Around 800,000 children go missing every year. Surprisingly, out of those cases, only between 110 and 200 are abducted by strangers. Those rare cases get the most media coverage, however, and are how we ended up with May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day. Many of the most famous cases of missing children helped us to get laws and regulations in place to help prevent kidnappings.
Jacob Wetterling was eleven years old when he was abducted in 1989. His kidnapping led to the federal sex offender registry. Jacob is still missing. The sex offender registry is also commonly known as Megan’s Law. Megan Kanka was killed by her neighbor in 1999. AMBER alerts got their name from a nine year old from Texas who was murdered in 1996. Her name was Amber Hagerman and her case still isn’t solved. However, the alerts have helped authorities find many children over the years. The odds of finding a missing child are now 97%, while in 1984, they were only 62%.
Since today is National Missing Children’s Day, do your part to help out. The FBI has a smart phone app called “Child ID”, which can store information about your child and can be shared with the government at any time. The missing children hotline number is 800-THE-LOST or 800-843-5678. Cybertipline receives tips on sexually exploited minors. Their number is 1-800-843-5678.