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No child should suffer the traumatic realities of going missing or being exploited. While many still do, at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) we are committed to recovering and protecting every child while working to prevent future harm. For 40 years, our organization has stood as a beacon of hope, dedicated to safeguarding the security and well-being of society's most vulnerable members: our children. With unwavering commitment and advocacy, NCMEC serves as a guardian, a lifeline and a force for change.


In 2023, NCMEC assisted law enforcement, families and child welfare with 28,886 cases of missing children.  

In the last 40 years, we've received more than 5 million calls with more than 426,000 missing children recovered.


In 2023, NCMEC CyberTipline received 36.2 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation online.  

Reports of online enticement increased by more than 300% between 2021 and 2023.


In 2023, NCMEC provided 42,761 instances of training to child-serving professionals to enhance their ability to prevent or respond to cases of missing or exploited children.

In 2023, total social media followers for NCMEC (@NCMEC) grew to more than 3 million users.

Every child deserves a safe childhood.

At NCMEC, hope drives us and fuels our promise to never stop. The threats facing our kids are constantly evolving, and we work hard every day to identify those threats to better protect children. While the way we do our work continues to evolve, our commitment to children will never falter.

Every child deserves a safe childhood
Success Stories
Majesty Williams Found Safe

Majesty Williams was four years old when she was abducted from her father's Atlanta-area home by her non-custodial mother, Andrea McCord. Police obtained a felony warrant for McCord's arrest but with the possibility that Majesty could be anywhere, NCMEC wanted to elevate the case to a national level. In partnership with the REELZ television show “On Patrol: Live,” NCMEC featured Majesty's case on March 11, 2023. Through collaborative efforts by the Smyrna Police Department, NCMEC and the U.S. Marshals Service, Majesty was found in in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and was reunited with her father on July 16, 2023.

Majesty Williams Found Safe
Couple Captured, Five Children Found Safe

In February 2023, the remains of 7-year-old Edgar Casian-Garcia were discovered by hikers in Washington state, indicating that the boy had been tortured before his death. Soon after, his father and stepmother were placed on the U.S. Marshals Service's 15 Most Wanted list. In March 2023, with support from NCMEC in the search, five additional missing and endangered children who were being held by the couple were found and rescued by the Marshals Service and returned to the U.S. from Mexico. The fugitive couple was brought into custody.

Hanna Lee and Skye Rex Found Safe

Missing sisters Hanna Lee and Skye Rex were only seven and five years old when they were abducted by their non-custodial mother at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. After more than two years of working closely with their father on the case, in September 2022, forensic artists at NCMEC created new images of what the girls could look like age-progressed and released these images on the television show “On Patrol: Live.” Soon after, in April 2023, the girls' mother turned herself into police in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and the girls were reunited with their father.

Trafficker Convicted, Eight Missing Children Recovered

In September 2019, NCMEC research found an online escort ad that appeared to feature a 13-year-old child reported missing from California. Two months later when a 15-year-old child was reported missing, also from California, NCMEC uncovered ads showing the two children being trafficked together. Over the next year, NCMEC research linked six additional missing children to the same trafficking ring. The analyst working the case discovered a partial name for the suspected trafficker who was moving the eight children around California and Nevada. Acting on the information from NCMEC, law enforcement located the missing children and arrested the trafficker, who was convicted of child sex trafficking and possession of child sexual abuse material and sentenced to life in prison.

Kenyatta Odom Gets Her Name Back

In December 1988, skeletal remains of an approximately four-year-old girl were found wrapped in a blanket and concealed inside a cabinet under a bridge in Waycross, Georgia. Local law enforcement worked for years to identify who she was and who was responsible for her death. In 2012, NCMEC's Team Adam helped create a facial reconstruction and featured the image on NCMEC's Help ID Me page. Finally, in January 2023, a member of the public who saw the facial reconstruction said they believed the child was named Kenyatta Odom. When DNA proved this tip correct, Kenyatta's mother and her former boyfriend were indicted on multiple charges, including murder and cruelty to children in the first degree.

Kenyatta Odom Gets Her Name Back
CyberTipline Report Leads to Arrest

When NCMEC's Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP) came across a particularly disturbing image – CSAM involving a baby and an adult male – NCMEC moved rapidly to track the username sharing the imagery. Working with NCMEC, law enforcement uncovered that the Houston-based suspect was selling the pictures online. Coordinating with NCMEC and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and within 48 hours of NCMEC's first screening of the image, law enforcement safely rescued the infant from his 21-year-old relative in Houston, who was charged with super-aggravated sexual assault of a child and taken into custody.

"Babies are the most vulnerable victims we see. We all react strongly when we see these defenseless victims being abused by those who should be protecting them, and thanks to [our CVIP analysts] and law enforcement agencies who sprang into action over the two-day period, this baby will now be in safe hands." Jennifer Newman, executive director of the Exploited Children Division and NCMEC's Texas office

Recovering Missing Children

A light hangs in NCMEC's offices next to the words, "Our Light Stays on Until All Missing Children Come Home." The light is a symbol of our commitment to never give up on a missing child and that idea drives our work with families, law enforcement and child welfare professionals to bring missing children home. We provide immediate support to families, share alerts to mobilize a vast network of community support, assist law enforcement on critical cases, work to prevent abduction through education and use advances in technology to help solve long-standing cases. We never give up searching for every child.

Who, Where & Why: Data on Missing Children in 2023

Missing children are reported to us by parents, guardians, child welfare professionals or law enforcement. With the exception of children missing from care, there is no mandatory reporting of missing children to NCMEC. Here, we provide the 2023 data on reported cases of missing children shown by case type; by the child's age, race and ethnicity; and state. The number of cases of children reported missing from care is also listed.

Cases by Type

Table: Missing Children Reported to NCMEC between 1/1/2023 and 12/31/2023 by Case Type and Case Status

Annual Total 28886
3580 Active
25306 Resolved
In 2023, NCMEC assisted law enforcement, families and child welfare with 28,886 cases of missing children.

*The data in this section includes all missing cases reported to us, including missing young adults (age 18-20).


Children who run away make up the majority of the missing child cases reported to NCMEC. These children are highly vulnerable and face risks including homelessness, gang involvement and child sex trafficking. Family abductions, the second most common case type, have been shown through decades of research to have serious and harmful effects on child victims and their families.

Overall Recovery of NCMEC cases
88% in 2023
Missing Children by Age & Race/Ethnicity
Figure: Missing Children Intaked at NCMEC Between 1/1/2023 and 12/31/2023 Organized by Child's Age Group and Race/Ethnicity
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Filter by Age Group
Filter by Age Group
Total: children
Missing Children by State
Figure: Missing Children Reported to NCMEC between 1/1/2023 and 12/31/2023 by State/U.S. Territory and Case Status
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Missing State
Case Studies
Grand Total 0 0 0
In 2023, NCMEC assisted with 22442 cases of children missing from care. 89% of these cases were resolved.
children missing from care

There are many reasons why children run away. Running behavior is often connected to a trauma response or an unmet need in a child's life. For example, a child may run if they are placed in a home or community where their identity, culture or religion is not understood or accepted or where they feel emotionally or physically unsafe. Children may also leave care in an effort to connect with non-custodial family members or friends, out of a desire to take back control of their lives or as a result of being lured by traffickers or gangs who falsely promise safety, family, love and belonging.


of the children who ran from the care of child welfare and were reported missing to NCMEC in 2023 were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

NCMEC Resources: Leaving A Light On for Every Child

During the last 40 years, our national toll-free hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST®, has received more than 5 million calls. We've circulated billions of photos of missing children. We've assisted law enforcement, families and child welfare with more than 426,000 cases of missing children who have been recovered. We continue to look for opportunities to innovate how we search for missing children.

In 2023, for example, NCMEC debuted its newest way to search for missing children: through a QR code. The QR code allows people to search for missing children within a 50-mile radius of their location, right from their smartphones.

Scan Me
Immediate Support to Families

NCMEC's call center specialists are trained to help families navigate some of the worst moments of their lives. Our specialists are available 24/7 to support families of missing and exploited children. After a missing child case is reported to NCMEC, a case manager is assigned to serve as the primary point of contact for the parents or guardians. Case managers also work closely with NCMEC analysts who use donated technology and public records to support law enforcement efforts to recovery missing children, identify victims of child sex trafficking and locate noncompliant sex offenders.