help parents and guardians protect their families and act quickly should their child go missing.
“Timing is critical when a child is missing and Safety Central lets parents provide the tools that law enforcement needs to start the search with just the touch of a button,” said John Walsh, NCMEC co-founder and host of CNN’s “The Hunt.” “This may be the most important App you’ll have on your device.”
Safety Central’s key features include:
- Digital Child ID Kit - This feature allows users to save potentially lifesaving information about their children, including photos and digital fingerprint images, and reminds users when it’s time to update the photos.
- Missing Children Search - This feature allows users to view posters of children missing in their area and make a report to NCMEC if they have any information.
- NCMEC Updates - These updates allow users to stay connected with news, trends and safety tips from NCMEC.
Safety Central was developed by NCMEC and is sponsored by EMCOR Group, Inc., a Fortune 500® leader in mechanical and electrical construction, industrial and energy infrastructure and building services.
“EMCOR Group, Inc, is proud to expand and continue its decade long partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children with the Safety Central App,” stated Tony Guzzi, President and CEO, EMCOR Group, Inc. “We support NCMEC in its belief that this app has been designed to provide important tools to help parents and guardians protect their families and to act quickly should their child go missing.”
Users receive a welcome message from John Walsh and, among the many features, also have the ability to make a donation to NCMEC or buy NCMEC merchandise directly through the
To download Safety Central, visit our Safety page.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® is the leading private, nonprofit organization helping to find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent future victimization. NCMEC has assisted in the recovery of more than 227,000 missing children and received more than 13.6 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation on its CyberTipline.
About EMCOR Group, Inc.
A Fortune 500 company, EMCOR Group, Inc. (NYSE: EME) is a leader in mechanical and electrical construction, industrial and energy infrastructure, and building services. A provider of critical infrastructure systems, EMCOR gives life to new structures and sustains life in existing ones by its planning, installing, operating, maintaining, and protecting the sophisticated and dynamic systems that create facility environments in virtually every sector of the economy and for a diverse range of businesses, organizations and government.
Oct. 21, 2016
NCMEC Harnesses the Skills of Artists to Help Children
By Sarah Baker
Photo by Serkan Gurbuz
Meet Alyssa M. Torres, animation director, Creative Studio. “I joined NCMEC in November 2011 as an animator on our Creative Studio team. Our mission here at #NCMEC is to help missing and exploited children, but we also use what we’ve learned from these cases to help keep kids safer. Through art and animation, we’ve found a powerful way to reach kids with an important message.”
“NetSmartz helps keep children safer on the internet and follows the adventures of Clicky, the big yellow safety robot, and his friends Nettie, Webster, Gig, Router and Tera. Together, they work to defeat the Webville Outlaws and help children navigate dangers on the internet. KidSmartz, our latest safety program, helps keep children safer in the real world. One of my favorite animations is, “Take a Friend.” The message is simple and powerful: you’re stronger in numbers. Making child safety fun through animation, games and activities has been a rewarding experience for me as an animator.”
Photo by Serkan Gurbuz
“Every month we design a new message for the “NetSmartz Kids” audience. The design process here at NCMEC is a lot of fun, and I work with a great team that is able to turn abstract ideas about safety into fun, accessible and interactive content for kids. Here at NCMEC I’ve been able to connect to a diverse community of artists throughout the organization. I’m really excited for 2017 when we release our next episode in the “Webville Outlaws” series. Stay Tuned!”
Oct. 18, 2016
"It’s an honor for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to once again partner with the FBI in its ongoing efforts to combat a persistent, yet hidden, problem in this country: the selling of America’s children for sex. People don’t want to believe children are being sold for sex. Not in this country. But once again, “Operation Cross Country 10” provides irrefutable evidence that they are. In just three days, 82 trafficked children were recovered and 239 pimps arrested in cities large and small across America. The youngest child was 13."
- John F. Clark, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
You can view the FBI's full results and report on Operation Cross Country X here.
Oct. 14, 2016
Sacramento, California - Carl Ferrer, 55, CEO of Backpage, an online classified website that hosts “escort” ads selling children for sex, was arraigned yesterday in Sacramento Superior Court, on 10 felony charges, including pimping of a minor, pimping and conspiracy to commit pimping and Backpage controlling shareholders, Michael Lacey, 68, and James Larkin, 67, were arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit pimping.
At the hearing, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman discussed bail for the three defendants and Ferrer was ultimately released on $500,000 bail and Lacey and Larkin were each released on $250,000 bail. A court hearing was set has been scheduled for November 16.
Our previous updates can be viewed here.
Oct. 13, 2016
This evening, we're excited to launch our new video segment, "NCMEC Now" which will feature the latest updates and news from the national center. Tune in weekly!
Oct. 6, 2016
The CEO of Backpage.com, an online classified website that hosts “escort” ads selling children for sex, was arrested Oct. 6 on state felony charges of pimping children, following a sweeping investigation by the California Attorney General’s office in coordination with the Texas Attorney General’s office.
In addition to CEO Carl Ferrer, 55, two controlling shareholders of Backpage, Michael Lacey, 68, and James Larkin, 67, have also been criminally charged with conspiracy to commit pimping. The charges allege that they conspired to purposefully design the Backpage website to be “the world’s top online brothel.” They also allege that Ferrer actively facilitated the sale of children for sex online, including children under the age of 16 years old.
Ferrer, who was arrested at a Houston airport when his flight from Amsterdam landed, appeared in court today (Friday) and agreed to be extradited from Texas to California. His attorney said Ferrer was looking forward to his day in court to fight the charges.
Backpage.com is a website that hosts classified ads, including a section for “escorts.” Law enforcement investigations have determined that many “escort” ads on Backpage involve children being sold for sex. Based on Backpage’s business model, it has been alleged that Backpage creates, and actively encourages, a lucrative marketplace for child sex trafficking.
“Raking in millions of dollars from the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable victims is outrageous, despicable and illegal,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in announcing the felony charges against Backpage top executives. “Backpage and its executives purposefully and unlawfully designed Backpage to be the world’s top online brothel.”
John F. Clark, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said in a statement:
“NCMEC applauds actions taken today by the California and Texas attorneys general in pursuing criminal action against Backpage. As the leading non-profit working to end the sexual exploitation of children, NCMEC knows that the primary way children are sold for sex in this country is through the use of online classified advertising websites, such as Backpage.com. The criminal action initiated today will lead to new hope for children who are sold for sex online.”
The criminal charges, the first filed against Backpage executives, follow increased legal and legislative scrutiny into Backpage’s practices, including a contempt charge unanimously passed by Congress earlier this year, an ongoing Senate subcommittee investigation and two civil lawsuits brought by child victims trafficked on Backpage.
View the press release from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton here.
View the press release from California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris here.______
Aug. 5, 2016
UPDATE: U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer has ordered Backpage’s CEO, Carl Ferrer, to comply with the Senate subcommittee’s subpoena and hand over documents pertaining to Backpage’s business practices within 10 days. That ruling follows the Senate’s unanimous vote to direct the filing of civil contempt proceedings against the online classified site. This is the first time in over 20 years that the Senate has taken such extraordinary action.
The Senate investigation and contempt proceedings follow increased scrutiny of Backpage among anti-trafficking non-profit organizations, in civil court proceedings and on Capitol Hill for child sex trafficking on Backpage.com.______
Nov. 19, 2015
For the first time in more than 20 years, a key witness failed to appear today before a Senate subcommittee investigating the sale of children for sex on the Internet. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said his committee may pursue a criminal contempt charge against the CEO of Backpage.com.
Carl Ferrer, CEO of the online classified website, ignored the subpoena and has refused the subcommittee’s request for documents pertaining to its business practices, citing First Amendment protections.
“Backpage made a huge mistake today by making a mockery of this Senate hearing,” said John Walsh, co-founder of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, who attended today’s hearing on Capitol Hill. “Backpage has made millions of dollars at the expense of children by enabling pimps to sell them for sex on their website.”
The subcommittee, led by Portman and ranking member Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), has been investigating human trafficking on the Internet and has said Backpage is the “most important player” in this market, despite the website’s claim that it is a market leader in combatting the problem.
“We’re here to talk about the online, lucrative sale of America’s children for sex, which in our experience occurs most prominently on the website, Backpage.com,” testified Yiota Souras, NCMEC’s general counsel and one of two witnesses. “Every year in the United States, thousands of children are sold for sex and repeatedly raped.”
Souras testified that a vast majority of suspected child sex trafficking victims reported to NCMEC were advertised on Backpage. Since 1998, NCMEC’s CyberTipline, the nation’s reporting mechanism for suspected child sexual exploitation, received more than 45,000 reports relating to suspected child sex trafficking, most from ads on Backpage.
“Technology has fundamentally changed how children are trafficked,” said Souras. “Today, an adult can shop from their home, office or hotel room, even on a cellphone, to buy a child for sex.”
The subcommittee released a scathing report today condemning Ferrer and Backpage, saying the company edits out certain content that could distinguish legal ads from those that are selling children for sex.
The subcommittee is recommending enforcement of Ferrer’s subpoena.
“If Backpage thinks they are going to go quietly into the night, they are sadly mistaken,” McCaskill said.______
Oct. 20, 2014
Tom and Nacole share their family’s personal story about their teenage daughter who became a victim of child sex trafficking. Their daughter is one of three children now suing Backpage.com, LLC alleging that the website enables the development of child sex trafficking ads on its site.
The Washington State Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on Tuesday.______
Sep. 10, 2014
Let trafficking victims have their day in court
Sexually explicit language advertising the sale of children for sex is a common business practice for Backpage.com.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children filed an amicus brief urging the Washington State Supreme Court to allow three child sex trafficking victims to have their day in court against the online classified advertising website owned by Backpage LLC.
Our brief was filed in response to Backpage’s motion to dismiss the victims’ case. It argues that Backpage enables the development of child sex trafficking ads on its site, which results in the repeated sexual exploitation and victimization of children.
In the past five years, our Child Sex Trafficking Team has seen a 1,432-percent increase in reports of suspected child sex trafficking. Today the majority of child sex trafficking ads reported to us involve ads posted on Backpage.com.
Despite Backpage’s knowledge that it has created a lucrative marketplace for child sex trafficking on its website, it has rejected most of our past recommendations to help reduce the selling and buying of children for sex on its website. Backpage has only made minimal efforts to curb the posting of child sexual exploitative content.
Child sex trafficking is a pervasive and destructive crime. Our amicus brief asks the court to allow the victims’ case to move forward to assure the fair adjudication of a matter so greatly important to the safety of children across the United States.
We joined the Washington State Attorney General’s Office and the following nonprofits in support of the child victims: National Crime Victim Law Institute, Shared Hope International, Covenant House, Human Rights Project for Girls, FAIR Girls, and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.
Read all the amicus briefs and underlying court papers here.
Oct. 4, 2016
How do children stay safe online in the digital age?
NetSmartz and Clicky are educating parents, educators, children and teens how to recognize potential Internet risks.
Guest blog by CA Technologies
Every year, October ushers in a season of change – the air becomes crisper, the leaves take on more vibrant hues and students across the country dig into their classwork and prepare for exams.
With all of this activity in the classroom and around fall holidays, we spend a lot of time online. In the rush of our day-to-day lives, especially in a world driven by apps and smartphones, it’s easy to forget the importance of following basic Internet safety tips – and encouraging our children to do the same.
That’s why CA Technologies is proud to continue our partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. CA is excited to help support NCMEC’s NetSmartz program. This free, interactive online educational resource for children ages 5-17 is important year-round, but especially during Cyber Security Awareness Month in October.
For more than a decade we’ve supported NCMEC’s efforts to find missing children and make online communities safe for young people through software and financial contributions. By bringing together NCMEC’s issue-area expertise and leadership with CA’s software resources and philanthropic support, we strive to make America safer for all children – online and off. But our goal for NetSmartz goes beyond solving problems that already exist – through preventative education, we want to make all children safer.
NetSmartz educates children on how to recognize potential Internet risks and encourages them to have healthy conversations with their parents about how to be safer online. We want to help NCMEC make this easier for families by offering tools that teach kids what to do, potential consequences and where to go for help.
The key with prevention education is to start early. That’s where Clicky, the NetSmartz spokesrobot, comes in. For more than 15 years, kids around the country between the ages of 5 and 10, have reached out to Clicky to ask him questions about cyber safety and what’s best to do while online in their own, sometimes misspelled, words:
dear.clicky, i have a huge problem and i need your help these people keep sending me unitproprete stuff and pics so i need your help clicky! your friend, kaiya
hi clicky. so I love netsmartz allot. So I was tiping online and someone asked for my password. I dinnet know what to do so then I wached won of your vidios. Right after that I said no. then he asked why not? Then I said because im not going to then i blocked it.
It’s heartening to see that kids and teens have found a trusted friend in Clicky. It’s this connection with kids that makes CA want to support NCMEC and the NetSmartz program.
This October, pause from the busy fall season to talk with the children in your life about Internet safety. We’re in a digital age that is only expanding, and children access smartphones and tablets at younger and younger ages. Together, we can ensure that our children develop a healthy relationship with the technology that is at their fingertips every day.
CA Technologies is a longtime NCMEC partner. As a global software company, CA is working with companies worldwide to change the way we live, transact, and communicate. From planning to development to management to security, at CA we create software that fuels transformation for companies in the application economy. CA Together, our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, is dedicated to improving the lives of underserved children and communities. We do this by supporting organizations, programs and initiatives that enrich the lives and well-being of people everywhere, with a primary focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Our goal is to help transform the lives of young people and encourage the development of future leaders in IT.
You may view the press release here.
Sept. 23, 2016
2016 Heroes' Awards
On September 22, 2016 we honored law enforcement heroes who have gone above and beyond in a case involving a missing or sexually exploited child.
HSI special agents Christopher Neville, Henry Cook and Eli Bupp; Pennsylvania State Trooper Nicholas Cortese; and U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Corricelli were honored for their race against the clock to stop the sexual abuse of five young girls that was being photographed and posted online. Using technology, extensive man hours and clues found in the images of abuse, they were able to identify and locate the children hundreds of miles away, rescuing them and arresting their abuser.
Lt. Derek Prestridge, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, was honored for his training course that uses insight in criminal and victim behavior to help law enforcement spot victims hidden in plain sight - children who have been abducted or forced into child sex trafficking. Texas Highway Patrol Troopers II Joseph Shafer and Jason Sanchez were honored for implementing the training’s tactics to rescue children they identified in routine traffic stops. The training has led to the rescue of multiple children and has the potential to be implemented nationwide.
Massachusetts State Police Trooper Dan Herman and Lt. Robert Murphy were honored for their tireless work on the case of “Baby Doe,” which captured national attention when her body was found on an island in Boston Harbor. Following up on thousands of leads and using technology, forensic science and extensive man hours, they were able to identify her as 2-year-old Bella Bond, and arrest her mother and her mother’s boyfriend for their alleged role in her death.
For more photos from the Heroes' Awards, view the album here.
Sept. 14, 2016
Small Town, Big Case: NCMEC and partners help police recover four children
By Barbara Worth
Dos Palos, Calif., Chief of Police Barry Mann, lead investigator on the abduction case of four siblings ages eight and younger.
(DOS PALOS, Calif.) – In this rural Central California town of 5,000, the police department has seven full-time officers and five dispatchers – one full- and four part-time. The force has “five working vehicles,” says Police Chief Barry Mann, with a smile. Truancies, traffic tickets, domestic troubles – they’re all police routine here, stretching the resources of this tiny 24/7 agency as they do around the U.S.
But last month, those local routine calls were blown out of the water as Mann faced a child abduction case that ultimately stretched across the country, drawing on federal, state and nonprofit resources including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Louisiana State Police.
And not just one child – but four.
The children had been staying in Dos Palos with their grandmother while their mother, Penny Rascon, was jailed on domestic-violence charges. When she was released last month, police say, she came for her children: Canyon Hall, 8; Blake Hall, 7; Haylee Hall, 6; and Pauline Hall, 4.
This sounded an alarm for the police chief. He knew Rascon was with a convicted child sex offender, Joseph Moreno, and Moreno was charged in a warrant with molesting a 7-year-old child. Plus, Mann says, the children’s father wasn’t able to reach them or their mother, who was facing arrest for skipping a court hearing.
Joseph Moreno and Penny Rascon
For a few days, indications were that Moreno, Rascon and her children were nearby and planning to return to Dos Palos. But once Mann tracked the couple’s debit-card usage across the state line to Nevada, he concluded they were fleeing California. He knew his small agency was confronting a major child abduction case and that he needed help. He didn’t know what kind of car the group was in, or the license plate number, so an AMBER Alert wasn’t an option. It was at this point that Mann spoke with NCMEC and the U.S. Marshals Service.
“Most law-enforcement agencies are small, like Dos Palos, and don’t have the resources or expertise when something like this happens,” said Robert Lowery, vice president of NCMEC’s Missing Children Division. “NCMEC can be a tremendous free resource to help small agencies with a large case.”
NCMEC deployed members of its Team Adam, a corp of retired law enforcement officers with expertise in missing-children cases, to assist Mann. The Marshals helped track the fleeing couple’s phone usage to Louisiana. State Police, already strapped by recent flooding, worked with the Marshals throughout the night, sharing information about the couple’s location. Then – the very next day after Mann spoke to NCMEC and the Marshals – Louisiana state troopers found and arrested Moreno in the casino area of a truck stop, gambling. They found Rascon and her children in the truck stop’s parking lot, sleeping in a car. Police report the children were covered in dirt and mosquito bites. They said they hadn’t eaten in two days. Troopers bought them breakfast and gave them blankets, pillows, clothes and toys and arranged for them to bathe.
That morning brought big relief to Mann, who had been losing sleep worrying about the children. Now there was the matter of how to get them back to California. NCMEC called on one of its corporate partners, American Airlines, which stepped up and provided free tickets for Mann and a fellow officer, Lisa Areias, to fly round-trip to Louisiana to retrieve the children. American often helps families who don’t have funding to reunite with their missing children.
The two officers slept on the floor of the Baton Rouge airport as they waited for state officials to bring the children to them. When they arrived, the girls were sleeping, but the boys were awake, smiling and waving. Says Mann, “They knew us.” Back in Dos Palos, “Officer Barry,” as they called the police chief, had bought them food. “Officer Lisa” had given them clothes. “They walked right up to us,” says Mann. “They took Officer Lisa’s hand right away.”
Officer Lisa Areias with Canyon, Haylee, Pauline and Blake Hall at the airport in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, waiting to fly back to California.
Back in California, the four children were released to social services. Mann wants to see them placed with people who will give them the attention they need. “I want all of them to be successful,” he says. “What if Haylee or Blake is sitting in a cop uniform [someday] asking someone, ‘Why do you want to treat your kids this way?’ Wouldn’t that be a great circle of success?”
Meanwhile, Mann says he will be spreading the word about NCMEC to other police agencies. He says before the Hall case, he didn’t know about all the free resources NCMEC had to offer. He especially appreciates the support he received from NCMEC Case Manager Mike Morrill. When Mann was up all night working on the case, he says Morrill called him again and again: “[He would say] ’Chief, how are you? Are there any changes? Do you need anything? I’ll talk to you all night if you need it.’”
“I didn’t know everything I was supposed to do,” says Mann. “He filled in the gaps. He saved my butt. He was my savior.”
Officer Lisa Areias and Police Chief Barry Mann.
Now, folks in Dos Palos stop Mann on the street to thank him for helping the Hall children. “Just let us know what you need [for the kids].” People have left toys, clothes, school supplies and toiletries at the police department. One woman donated $500.
To Areias, who used social media to tell the story of the recovery as it progressed, a high school counselor says, “Thank you for taking us on this trip with you through Facebook…we got to go rescue them with you.”
Goods donated to the Hall children by residents of Dos Palos.
Pictures Officer Lisa Areias took during the recovery of the Hall children can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/dospalospd.
Money to help the Hall children can be sent to: Merced County Child Protective Services, 2115 Wardrobe Ave., Merced, CA 95341. ATTN: HALL CHILDREN.
The Dos Palos Police department accepts donations of clothes, toiletries, school supplies and toys for the Hall children at: 1546 Golden Gate Ave., Dos Palos, CA 93620. Sizes: Boys 7 and 8; Girls 4 and 6.
Sept. 13, 2016
New facial reconstruction released for Jane "Woodlawn" Doe case
September 12, 2016 marked 40 years since Jane “Woodlawn” Doe was found deceased on a cemetery access road in Woodlawn, Maryland.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is releasing a new facial reconstruction of Jane Doe.
With the assistance of Boston Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department is running down leads on the case. One lead suggests she may have been named Jasmine, gone by the nickname, “Jassy,” and may have lived with her family on Forbes Street in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts in the early 1970s. Investigators are looking for anyone that remembers this young female. She may have relatives by the name of Blanca, Tito and Santana.
Investigators hope this new information will bring in additional tips so they can finally get answers.
For case-specific information, please contact the Baltimore County Police Department at 410-887-6162.
Jane Doe's poster can be viewed here.
Sept. 6, 2016
Jacob Wetterling, you are loved
In 2013, Patty Wetterling sat down for an interview with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to talk about how she persevered after her son Jacob was abducted in 1989.
In a home video, Jacob Wetterling lists his favorite things. Jacob, you are loved.
Sept. 3, 2016
Statement from John Clark, President & CEO of NCMEC
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wetterling family today as they receive news about the 27 year investigation of their son Jacob's abduction.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has been involved in Jacob's case since he disappeared in 1989.
Our hope today is that this new information will bring some answers to a family who has never stopped searching for their son and brother.
Their perseverance is an inspiration to searching parents everywhere, and to everyone at NCMEC.
President & CEO
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Sept. 2, 2016
Start the School Year Right with New NetSmartz Resources
By Mike Hill
It’s back-to-school season and all across the United States children are sitting at computers in their classrooms, writing emails to “Clicky,” the internet spokesrobot for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, who teaches them all about being safer online.
Children have lots of questions and concerns for the bright yellow robot with the flat head, red nose and big smile. They ask Clicky if they should share their address online or what they should do if they are cyberbullied.
“Dear Clicky. I’m bullied a ton at my school, but I don’t know what to do,” said a young girl in Michigan. (Answer: Tell a trusted adult.)
Another child in Ohio wanted to know, “What would you do if someone asks you what is your address?” (Answer: Don’t reply and tell a trusted adult.)
(Photo by Serkan Gurbuz)
For more than 15 years, NCMEC has empowered children to be safer online and become responsible digital citizens through its internet safety program, called Netsmartz. Since the free, interactive educational resource was started, the internet has rapidly evolved, so NetSmartz has evolved with it to help students embrace new technologies but to also avoid dangers online.
This fall, NCMEC is excited to announce new NetSmartz resources for children and teens, including two assembly-style presentations for grades K-2 and 3-5. You can find them here: http://www.netsmartz.org/backtoschool.
Led by Clicky and his pals, cyber-siblings Nettie and Webster, children will learn how to navigate the internet, including:
- The four rules of internet safety, described in words and pictures appropriate to the age group.
- The importance of understanding that you don’t really know people you “meet” online.
- What to do about cyberbullies, offensive content or pop-up ads.
NetSmartz has empowered generations of children to be safer online by continuing to grow and adapt to changing technology and trends. Today’s teachers understand the importance of incorporating these changes into their lesson plans.
Clicky’s going to a lot of schools these days – in all 50 states and a growing number of countries, including Canada, South America, the UK and Australia. As concerns about Internet safety have heightened around the world, teachers are increasingly navigating to NCMEC’s NetSmartz program– the home of Clicky and his pals.
When children return to school, Clicky, Nettie and Webster are waiting for them with new, engaging animation and storytelling that makes the learning process fun for both students and their teachers.
Teachers often tweet photos to @NetSmartz of their students learning how to “Use Your NetSmartz” in the classroom. On any given month during the school year, Clicky gets hundreds of emails from children.
When many children come home from school, the internet is still with them or they can gain access through their friends. Whether on a laptop, tablet or cell phone, it’s important for parents to have a continuous dialogue with their children about their online lives.
NetSmartz is a good place to start.
Aug. 30, 2016
Help solve a 45-year mystery
Watch the video here.
In 1971, a young female was found deceased in a wooded area of Redwood highway in Cave Junction, Oregon. She was fully clothed, wearing unique jewelry and even had a map in her pocket, yet she still remains unidentified.
Today the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is releasing a new facial reconstruction of what Jane ‘Annie’ Doe may have looked like and are hoping that someone may recognize her and help solve this 45-year-old mystery.
Anyone having information should contact 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST), Josephine County Sheriff’s Office (Oregon) 1-541-474-5123 and Oregon State Medical Examiner 1-971-673-8300
Her poster can be viewed here.
Aug. 24, 2016
BACK-TO-SCHOOL IS A VITAL TIME TO REMIND KIDS AND PARENTS ABOUT ABDUCTION SAFETY
New Analysis by National Center for Missing & Exploited Children further supports safety recommendations from NCMEC’s and Honeywell’s KidSmartz Program
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and Honeywell (NYSE:HON) are calling on parents and educators to emphasize children’s personal safety as they head back to school this fall.
Their recommendations are supported by a new analysis, released by NCMEC this week, of 10 years of data on attempted abductions of children and related crimes or suspicious incidents involving individuals that were unknown to the children. NCMEC found that 70 percent of these incidents occurred on school days and that school-age children were most likely to be on their way to or from school when the incidents occurred.
“We know these are often crimes of opportunity,” said John F. Clark, NCMEC president and CEO. “These offenders take advantage of the moments when they have easiest access to children. That’s why helping kids make safer and smarter decisions when faced with potential danger is so important. While we don’t want parents or children to live in fear, we want them to take action to educate and prepare themselves.”
The KidSmartz® program, developed by NCMEC in partnership with Honeywell, uses videos, music and classroom activities to teach personal safety children in grades K-5. The program aligns perfectly with the lessons learned in NCMEC’s new analysis.
“Our analysis showed us that offenders were more likely to attempt verbal lures or manipulation with elementary age children, such as offering a ride, promising candy or demanding they get in the car,” said Clark. “That’s why the focus on empowerment and helping kids understand that being safe is more important than being polite.”
KidSmartz focuses on keeping the lines of communication open between parents and children, helping children identify trusted adults and avoiding potentially dangerous situations while they learn about staying safer. The program, focuses on four basic safety rules:
- Check First
- Take a Friend
- Tell People “NO”
- Tell a Trusted Adult
For more information about the findings from NCMEC’s analysis including insight into the ages and genders of the victims, times and locations of the incidents and the methods used by offenders, visit NCMEC’s virtual newsroom at www.missingkids.org/vnr.
NCMEC analyzed data from 10 years of attempted abductions and related incidents. To view the full analysis, click here.The KidSmartz materials are available for free download at www.KidSmartz.org. For more information, visit KidSmartz on Facebook and Twitter.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Since 1984, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has served as the leading private, nonprofit organization helping to find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent future victimization. As part of its work as the clearinghouse and resource center on issues relating to missing and exploited children, NCMEC operates a hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), and has assisted in the recovery of more than 227,000 missing children. NCMEC also operates the CyberTipline®, a mechanism for reporting suspected child sexual exploitation, which has received more than 13.6 million reports since it was created in 1998. To learn more about NCMEC, visit www.missingkids.org or see NCMEC on Twitter and Facebook.
About Honeywell Hometown Solutions
KidSmartz™, the “next generation” of Got2BSafe!, is part of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s corporate citizenship initiative, which focuses on five areas of vital importance: Science & Math Education, Family Safety & Security, Housing & Shelter, Habitat & Conservation, and Humanitarian Relief. Together with leading public and non-profit institutions, Honeywell has developed powerful programs to address these needs in the communities it serves. For more information, please visit http://citizenship.honeywell.com/.
Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; turbochargers; and performance materials. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.
Aug. 24, 2016
10-Year Attempted Abduction Analysis Shows How Kids Got Away
By Christine Barndt: Although non-family abductions are rare, children are most vulnerable to abduction while going to or from school, and most abduction attempts occur on school days rather than during weekends or summer break, according to a new in-depth analysis by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The analysis covered 10 years of more than 8,000 attempted abductions of children and other suspicious incidents across the nation, where the child did not know the offender. While children are far more likely to be victimized by someone they know, it’s important to understand all the ways children may be vulnerable. “People who try to abduct children don’t always stop when they aren’t successful,” said Robert Lowery, vice president of the Missing Children Division at NCMEC. “Many offenders will try and try again.” Unlike abductions or other crimes recorded by states, attempted abductions aren’t tracked by law-enforcement nationwide, in part because definitions of what constitutes an attempted abduction can vary. Many attempted abductions are never reported to law enforcement. This may be especially true on cases where the child knows their offender. In 2005, NCMEC started collecting information from law enforcement about failed abductions, along with other suspicious incidents, indecent exposures, short-term abductions and sexual assaults involving children and an unknown offender. The majority of the 8,000 incidents studied from Jan. 1, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2014 (67 percent) were attempted abductions. The vast majority of children were school-age, and the incidents occurred most often while the child was going to or from school or a school-related activity. In fact, school was one of the most important factors in the timing of these incidents – 70 percent occurred on school days compared to non-school days, such as weekends or summer break. Girls were most commonly victimized with an average age of 12, although about 21 percent of incidents involved young boys with an average age of 10. This exhaustive analysis also sheds some much-needed light on offenders and the methods they used to victimize children. Men were by far the most common offenders - 96 percent in fact- ranging from nine to 94 years old, with an average age of 36. Overwhelmingly, they were working alone. The methods they used to gain access to children shifted with the age of the victim. Physical force was most common on the very youngest and oldest children, while verbal manipulation was most common for the rest, specifically elementary and middle school kids. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is that in 33 percent of the cases, the offender used multiple lures to try to abduct a child. If offering a ride or tempting them with candy isn’t working, many will escalate the encounter to use physical force. Remember that the majority of the cases NCMEC looked at were attempted abductions. Most of these kids did something proactive to get away before an abduction or sexual assault occurred. And we can learn from that. When an offender tried to use force, those kids got away by fighting. They also screamed, made as much noise as possible or got the attention of another adult. Children who were approached by an offender who was using verbal lures, such as making conversation, offering something or asking for help, got away by ignoring them, refusing them, threatening to use their cell phones to call someone, or, again, getting the attention of another adult. So all of this considered, how do we keep our kids safer while they’re out there just being kids? Well, we believe knowledge is power, and knowing when your kids are most vulnerable is important. Empower them with the tools they need to make the safest decisions possible. Teach them that should someone try to grab them, they should fight as hard as they can to get away. Kick, scream and cause a scene. And tell them it’s always okay to say no to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. This is true in any case where a child is being victimized, whether by someone they know or someone they’ve never met before. At NCMEC, we’ll continue to track and analyze these cases to stay on top of how offenders are adapting their strategies. Our Family Advocacy Division will continue to provide resources and support to children and families who have survived victimization, and we will never stop searching for all missing children. For more information about ways to teach your kids to stay safer, visit KidSmartz.org
NCMEC analyzed data from 10 years of attempted abductions and related incidents. To view the full analysis, click here.
Aug. 19, 2016
College Students: "Don't let your guard down"
By Abby Neft: Suzanne Lyall was heading back to her dorm at the State University of New York in Albany when she vanished without a trace. She’s still missing today, more than 18 years later. Her parents, Mary and Doug Lyall, have never stopped searching for “Suzy” since that devastating day, March 2, 1998. Doug Lyall died last year at age 73 – never knowing what happened to his youngest daughter. When Suzy disappeared, anyone between the ages of 18-21 was considered an adult and therefore was not listed as a missing child in the FBI’s national crime database. The Lyalls felt their 19-year-old daughter should be considered a missing child and fought hard for what became known as “Suzanne’s Law.” The law, which was passed by Congress in April of 2003, extends the same reporting and investigative procedures to anyone missing between the ages of 18-21 that it does for children. It also enables the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to provide a full array of its resources for this age group. “When Suzy first went missing, we had nowhere to turn,” said Mary Lyall, explaining why she fought for Suzanne’s Law, which has helped many searching families. “We were ordinary everyday people and didn’t realize we could have such an impact.” Since the law was enacted, NCMEC has helped law enforcement with 943 of these cases, including eight that were grandfathered in. Of the total, 524 were female college-age kids, while 419 were male. Mike DeShields, a member of NCMEC’s Forensic Services Unit, formerly worked as a special agent with the Department of Education’s Inspector General’s Office. He’s seen dozens of cases of missing co-eds and believes kids heading to college often think they’re invincible and let their guard down. College students may be particularly susceptible to a raft of crimes, including abduction, sexual assault and robbery, especially if they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, said DeShields. Predators know where college kids hang out and are adept at targeting those who are the most vulnerable. “We encourage the students to always try to be aware of their surroundings and their conditions and to not only look out for themselves but their friends and peers as well,” he said. In September 2014, Hannah Graham, 18, disappeared from the University of Virginia after a night out with friends and was later found murdered. Five years earlier, Morgan Harrington, 20, a student at Virginia Tech, vanished after attending a concert at UVA, and her body was found three months later. The same man has been charged in both of their slayings. Tricia Reitler, 19, a student at Indiana Wesleyan University, was last seen on March 29, 1993 walking to her dorm alone from a store half a mile from campus. Tiffany Sessions, 20, a student at the University of Florida, was last seen on Feb. 9, 1989 leaving her off-campus apartment to go jogging. Kristin Smart, 19, was last seen leaving an off-campus party to return to her dorm at California Polytechnic State University on May 25, 1996. And Lauren Spierer, 20, a student at Indiana University, was last seen on June 3, 2011 after leaving a bar in Bloomington. All of these college students are still missing today. Robert Lowery, vice president of NCMEC’s Missing Children Division, understands that college students enjoy their new freedoms when they leave home but stresses they should not let their guard down. Most importantly, he said, they should not walk anywhere alone at night and always use their common sense, as well as being aware of their surroundings. If they see something that makes them uneasy, they should trust their instincts, he said. Along with knowing the campus police phone numbers, Lowry encourages students to be careful when drinking alcohol and to always carry an ID with them. Mary Lyall also urges all college students, and their parents, to be aware of potential dangers and to learn ways to protect themselves. She said neither she nor her daughter ever imagined anything would happen to her at college. Lyall will never stop looking for her daughter until she finds the answers she desperately needs. She and her late husband dedicated their lives to helping other families of missing children and started their own non-profit organization, called the “Center for Hope.” Lyall is also a member of NCMEC’s Team HOPE, an army of volunteers who have had a missing or exploited child and work with other families going through similarly tough times. Abby Potash, program director for Team HOPE, said Mary Lyall, her husband and daughter, Stacy, have been a tremendous help and comfort to more than 50 families since joining the organization in 2002. “Mary is extremely dedicated to helping all families of missing children,” Potash said. A year after Suzanne went missing, Doug Lyall wrote a public letter to the person who abducted his daughter: “I wonder if you were ever like Suzy,” he wrote. “Did you love homemade chocolate chip cookies? Did you go to RUSH concerts? Did you play jokes on April Fools’ Day? Did you spend time on the computer, oblivious to anything else going on around you? Suzy is more than a girl on a poster. Her mom and dad, Steve and Sandy miss her daily. She has dreams, and hopes and potential. I still have positive dreams. For my own survival, I have had to let go of anger or I would be consumed by it. But the questions persist.” If you think you have seen a missing child, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 24-hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). For past blog posts, visit here.
Melville, N.Y., July 26, 2016
Canon U.S.A. Celebrates Its Home Run Relationship with NCMEC, New York Yankees at 13th Annual Promo NightCanon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, recently joined with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the New York Yankees for the 13th annual Canon Promotional Night at Yankee Stadium to help raise awareness about the importance of child safety. In recognition of Canon Promotional Night, the first 18,000 fans that entered the stadium received a Canon and Yankees co-branded baseball cap.
As part of the evening’s festivities, Toyo Kuwamura, executive vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A., Inc. presented a check in the amount of $466,392 to John Walsh, co-founder of NCMEC, representing the total amount of money raised and donated, as well as the approximate retail value of products donated by Canon U.S.A. to NCMEC in 2016. Joining them for the check presentation was New York Yankees pitcher Chasen Shreve.
Photo Credit: New York Yankees. All Rights Reserved.
From left to right: Toyo Kuwamura, Chasen Shreve and John Walsh
“An up-to-date photo can help families and law enforcement take immediate action when a child is missing and time is of the essence,” said John F. Clark, NCMEC president and CEO. “By educating families across the country about the importance of photos, Canon is helping make children safer by making sure families are prepared. We’re grateful to Canon for continuing to make child safety a priority.”
“Canon is proud to join with NCMEC to help shed light on the very important issues of missing children and child victimization, as well as to raise awareness of what we can do to help keep our children safe,” said Kotaro Fukushima, senior director and general manager, Corporate Communications, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “The critical support of the New York Yankees has helped us to reinforce how digital photographs can assist in locating missing children. We are honored to celebrate this very important relationship and look forward to continuing to help keep children out of harm’s way.”
For over 15 years, Canon and NCMEC have worked together to raise awareness about the issue of missing and exploited children through the Canon4Kids program. Through the Canon4Kids program, Canon has donated more than 2,200 pieces of equipment, including digital cameras, fax machines, printers and scanners, which have been distributed to law enforcement agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. The program works to help educate parents and guardians about how a current digital photograph is a vital tool in helping locate a missing child.
For more information about the Canon4Kids program, visit www.usa.canon.com/Canon4Kids.
About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean (excluding Mexico) markets. With approximately $31 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents granted in 2015† and is one of Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies in 2016. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. In 2014, the Canon Americas Headquarters secured LEED® Gold certification, a recognition for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance green buildings. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss and follow us on Twitter @CanonUSA. For media inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working with law enforcement, families and the professionals who serve them on issues relating to missing and sexually exploited children. Established in 1984 and authorized by Congress to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on these issues, NCMEC operates a hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), and has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 218,000 children. NCMEC also operates the CyberTipline, a mechanism for reporting child pornography, child sex trafficking and other forms of child sexual exploitation. Since it was created in 1998, more than 10 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation have been received, and more than 158 million suspected child pornography images have been reviewed. NCMEC works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, visit www.missingkids.org. Follow NCMEC on Twitter and like NCMEC on Facebook.
July 20, 2016
Valassis and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Offer Safety Tips to Help Prevent Abductions and Online Solicitations This Summer
LIVONIA, Mich.: As children across the nation are embracing their summer vacations and time away from school, Valassis, a leader in intelligent media delivery, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) remind parents and their children to keep safety top of mind.
According to the FBI, in 2015 there were 460,699 reports of missing children made to law enforcement in the United States. Also that year, NCMEC’s CyberTipline received more than 4.4 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation. During the summer months, when children tend to be home alone more often, spending time outdoors and are less supervised, they and their parents should take extra precautions to help prevent abductions and sexual exploitation.
“Last year, we assisted law enforcement with more than 13,700 cases of missing children, said John F. Clark, president and CEO, NCMEC. “While most of those children are recovered safely, we believe no child should ever be at risk of abduction or exploitation. With this in mind, we aim to educate parents and children to be mindful of potential dangers around them and summer is a great opportunity for families to start conversations about safety.”
Top safety tips to teach children include the following:
- Check first with parents or guardians before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
- Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
- Always tell a trusted adult if anything makes them feel sad, scared or confused.
- Know their telephone number and address, as well as alternate contact information, such as parent names, mobile and work phone numbers and details for other trusted adults.
- Have a list of homes they may visit when you are not there, as well as where they may and may not go in the neighborhood.
- Do not open the door unless they are instructed by a trusted adult.
- Never tell anyone they are home alone; this would include sharing this information on social media
Additional safety tips for parents to keep in mind are:
- Know your child’s habits, including their friends and online activity; check in with them often and ask them to check in with you.
- Check references with babysitters and child care providers and also check the national sex offender registry at www.nsopw.gov.
- Ask camps and summer programs if they complete background screenings on individuals working with children.
- Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer, cell phone and tablet use.
- Remind children to be careful online and not reveal personal information about themselves through photos, videos or messages.
- If you suspect that your child is a victim of sexual exploitation, including someone talking to your child about sex or sharing and asking them to share sexual images, make a report to NCMEC at www.CyberTipline.com or 1-800-THE-LOST© (1-800-843-5678).
“Through our joint effort with NCMEC and the U.S. Postal Service, we are dedicated to locating missing children and raising public awareness on the issue of missing and exploited children,” said Victor Nichols, CEO of Valassis. “We also hope that through regular education and awareness, we can help prevent future abductions and exploitation – and therefore urge parents to review safety precautions with their families this summer.”
In a joint effort with NCMEC and the U.S. Postal Service, Valassis’ “Have You Seen Me?” photo program reaches millions of households weekly in print and online with images of missing children. The program has delivered hope to missing children and their families since 1985 and to date, 158 children have been recovered as a direct result. Additionally, the “Have You Seen Me?” app for iPhone® makes it even easier to view photos of missing children. For more information about this and other programs dedicated to the safety of our nation's children, visit NCMEC at: missingkids.org. If you know the whereabouts of a missing child, call NCMEC’s 24-hour hotline at: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Valassis is a leader in intelligent media delivery, providing over 58,000 clients with innovative media solutions to influence consumers wherever they plan, shop, buy and share. By integrating online and offline data combined with powerful insights, Valassis precisely targets its clients’ most valuable shoppers, offering unparalleled reach and scale. NCH Marketing Services, Inc. and Clipper Magazine are Valassis subsidiaries, and RedPlum® is its consumer brand. Its signature Have You Seen Me?® program delivers hope to missing children and their families. Valassis is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harland Clarke Holdings Corp.
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the leading 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization working with law enforcement, families and the professionals who serve them on issues relating to missing and sexually exploited children. Established in 1984 and authorized by Congress to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on these issues, NCMEC operates a hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), and has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 218,000 children. NCMEC also operates the CyberTipline, a mechanism for reporting child pornography, child sex trafficking and other forms of child sexual exploitation. Since it was created in 1998, more than 10 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation have been received, and more than 158 million suspected child pornography images have been reviewed. NCMEC works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, visit www.missingkids.org. Follow NCMEC on Twitter and like NCMEC on Facebook.
July 15, 2016
Stay safer while you “Catch ‘em All”
Today on ABC’s “Good Morning America” we announced an exciting new partnership with Pokémon Company International. This collaboration, which has been in the works for some time, is being announced just in time for the phenomenon known as Pokémon GO, which in just a few weeks has grown to be the most popular mobile game in U.S. history.
“The Pokémon Company International has long respected the work of NCMEC and the guidance they have provided to parents and kids to help keep kids safer on and offline,” said Don McGowan, Pokémon’s general counsel. “With the arrival of Pokémon GO we look forward to working with the center to provide safety and other guidance for parents as they play Pokémon GO separately or together.“
NCMEC will be working with Pokémon to enhance child safety strategy across all of its platforms, including Pokémon Tournaments and their online forums. We applaud Pokémon for taking a proactive approach to children’s safety.
We believe that Pokémon GO is an excellent way for parents to start what can be a scary conversation about real world safety in a fun and engaging way. NCMEC’s Callahan Walsh, who appeared on “Good Morning America” this morning said, “We want parents to use this as a teachable moment. The rules that apply to keeping kids safe whether they’re walking to or from school or at the bus stop, are the same rules that help keep them safer while playing Pokémon GO.”
We encourage parents to educate themselves about the game and the built-in safety features. You can also find tips and information to help your children make safety a priority by visiting www.netsmartz.org or www.missingkids.org. Follow NCMEC on Twitter and like NCMEC on Facebook.
If you would like to schedule an interview with a spokesperson from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, please email email@example.com.
May 25, 2016
Daughters for Sale: a two-part series from NIGHTLINE, focusing on child sex trafficking and Backpage
WATCH: How Young Girls are being Sold For Sex (Part 1) .
WATCH: Daughters for Sale – Confronting Backpage (Part 2) – featuring an interview with NCMEC’s general counsel, Yiota Souras.
April 15, 2016
NCMEC ALERT: Kylee Taylor & Matthew Bateman
Kylee Taylor, 14, and Matthew Bateman, 14, are #missing from Bethesda, Ohio. They were last seen on April 11, 2016.
The children may be driving a 2008 Ford Expedition with Ohio plates: FJS 6916. Investigators believe the pair may be anywhere from Ohio to Texas. If you've seen Kylee or Matthew call 911 or 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)
See the poster here.
April 14, 2016
Behind-The-Scenes: Sextortion PSA
Watch this exclusive behind-the-scenes video of an upcoming series of PSAs on sextortion made in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, where you’ll see how a teen was blackmailed into sending more and more explicit images and video to someone online who she thought she knew.
March 24, 2016
OUR STORY: Daniel Markus
WATCH one father's hearfelt message for his #missing son: "I'll never stop looking for you." Help bring home 3-year-old Daniel Markus. Daniel was allegedly abducted from #Pennsylvania by his mother, Maria Cabrera-Gutierrez on November 13, 2014. A federal warrant for Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution was issued for Maria on November 24, 2014. They may be in the #SanAntonio, #Texas area and may be staying in shelters.
Anyone with information about the wherabouts of Daniel, please call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
See the poster here.
March 23, 2016
NCMEC ALERT: Gracie Toelle
One week ago Gracie Toelle, 14, left her home to take her dog for a walk and never returned. She #dissappeared from the #NorthPlatte, #Nebraska area on March 16, 2016. She may be with her small Yorkie dog. Gracie is 5-foot-6, 200 pounds and has blonde hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information about the wherabouts of Gracie should contact the Platte Police Department at 1-308-535-6789 or 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
See the poster here.
February 20, 2016
Recovered: Sage and Isaac Cook
We're so happy to tell you about the SAFE #recovery of Sage and Isaac Cook, missing for over five months. The family has a special message of #Hope to share with other families who are still #searching: "Keep fighting. Miracles can happen."
January 22, 2016
Our Story: Stevie Bates
WATCH Our Story: the heart-wrenching plea from the family of Stevie Bates to help bring her home
Stevie was last seen in New York, New York at a bus stop at Port Authority on April 27, 2012. She was 19 years old at the time of her disappearance. She may still be in the local area or she may travel to California. When Stevie was last seen, her hair was dyed blonde.
Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or the Yonkers Police Department (New York) 1-914-377-7900.
See the poster here.
January 5, 2016
Our Story: Ivan Aguilar
January 5th is Ivan Aguilar's 17th birthday. Today, Ivan’s family is pleading with the public for any information that could help bring Ivan home.
On May 9, 2014, Ivan Aguilar disappeared without a trace from the Tallahassee, Florida area. He has not been seen or heard from since.
Anyone with information concerning Ivan’s current whereabouts is urged to call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or The Leon County Sheriff’s Office (850-606-3300).
Download the video here.
December 22, 2015
Our Story: Teresa "Bunny" Fittin
For the past 40 years, Jocelia Travisano’s #Christmas wish has been to find her missing daughter, Teresa “Bunny” Fittin, who went missing in the summer of 1975 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Download the video here.
December 15, 2015
New tip can help close nearly 40 year old case
December 7, 2015
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Announces Former U.S. Marshals’ Director John F. Clark as New President and CEO
ALEXANDRIA, VA, Dec. 7, 2015 – John F. Clark, former director of the United States Marshals Service and longtime child advocate, has been appointed the new president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
After an extensive nationwide search, NCMEC’s Board of Directors unanimously chose Clark to lead the nonprofit organization, which was designated by Congress in 1984 to work in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice on issues related to missing and exploited children. He’s taking the helm of the Alexandria-based organization today.
“We’re delighted that John Clark has agreed to take over as our leader,” said Patty Wetterling, chair of NCMEC’s board. “John has been a loyal supporter of NCMEC for many years and carries our mission in his heart.”
Clark, whose career with the USMS spanned 28 years, was appointed in 2006 as its ninth director by then-President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. In 2011, Clark joined Lockheed Martin Corp. as its director of security, where he managed a $24 million budget and led a workforce of 250 professionals for the nation’s largest defense contractor.
As director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Clark oversaw the daily operation of 94 district offices, 218 sub-offices, three foreign field offices and seven regional fugitive task force offices. He managed a $2.5 billion budget and led a diversified workforce of 5,500 employees.
Clark implemented and administered Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act, which directed the USMS to locate and apprehend fugitive sex offenders. He also oversaw the implementation and operation of the National Sex Offender Targeting Center. He forged strong relationships with law enforcement leaders at the federal, state and local levels and served on many boards, including NCMEC’s.
“John Clark’s credibility and hands-on experience is outstanding,” said John and Revé Walsh, co-founders of NCMEC. “His fight to protect children is well known. It’s a perfect match.”
Among the many awards Clark has received is the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Federal Bar Association in recognition of superior service in protecting members of the judicial branch. The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association honored him as “Federal Law Enforcement Director of the Year” for his superior leadership of the USMS.
Before joining the USMS, Clark worked for the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Border Patrol. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree from Syracuse University.
November 17, 2015
New Science Might Close 30 Year Old NH Mystery
New scientific data is being released on a 30 year old mystery. In 1985 unidentified female bodies were found in a barrel in Allenstown, New Hampshire. We now have new information that we hope can help solve this crime and give the victims their names back.
November 5, 2015
Help ID Florida Doe
Today, investigators are asking for your help to solve a decades-old mystery and give an unidentified boy back his name.
On November 6th, 1987, a teenager, driving a black ’86 Corvette, stole a tank full of gas from a Texaco station in Brooksville, Florida.
Turns out, the car he was driving was not his….it was stolen from a car dealership in Clearwater, Florida. A BOLO was issued and the young driver was quickly pursued by police. He sped up, hitting speeds in excess of 120 mph. But this high-speed chase had a tragic end.
October 29, 2015
Person of Interest Named
Our thoughts are with Patty, Jerry and the entire Wetterling family today. For 26 years, they’ve agonized over what happened to their Jacob. We hope that answers will come to them soon.
Like the Wetterlings, many families suffer each day not knowing what happened to their missing child. NCMEC is grateful to the entire law enforcement community, especially the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for their unwavering commitment to continue searching for missing children, regardless of how long a child has been gone.
“Patty Wetterling has been a long-time friend and supporter of the National Center, and we have never given up hope that one day we would find out what happened to her son, Jacob,” said Linda Krieg, NCMEC acting CEO. “Today, we hope we are one step closer. At NCMEC, we never stop searching for missing children and thank those who continue the tireless search for Jacob even after all these years.”
This is an ongoing law enforcement investigation. As we’ve done for 31 years, NCMEC continues to support families and law enforcement in their search for missing children.
October 28, 2015
Help ID Philadelphia Doe
For 20 years, investigators have been searching for the identity of a teenage boy, found shot to death in Philadelphia’s Fairmount park. On the morning of October 27th, 1995, a jogger discovered the boy’s remains not far from the city’s Mann Music Center.
October 22, 2015
Help Find Shyanna Flippo
Help bring Shyanna Flippo home today! Shyanna Flippo went missing from Hampton, Virginia on October 4, 2015 -- just three days before her 15th birthday. She was last seen getting into a green SUV driven by an adult male - she may still be in Virginia or may have traveled to North Carolina or Michigan. To see Shyanna's poster, click here.
October 15, 2015
HELP SOLVE FL UNIDENTIFIED CASES
Artists from across the country are in Tampa this week, working at the University of South Florida Forensic Anthropology Laboratory creating facial reconstructions of unidentified victims found across the state. Forensic Artists, Joe Mullins and Colin McNally, from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children will be joining the group of talented artists.To view more unidentified children found in the state of Florida, visit the Florida photo album on ourHelp ID Me Facebook page or search for children missing from across the country here.
October 13, 2015
OPERATION CROSS COUNTRY
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children provides support for the FBI in nationwide law enforcement sting called Operation Cross Country Nine.
In just one week, 149 children were recovered.
October 8, 2015
HELP ID ME!
For 35 years, law enforcement has tried to give this young girl who was found murdered a name. Tonight, a new composite sketch may be the clue you need to help ID Jane Arroyo Grande Doe.
September 18, 2015
BABY DOE IDENTIFIED!
IDENTIFIED! Bella Bond is the little girl’s name who was found on the shores of Deer Island in Massachusetts almost three months ago. Bella was 2 years old, just months from her third birthday. Massachusetts authorities have made two arrests in the case.
NCMEC applauds the Massachusetts State Police on their dedication and tenacity in this investigation. They never gave up #hope.
Bella Bond can now be remembered by her given name and is no longer unidentified.
September 10, 2015
KIDSMARTZ™ MAKES BACK TO SCHOOL SAFER FOR KIDSWith more than 50 million kids heading back to school this fall, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and Honeywell are urging parents, guardians and educators to start conversations about safety now. The KidSmartz™ program, which released new animated videos today, will make those conversations easier.