When a child goes missing there is at times a love/hate relationship with the media. Some seek it at all cost while others attempt to avoid any delving by the press into their personal lives. While some argue the race, gender or age may dictate the amount of coverage, it appears the cirmcumstances surrounding the child’s disappearance and the actions of family members can play a significant role.
In May of 2007, Madeleine McCann’s disappearance demonstrated new levels of interest through an on-line web campaign and pleas from celebrities. The site findmadeleine garnered millions of hits and millions of dollars were raised in efforts to find her. In the end however, she remains missing.
London-Gerry McCann, whose daughter Madeleine’s 2007 disappearance from a Portuguese resort sparked an international manhunt, told lawmakers that the mass-media coverage of the search for his child degenerated into a voyeuristic “Kate and Gerry show.”
“Our family have been the focus of some of the most sensationalist, untruthful, irresponsible and damaging reporting in the history of the press,” he told a panel of lawmakers investigating media standards, privacy and libel.
Similar complaints have been voiced by the father of Haleigh Cummings who has been missing for over a month from Satsuma, Fl.
Fox News- The father of missing Florida girl Haleigh Cummings claimed he doesn’t want the media to focus on his personal life — a day after getting married and flying to New York to appear on national TV.
Ronald Cummings, 25, and his new bride, 17-year-old Misty Croslin, appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” Friday morning. They got married Thursday in Putnam County, Fla. then flew to New York.
Cummings said he didn’t know what his personal life had to do with national television, and stressed that the media needs to get his daughter’s face out there.
Another family which may be unhappy with press coverage, for different reasons, are the adopted parents of missing Jaliek Rainwalker, Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald. The adoptive father, Stephen Kerr was named a “person of interest“ in his disappearance .
In the case of murdered Caylee Anthony, her grandparents have often been at odds with the media. They have been the subject of countless stories with their every move covered since she first was reported missing. At times they seemed to try to avoid being in the spotlight only to generating more interest in possible motives concerning their actions. The mother of murdered Caylee continues to generate interest from many as she awaits trial for her alleged involvement.
Orlando Senteniel-In the pre-Anthony days, jail spokesman Allen Moore said, he typically would log 80 to 120 contacts with news reporters per month. In July — when Caylee was reported missing and Anthony first jailed — Moore logged 357 media contacts.
By August, the volume of media contacts grew so large that Moore estimates it at 463 for the month.
“In the 12 1/2 years I have worked as P.I.O. [public information officer] for Orange County Corrections, no case has generated this much media activity for such a long period of time,” he said.
Those not expressing concerns with the media are the families of these missing children.
Joanna Delcarmen Cano Pedraza, (15) and Angel were last seen on March 4, 2009. They may be in the company of Rodrigo Villegas (19). A felony warrant is on file for Rodrigo. They may travel to Mexico. Joanna’s ears are pierced. CAUTION MAY BE ARMED AND DANGEROUS.