Archive for September, 2008

On the Dr. Phil show, Ernie Allen, president and founder of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, quoted statistics about the number of missing children found after Hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast several years ago when responding to this question.

Dr. Phil:

“Common sense, just common experience, tells me that blonde-haired, blue-eyed, gorgeous little children get a lot more exposure and attention locally and nationally than do those from lower socio-economic strata and those from minorities,” Dr. Phil points out. “Set me straight, Ernie.” … “Can you name one of these cases, in the last four or five years, that was a minority case that got the media attention?” Dr. Phil probes.

Ernie Allen:

“A little girl in Philadelphia in 2002 — a 7-year-old named Erica Pratt, who was abducted for ransom and escaped — received intense media coverage. Probably the most dramatic example was, of course, the children who were missing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” Ernie responds. “We helped find 5,200 kids. So the media works. The challenge is, there are just not enough kids being focused on.”

What he didn’t mention was:

  • Any case in the last four or five years
  • The involvement of the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA)
  • The number of children still missing after Hurricane Ike this year.

According to KTRK-TV ABC13 in Houston, Tx:

FRIENDSWOOD, TX — There are still dozens of families waiting for word on loved ones still missing from Hurricane Ike. A number of the missing are children.

The Laura Recovery Center has pictures posted on its Web site. More than 360 cases are unresolved, 25 are children, and even today they received more calls from family members trying to locate loved ones.


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There are 2,741 posters of missing children listed at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The posters typically include a photo accompanied by descriptive information and the circumstances surrounding the child’s disappearance. No sensitive information is posted such as social security numbers, address or medical information. So why would they be opposed to any on-line registry which would contain the same information but be used as a proactive measure should the child go missing?

A quick visit to their site under FAQ: Child ID you will find this statement.

Should the information be stored in a central database?
No. Some child ID systems use online registration features. Only parents and guardians should store and have access to these items and/or test results of their child(ren). NCMEC does not support storage of these items or test results for the purpose of providing child identification by law enforcement, government, schools, or any commercial company or third party, either for profit or not-for-profit.

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Troy Roberts’ interview with Shawn Hornbeck, the boy who was kidnapped in 2002 and held captive for four and a half years.

Watch CBS Videos Online

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Ironically, in an article from WFtv, police have indicated Casey Anthony was searching missing children websites prior to Caylee’s disappearance.

Investigators released images found on Casey Anthony’s computer they called “graphics of interest” in the case of her missing toddler. An anti-death penalty image, showing a little girl that even looks a bit like Caylee, has a caption that reads: “Why do people kill people, who kill people, to show people that to kill people is bad?”

(Read computer forensics report)

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48 Hours Mystery Season Premiere
Kidnapped: Shawn Hornbeck shares his incredible story of survival for the first time. Troy Roberts reports, Saturday, Sept. 27, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.


Video preview


UNION, Mo. — A former pizza parlor manager was sentenced to life in prison Monday for kidnapping one of two boys authorities said he held captive and sexually abused in his apartment.

Michael Devlin, 41, pleaded guilty to one charge of child kidnapping and one charge of armed-criminal action in the January abduction of 13-year-old William “Ben” Ownby as the boy walked home alone from his school bus stop.

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H.R. 4137: College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2008


Amends and extends the Higher Education Act of 1965, requiring institutions of higher education (IHE) to provide information related to missing students.


Section 488 –


Adds to the institutional information IHEs must provide information on:


 (1) policies and sanctions related to copyright infringement;


 (2) institutional policies regarding meningoccal vaccinations;


(3) plans for coordination with state and local law enforcement agencies in investigating specified felonies and missing student reports;


 (4) additional categories of hate crimes occurring on or off campus;


(5) immediate emergency response and evacuation procedures;


(6) transfer of credit policies;


(7) fire safety practices and standards; and


 (8) penalties for student drug violations.


Sets forth requirements regarding such emergency response and evacuation procedures, including the requirement that such procedures be tested on an annual basis.


Requires IHEs to:


 (1) include on registration or enrollment forms an item allowing students to identify an individual they wish the school to contact if the student is reported missing;


 (2) establish protocols requiring that missing person reports regarding students be referred to the school’s police or campus security department; and


 (3) if the student has been missing for over twenty-four hours, contact the individual identified by the student or the parent of the student if the student is under age eighteen.


Source: College Alert Center

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This is an age-progression depiction showing what Trenton Duckett, who went missing Aug. 26, 2006, might look like today. (LEESBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT / September 23, 2008)

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