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Friday, August 05, 2005

Virginia's Missing Children

Today in Virginia there are 52 missing children according to the data base of The National Center for Missing Children. These cases on their data base have persisted over time. We encourgage you to look at those missing in Virginia. There have been cases solved by people making that small effort.

Additionally, Virginia is part of the Amber Alert System, which was first started in Texas and named after a missing child Amber Hagerman, who was abducted in front of witnesses and was later found dead. The "AMBER Alert program has been credited with the successful recovery of 182 children!"

The Virginia State Police reports:

"Missing children are those who, for whatever reason, are not in their usual abode and whose parents or caretakers are unaware of their whereabouts.

They include children who:
are abducted by a stranger or acquaintance
are abducted by a parent or relative due to custody disputes
run away
become lost
have been discarded by their lawful custodian or parent

While the majority of children who become "missing" are eventually recovered or return home, they may be gone for significant periods of time. Some children are found dead, and some are never recovered at all. Coordination and cooperation between law enforcement, the missing children's clearinghouse, and all involved agencies can shorten the time a child is away from his/her proper custodian or family, thereby lessening chances of exposure to dangerous situations.

Stranger abductions, while accounting for the least amount of missing children, have the most "grim" outlook for recovery, especially if the child is not located within 48 hours. Immediate and intensive location efforts are necessary.

Children abducted by non-custodial parent live the life of victims of both emotional and sometimes physical abuse. Life is frequently "on the run," and they are uprooted from familiar schools, friends and often moved to other states, where their names may be changed to avoid detection. They are frequently traumatized not only emotionally but also by physical abuse from a desperate absconding parent.

Runaways comprise the largest category of missing children. The manpower and resources needed to track them, as well as the perception that they will eventually return to their families by themselves, have made them a difficult enforcement problem. Unfortunately, while away, they are likely to be exposed to adverse and exploitive influences, including drugs and prostitution. Often they enter criminal statistics through these activities or others."

It only takes a few minutes to look and you may make a big difference in the life of a child.

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