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CrimeCon 2024: A Celebration of "NCMEC 40"


Read Part 1 of this blog, “John Walsh is Crimefighter of the Year,” here.

NCMEC celebrated its 40th anniversary this past weekend at CrimeCon in Nashville, Tennessee, where we got a unique opportunity to showcase the work we do. CrimeCon brings together enthusiasts, investigators and passionate advocates dedicated to all things true crime and mystery.

In addition, NCMEC co-founder and host of “America’s Most Wanted,” John Walsh, was honored with the “Crimefighter of the Year” award, and NCMEC’s U.S. Marshals Service liaison, Laura Tierney, was named Detective of the Year at CrimeCon’s CLUE Awards.

CrimeCon also celebrated the National Center’s 40th anniversary by selecting NCMEC as this year’s fundraising beneficiary. In addition to a special VIP fundraiser, attendees were encouraged throughout the weekend to support NCMEC’s mission.

John Walsh was a featured speaker at the event. His session, “John Walsh: From Father to Crimefighter,” was moderated by NCMEC’s director of communications, Angeline Hartmann. John spoke on his personal experiences following the abduction and murder of his 6-year-old son, Adam, in 1981 and how he and his wife, Revé, turned tragedy into a tireless fight for change by helping to create NCMEC. He also spoke about his experiences becoming a television host.

left, woman with dark hair and black top talks to man in leather jacket with white/gray hair; right john walsh (wearing leather jacket, with white/gray hair) hugs person in pink tee shirt

Left: Angeline Hartmann and John Walsh during the “John Walsh: From Father to Crimefighter” session. Credit: CrimeCon; Right: CrimeCon guest and John Walsh at a meet and greet. Credit: CrimeCon.

In a separate session, which also included Angeline, attendees learned about the key role NCMEC is playing in the fight against sextortion. The panel, which was moderated by Chris Hansen, featured the families of two young men who tragically took their lives after becoming victims of sextortion. Tamia and Timothy Woods spoke about their 17-year-old son, James, and Brandon Guffey discussed the experiences of his son, Gavin. Despite their losses, both families now advocate for the cause to ensure no other family has the same experience. 

five people sit in a line in chairs on a stage

Photo from the panel “Sextortion: The Hidden Epidemic You Need to Know About.” Credit: © Linda Lou McCall, 2024.

In addition to speaking on child exploitation, Angeline also moderated a session to discuss the work NCMEC is doing for missing and unidentified children. The “Forensic Art and Science” session included NCMEC forensic artist, Joe Mullins, and the family of missing child Tabitha Tuders – her sister, Jamie Pulley, and mother, Debra Tuders.

a man stands with three women, all in a line and smiling

“Forensic Art and Science” session participants from left: Joe Mullins, Jamie Pulley, Debra Tuders and Angeline Hartmann. Credit: Christine Barndt.

Tabitha was last seen in the early morning of April 29, 2003, at her home in Nashville. She left her home to board the school bus and was never seen again. Today, Tabitha is 34 years old. A brand new age progression image of Tabitha was released for the first time at CrimeCon. Her family discussed what it was like to see Tabitha grow up in pictures and their hope that they’ll finally get answers. 

age progression of a white woman with shoulder length blonde hair in her 30s

Tabitha Tuders, age progressed to 34. Credit: NCMEC.

Read more about Tabitha’s story in our newly released blog.

Aside from hearing from NCMEC staff in the sessions, attendees could get an up-close look at the work we do by stopping at NCMEC’s booth throughout the weekend. They could meet Joe to learn about facial reconstruction techniques utilized at NCMEC and watch him create a clay facial reconstruction sculpture live. 

Timelapse of facial reconstruction. Credit: NCMEC.

NCMEC forensic artist Christi Andrews was also at the booth, creating age-progression images of our long-term missing children. 

woman sits at a table demonstrating age progression technology

Christi Andrews working on age progression image. Credit: Christine Barndt.

CrimeCon 2024 underscored the vital work being done to combat crimes against children and support victims and their families, not only here at NCMEC, but by many organizations and people across the U.S. While CrimeCon may just be one weekend a year, here at NCMEC, we are working every day to ensure that every child has a safe childhood. 

To learn more about NCMEC’s forensic resources, visit here:

Watch the video below to learn more and join us in celebrating NCMEC's 40th anniversary.