The first child to ever be put on a milk carton was Etan, who was 6 when he disappeared in 1979. He was declared legally dead in 2000, and has never been found. Since this milk carton breakthrough, methods of finding missing children have improved. Despite law enforcement’s strong commitment to finding missing children quickly, they disappear every year. Some are never found.
Have You Seen Me?
In 1999, around 800,000 children were reported missing — in just that year alone. Of these, more than 200,000 were taken by family members. This was the last time a comprehensive study of missing children was completed.
Someone goes missing in the United States every single day. In fact, more than 2,000 adults and children disappear in America daily. Around half of the 800,000 children who go missing every year are runaways…only half. The rest are kidnapped, but only a fraction are taken in what is labeled as “stereotypical” kidnappings in which the child is abducted by a stranger and then killed or ransomed.
Even the possibility of having a missing child who is later killed is mind-numbingly terrifying. Yet this happens to parents every day in the United States alone. A child goes missing in America every 40 seconds. That’s why May 25 is national missing children’s day. So what can you do to celebrate it?
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, founded in 1984, has helped to recover more than 190,000 missing children. Their recovery rate, as of today, is 97 percent.
Some of this success is due to the AMBER alert program , which was created in 1996 after the disappearance of Amber Hagerman, 9, who vanished in Fort Worth and was later murdered. AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. Thanks to the program, 688 children have been recovered.
How can you help? Be vigilant. Pay attention to missing child posters and pictures. Be aware of children who seem to be unattended or otherwise alone, and alert someone in authority of their presence. And if you have any information that could potentially relate to any missing child anywhere, call 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678).