220 Kansas kids unaccounted for on National Missing Children's Day
More than 23 years have passed since Adam Herrman was last seen, and his disappearance remains a mystery.
Adam, born Irvin Groeninger, III, went missing in April 1999. He was last known to be at his family’s mobile home park in Towanda – about eight miles west of El Dorado, Kan. His adoptive family said he had a history of running away and never reported him missing, according to police. In 2008, a tip led investigators to look into his disappearance. There was suspected abuse and other criminal charges connected to the case, as detailed here.
SEARCH FOR MISSING PEOPLE
On this National Missing Children’s Day, investigators hope people will revisit cases like Adam’s. The day helps highlight cases of more than 5,000 children in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s database. In Kansas, there are about 560 people listed as missing; among those cases, about 220 are children, according to the State of Kansas’ Missing Person’s Clearinghouse.
MISSING CHILDREN IN KANSAS
Four years ago, KAKE News launched a daily investigative series, Missing in Kansas. Every weekday, we feature the story of a missing person or issue at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. We also share multiple stories at KAKE.com/Missing. To date, KAKE News has showcased more than 1,300 stories in the program, which has garnered attention from celebrities, university studies and national publications, including the Los Angeles Times and WGN Radio in Chicago. Many publications have recognized the program for its approach with showing as many cases as possible.
NCMEC features one unidentified child and 65 cases of missing children. Click on the following names to see details about these youth.
MISSING CHILDREN’S DAY
The idea of Missing Children’s Day started in 1983. It was created in memory of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who vanished on his way to school on May 25, 1979. He was walking two blo. cks to the bust stop, alone for the first time. He didn’t return home from school that afternoon, and his parents reported him missing. Soon, a nationwide search started for the boy. His face was the first to appear on milk cartons. Decades after Etan’s disappearance, a former store clerk, Pedro Hernandez, admitted to kidnapping and killing the boy. He worked near the Patz home. In 2017, Hernandez was sentenced for the boy’s kidnapping and murder. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
President Ronald Reagan declared May 25 to be National Missing Children’s Day. Etan’s case, along with high-profile cases like Adam Walsh, helped led to the creation of NCMEC. It helps raise awareness on runaway cases, abductions, child exploitation and other related issues.
KEEPING YOUR CHILDREN SAFE
Cases of abductions are rare, though, and most missing children and runaways are found safe. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said it’s important to talk with your kids.
“Communication is key to ensuring our children have the tools they need to stay safe,” said Schmidt, via the Kansas Attorney General’s website. “It’s important for parents to put a safety plan in place and regularly take time to review it with your kids. National Missing Children’s Day is a good reminder to have those important conversations, and I encourage all Kansans to do so.”
The U.S. State Department reiterates the value of that conversation – especially with how your child interacts with others online.
“As a parent of young children, I am concerned about providing a safe environment for children. As the U.S. Attorney, I also realize that there are predators who work overtime to take advantage of children’s vulnerabilities,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will do our part to prosecute those who victimize our children, and we urge parents and caregivers to do their part through education and awareness.”
“It’s an unfortunate reality that every year, thousands of children become victims of crime, whether through kidnappings, violent attacks, sexual abuse, or online predators,” SAC Sharp said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alabama and FBI share these summer safety tips for children.