Elizabeth Smart's reunion has brought a sense of relief to her family and to many other. But the FBI says about 2,000 children go missing each day. About half of them are taken by family members. Most are returned within hours. About 4,600 children a year are abducted by strangers and only about 100 of them are held for a long time or are killed. Of those who are killed, 74% are dead within three hours of the abduction. This is why your early actions are critical for your child's safe return.
Shelly and Jason Catron keep a close eye on their girls, Elizabeth and Brianna, scared to leave them alone for even a second in case someone tried to take them. If that were to happen, what you do next is critical. Detective Ron Trollope with Wichita Crimestoppers says the sooner police get involved, the better chance they have to follow a fresh trail of evidence. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says if your child is missing, report it immediately to your local police and give investigators as much information as you can about your child.
Information you should prepare now includes your child's fingerprints, a sample of their DNA, medical records, dental charts and make sure you take color pictures of your children every 6 months. The pictures are especially important so police know what your child looks like right now, especially in the first couple of hours because the kidnapper won't have had a chance to change the child's appearance. Videos of your children can also help. The more information you have now, the better later.
More information on how to protect your children against abduction.