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Archive for September, 2006

Several states are now offering Child ID kits, free to students in grades k-6, to assist Law Enforcement in the event they go missing. The kits will allow parents to take fingerprints, DNA samples and photos of each children. The initial cost projections for Florida and Texas is about $4 million for the kits but does not include the cost of administering them.

 

 

Before you jump to the conclusion this is about the cost to “protect” our children, it isn’t. Law Enforcement believes it will prove beneficial by allowing detectives to save time collecting information about the missing child. It can also be used should they need to issue an Amber Alert.

 

 

The reality is the need for the program is based on the number of children in America abducted by strangers each year, or by family members.

 

According to the NISMART-2 study, there are approximately 58,200 non family abductions annually. The study indicates 77% of all reported missing children are between the ages of 12-17 years-old, typically outside the k-6 range. Not every state publishes actual statistics so it may be difficult to determine how severe the problem is in your state.

 

One statistic the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children does publish is that there were 275 Amber Alerts issued nationwide last year. There were 118 Amber Alerts issued in California alone.

Officials in Texas are distributing 2 million Child ID to students in grades K-6 at a cost of $1.8 million.

 

In Florida they will distribute  2.6 million kits at a cost of roughly $2 million.

 

 

There is no question every parent should keep updated descriptions and photo’s of their children to assist in the recovery effort, should they be needed. It is important to note it will not guarantee an Amber Alert will be issued.

 

In the recent cases of Trenton Duckett, the missing 2 year-old in Florida, and Casey Crowder, the murdered 17 year-old in Arkansas, neither family would have received these kits.

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As recently as July of this year, one of the supporters of HR 4472 was pushing legislation to protect children from sex offenders and predators. Who is protecting children from our legislators? Of course he is innocent unless proven otherwise but it does make you stop to think.

 

“…Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL), Co-chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus, applauded Senate passage of legislation he authored and introduced overhauling our nation’s sex offender registration and notification laws….”“For too long our nation has tracked library books better than it has sex offenders.  That day is coming to an end,” said Mark Foley.  “Senator Hatch and Leader Frist have been resolute in keeping this legislation on track.  We are closing loopholes that sex offenders and pedophiles have used to prey on children.”

It is being reported, Representative Mark Foley, a Florida Republican representing the 16th District in Florida, submitted a resignation letter to the speaker of the House today. He allegedly sent, in August of 2005, e-mails and instant messages making reference to sexual organs and acts to a former male page 16 years-old.

Congressman Foley denies there was anything inappropriate in the e-mails. Articles such as this USA today story suggest otherwise.

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It has been reported on KATV news, Kenneth Osburn has been arrested as a suspect in the Casey Crowder murder. Casey was the 17 year-old who went missing after running out of gas on an Arkansas highway.

 

Read more about Casey’s disappearance.

 

Update 03-21-07    Time to prepare or posturing?

 

10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen said he did not object to the defense motion to allow more time to prepare for the hearing and trial. The trial, originally set for May, has been continued until Sept. 21-22 and Sept. 24-27. Osburn’s attorney Jim Wyatt of Little Rock  has filed dozens of motions in the case, including a motion to declare the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment, a motion to quash the charges, a motion to suppress statements Osburn allegedly made to law enforcement officers, and the motions for continuance.

Update 09-19-07   Trial date moved for Kenneth Osburn until January 10, 2008.

 

Update 01-07-08      Pine Bluff Commercial

 

 Jury selection will begin Jan. 10 and the trial is set to begin Jan. 14 in Crossett in Ashley County.

Update 01-21-08    Guilty as charged

HAMBURG — Kenneth Ray Osburn, 48, was convicted Friday of the capital murder and kidnapping of Pine Bluff teenager Casey Crowder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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Listening to Marc Klaas, on Nancy Grace’s show he cautioned Josh Duckett, “ the burden of locating and recovering Trenton will rest squarely and solely on Josh`s shoulders”. Nancy’s advice was to TV Guide.

 

Nancy opened this segment admonishing TV Guide. In the chase for ratings, how long will she continue to carry this story?

 

“…Nancy Grace: Welcome back, everyone. The search for 2-year-old Trenton Duckett goes on. We are live in Florida with the very latest. And here in our studios, Trenton`s father, Josh Duckett, is joining us. But first of all, to “TV Guide” tonight. “TV Guide” has attacked our show for airing the Melinda Duckett interview when she had committed suicide that afternoon.

But, oh, what a field day you would have, “TV Guide,” if we had interviewed Melinda Duckett, caught her in those lies and vagaries, and then not aired the interview, hidden the interview, suppressed the truth. But to you, “TV Guide,” on this show, we don`t hide the truth.  And unlike you, “TV Guide,” Trenton Duckett is not just a story to us. Trenton Duckett is a little boy that we want to help bring home alive. The ink you wasted could have been used to publicize the 800 number to find this boy…”

What about the wasted air time?

 

 

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The Florida Department of Children & Families, DCF, is currently under fire for it’s handling of the Melinda and Joshua Duckett case. People question whether their response was timely enough to complaints. Some even question the decisions made concerning Trenton Duckett and what was in his best interest.

Similar concerns arose in 2002 when authorities discovered 6-year-old Rilya Wilson of Miami was missing for 15 months before her disappearance was noticed. 

In 1994 with a budget of $200 million, DCF began development of HomeSafenet. State workers started using the system in 2000, but it was plagued with problems.

According to this article (note: link removed from their site) the system continues to need improvements.

HomeSafenet has cost an estimated $180 million to date, said DCF spokesman Al Zimmerman. Additional work to upgrade the system, renamed Florida Safe Families Network, began in July and will cost $50 million before its completion in January 2008, he said.

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beer,pings,grace

 

Theories abound concerning the movements of Melinda Duckett and the disappearance of her son Trenton.  Amateur cyber sleuths are discussing her MySpace account containing stories of her beer pong drinking games. Many question if the game some how had a hand in Trenton going missing. Others are analyzing cell phone pings attempting to map her travels on August 26th and 27th.

 

 

While the story has captivated many, the mainstream media seems more intent on increasing ratings by rehashing old details of the case, or Nancy Grace’s “interview” of Melinda.Recent USA Today articles focused exclusively on the race for increased ratings.

 

Nancy Grace

 

Goal: “What I hope to do is give a voice to people who do not have a voice, middle America — and not the Ivy League elite — people who are in and out of our criminal justice system, the majority of them every single day as witnesses, jurors, victims and sometimes defendants.”

 

 

Could that explain why some cases remain unsolved with little or no national coverage?

 

There are over thirty five children under the age of three listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s site. Maybe an hour covering them would be beneficial for all. Of course it might not increase ratings.

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Police have released some additional suicide notes “addressed” to Melinda Duckett’s parents and grandparents. There was no mention of Trenton’s whereabouts disclosed to the public. There was a mention of something located under the ash tray of her car for “Nanny & Poppy”.

Suicide note PDF  

Update: Should you have an interest in Melinda’s suicide you may want to read this article which contains a description of the scene and her autopsy report.

“…The revelation that two shots were fired on the day Melinda Duckett died has been confirmed. Although Bill had to repair the roof eave due to gunshot damage, it was not until he received a copy of the search warrant itemizing confiscated items that he learned two shots had been fired…”

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