Oct 20

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Oct 02

Yesterday marked 11 years since Monica Carrasco was last seen.  NCMEC, law enforcement, her family and friends continue searching for her. When Monica was last seen she had a small mole on her left cheek, a chicken pox scar on her forehead near her hairline, and pierced ears.
Monica’s family helps to keep the search active with a Facebook page dedicated to her. 
Do you have any information about Monica? Call us at 1-800-843-5678. Calls can be made anonymously.

Yesterday marked 11 years since Monica Carrasco was last seen.  NCMEC, law enforcement, her family and friends continue searching for her. When Monica was last seen she had a small mole on her left cheek, a chicken pox scar on her forehead near her hairline, and pierced ears.

Monica’s family helps to keep the search active with a Facebook page dedicated to her. 

Do you have any information about Monica? Call us at 1-800-843-5678. Calls can be made anonymously.

Sep 24

Clues, but no name in case of unknown girl

On March 24, 1976, fisherman spotted the body of a teenage girl between 14 and 17 in the Harpeth River in Nashville, Tennessee. Since her body was found law enforcement has discovered many clues about this girl’s life, but no name.

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This facial reconstruction depicts what the female may have looked like in life.

Last known contact

In the days following her death, law enforcement identified two people that had come into contact with the victim in Tennessee. They admitted to picking up the girl as she hitchhiked along Interstate 24 on March 15 heading southeast. They told police that they dropped the girl, who called herself “Sherry” or “Cheryl” at the Manchester/Winchester exit.

The victim told the men who last saw her that she was travelling south to Haines City, Florida.

The men told law enforcement that the unidentified girl was traveling with another female around the same age. They also said she told them that she had escaped or ran away from an institution or treatment center where she had been staying due to an alcohol problem.

Cold Case Detective Jill Weaver, with the Nashville Police Department, hopes that one of the items found with the girl will help give her back her name. “The biggest assisting material found on her was in the back pocket of her jeans…a photograph of a boy with the name “Little Charley” on the back.”

As of now, law enforcement does not know who that other teenager was, but they have clues.

Travelling companion

The companion was Caucasian with sandy blonde hair, a thin build and wire-rimmed glasses. She told the men that she had also been at the institution or treatment center due to her suicidal tendencies. The men told police that the girl then showed scars on her wrists.

The girls told the men that they were heading to Haines City, Florida to visit the companion’s husband. The men did not know the companion’s name and said they last saw the two girls get into another vehicle heading southeast.

The victim’s body was located about 90 miles from where she was last seen, in the opposite direction from where she told the men she was travelling.

“I would say to anyone who has a loved one around her age range, please take a look and study her picture and the items found with her, said Det. Weaver.  “She has family somewhere. Someone is missing her.”

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Headlines from news stories printed after the Jane Doe’s body was found.

When this unknown victim was located she had likely been dead for less than 24 hours. She is reported to be of Caucasian, Hispanic or Native American decent. She had long, black hair and brown eyes. She was short and thin, about five feet, two inches and 120 pounds. See her poster here.

Do you have any information about, or know anyone who was in, an institution or treatment center north of Nashville in the 1970s? Do you know a “Sherry” or “Cheryl” who you haven’t seen or heard from since the 70s? Does the victim in the photo look familiar? Call us at 1-800-843-5678.

Sep 23

One step closer to the day when no child is ever forgotten

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Congress took a stand for our nation’s children with H.R. 4980, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act

Last Thursday, Congress took a stand for some of our nation’s most vulnerable victims – children missing from social services and foster care. One in seven endangered runways reported to us in 2013 were likely victims of sex trafficking; 67 percent of these children were in care when they ran.

On Sept. 18, H.R. 4980, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, was sent to President Obama to be signed into law. The bipartisan legislation, which was introduced by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sandy Levin and supported by Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, cleared the Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

Among other provisions, the bill directs state agencies to immediately report missing children to both law enforcement, via NCIC, the FBI’s National Crime Information Center and to us — the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Earlier this year, we advocated strongly for this law, saying that these runaways weren’t on anyone’s radar — no one was looking for them. Thanks to this act of Congress, and the upcoming signing of this critical bill into law, I am very happy to report that is no longer the case. 

Every missing child deserves our attention and care. We are now one step closer to the day when no child is ever forgotten.

John Ryan
President & CEO
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Sep 17

New age progression released for child missing since 1958

News articles from November 1958 recount the days after 7-year-old Adele Wells went missing from Flint, Michigan. Search and rescue teams combed the area where she was last seen. Boy scouts, firefighters and volunteers all assisted to try and find this child. Today Adele is 63 years old and still missing.

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The image on the left shows Adele as a child, the new age-progressed image on the right shows what Adele Wells may look like today.

We have released an age progressed photo of what Adele would look like today. Her family has always held out hope that she was taken by someone and raised as their own child. If you think you may be Adele or have any information about her whereabouts, call 1-800-843-5678. 

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The Toledo Blade published this short story about Adele in 1958.

Sixty years have passed and the search is still on-going. Adele was last seen leaving her house wearing a blue dress with small animals along the hemline, and a grey cotton coat. View her poster here: http://ow.ly/BCrmx.

Sep 12

A letter to our missing daughter, Morgan Nick

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Morgan Nick, missing since 1995, and her kitten Emily.

Dearest Morgan,

Today is your 26th birthday. Today marks twenty birthdays without you here. We miss you so desperately and our hearts are ragged with grief. We have searched for you every single day since the day you were kidnapped from us at the Little League Baseball field in Alma, Arkansas.

You were only 6 years old. We went with our friends to watch one of their children play in the game. You threw your arms around my neck in a bear hug, planted a kiss on my cheek, and ran to catch fireflies with your friends.

It is the last time that I saw you. There have been so many days since then of emptiness and heartache.

On this birthday I choose to think about your laughter, your smile, the twinkle in your sparkling blue eyes. I celebrate who you are and the deep and lasting joy that you bring to our family.

I smile today as I think about your 5th birthday. For that birthday, we took you to the Humane Society with the promise of adopting a kitten. You, my precious little girl with your big heart, took one look around the cat room and picked out the ugliest, scrawniest, most pitiful looking kitten in the entire place. Such a tiny little thing, that it was mostly all eyes.

Dad and I used our best parental powers of persuasion to get you to pick a different kitten, to look at the older cats, to choose any other feline besides that poor ugly kitty. It looked like someone had taken the worst leftover colors of mud, stirred them together, and used them to design a kitten. 

You planted your five-year-old feet, looked us straight in the eye and declared that this was the kitten you were taking home. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. You would not budge and you resolutely refused to take a second look at any other cat or kitten in the room.  You had a fire of conviction in your heart.

The unexpected obstacle we faced was that we were not able to adopt on that Saturday, but had to wait until Monday to finalize. For the rest of the weekend and all day Monday, you fretted and pouted and worried that someone else would take “your” kitten home with them. We tried to assure you that no one else would want that cat. We didn’t want to say it was because it was so tiny, or so ugly, or so-nothing-at-all-but-eyes. You could see only beauty and you were in love.

Finally, Monday afternoon came and dad brought it home with him after work. In that moment, your daddy was your biggest hero because he had saved your kitten.

You tenderly snuggled that little bit of fur into your arms and declared that her name was Emily. You adored your new kitten and she loved you right back. Emily gained some weight and filled out a bit. Her colors started to take shape. We began to see the same beauty in her that you had seen in that very first moment.

Where you went, Emily went. You played together. You ate together. You watched Barney together. You slept together.

Which brings me to the photo. It captures everything we love about you. I would slip into your room late at night and stand there, watching the two of you sleeping together, in awe of your sweetness, and my heart would squeeze a little tighter.

So many birthdays have passed since then. So many days since a stranger ripped you from our hearts.

My sweet girl, if you should happen to read this, we want you to know how very important and special you are to us. You are a blessing we cannot live without. We feel cheated by every day that goes by and we do not see your smile, hear your bubbly laughter, or listen to your thoughts and ideas. We have never stopped believing that we will find you. We are saving all our hugs and kisses for you. 

Please be strong and brave, with a fire of conviction in your heart, just like the day you picked out your kitten!

On this birthday we promise you that we will always fight for you. We will bring you back home to our family where you belong. We will always love you! We will never give up. 

Love Mom & Dad

Today, Sept. 12, is Morgan Nick’s birthday. She has been missing since she was 6. Morgan Nick was last seen on June 9, 1995. View and share her poster here.

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Sep 10

Let trafficking victims have their day in court

Sexually explicit language advertising the sale of children for sex is a common business practice for Backpage.com.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children filed an amicus brief urging the Washington State Supreme Court to allow three child sex trafficking victims to have their day in court against the online classified advertising website owned by Backpage LLC.

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Our brief was filed in response to Backpage’s motion to dismiss the victims’ case. It argues that Backpage enables the development of child sex trafficking ads on its site, which results in the repeated sexual exploitation and victimization of children.

In the past five years, our Child Sex Trafficking Team has seen a 1,432-percent increase in reports of suspected child sex trafficking. Today the majority of child sex trafficking ads reported to us involve ads posted on Backpage.com.

Despite Backpage’s knowledge that it has created a lucrative marketplace for child sex trafficking on its website, it has rejected most of our past recommendations to help reduce the selling and buying of children for sex on its website. Backpage has only made minimal efforts to curb the posting of child sexual exploitative content.

Child sex trafficking is a pervasive and destructive crime. Our amicus brief asks the court to allow the victims’ case to move forward to assure the fair adjudication of a matter so greatly important to the safety of children across the United States.

We joined the Washington State Attorney General’s Office and the following nonprofits in support of the child victims: National Crime Victim Law Institute, Shared Hope International, Covenant House, Human Rights Project for Girls, FAIR Girls, and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.

Read all the amicus briefs and underlying court papers here.

Sep 02

Nine years after Katrina, family reunification planning a priority

Sharon Hawa is the Program Manager of Emergency Communications at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Sharon works closely with the emergency management and disaster communities at the local, state and federal levels to promote the importance of planning for children in disasters.

This year marks the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and emergency managers have learned a tremendous amount about how to better respond to disasters in its wake. The reunification of families separated during these disasters is still and will always be an important facet of emergency planning. However, the responsibility of reunification planning does not solely rest on the shoulders of emergency managers. Anyone looking after children should have a plan in place.

When children are separated from those who best understand their individual needs, they have greater difficulty coping, adding more anxiety and stress to their situation. Children separated during a disaster may be more vulnerable to maltreatment, abuse, kidnapping and exploitation.

Families and caretakers can begin preparing for disasters big or small — such as mudslides, floods, earthquakes, tornados and hurricanes — by making a plan.

How to prepare for separation during a disaster

  1. Know your child’s school and day care emergency evacuation and reunification plans. Some schools and day cares have emergency plans for a variety of scenarios, but recent studies indicate many do not. If your child’s school or day care does not have a reunification plan, encourage them to reach out to their school district or local emergency management agency to discuss developing one.
  2. Develop and regularly practice emergency plans at home with children and pets in case your family is separated. Designate an out-of-state relative or close friend to become “communications central” for the family. Because local phone lines may be down or inundated in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, someone out-of-state will be best positioned to receive calls. Displaced family members with access to a phone could call the out-of-state contact – typically without issue – to share and receive messages from other family members.
  3. Designate a location where your family could gather in the event of separation. This could be a playground, park or a local landmark that’s easy for children to get to if they need to on their own.
  4. Create a Child ID Kit for each child. This should include a recent color photograph of the child’s face, descriptive information, fingerprints, medical and dental records or bite impressions, and a DNA sample. This sample could be taken from any number of your child’s grooming items such as a hairbrush or toothbrush.
  5. Make copies of any legal paperwork if you are your child’s court designated primary caregiver in a custodial separation or divorce. Share them with any relatives or close friends in other states, or carry the paperwork with you in an emergency kit.

Sometimes, no matter how much you have planned, the worst happens: you become separated from your children. This is why we run the Unaccompanied Minors Registry. Through this online registry individuals can report a child who is accounted for, but separated from their caregivers. Anyone can report a separated child to the Unaccompanied Minors Registry, including emergency managers on the ground during a disaster. Reporting persons input basic information about the unaccompanied child to the registry and can even upload a photo of him/her. We then cross-reference any reports through this registry against phone calls from searching parents.

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Sharon Hawa poses with a Gabrielle, a child who was reunited with her family after being separated during Hurricane Katrina.

Since we’re at the height of hurricane season, take a few moments now to prepare your family in case of disaster. 

For more emergency planning tips, visit www.Ready.gov.

Sep 01

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Aug 27

Deceased boy found in 1981 with straitjacket nearby

The body of a young man wrapped in a blanket was lying on the side of a heavily traveled parkway with a straitjacket nearby. Who was he and where did he come from? We need your help finding those answers.

On Aug. 2, 1981, the U.S. Park Police received a phone call from an anonymous caller. There was a body lying in grass along the side of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Greenbelt, Maryland.

This 29-mile scenic highway, maintained by the National Park Service, is a two lane, tree lined artery connecting the Nation’s Capital to the Charm City. Even in 1981, it was a busy road.

The body was wrapped in a blue blanket, similar to one you would see at a hospital or hotel. The young man’s ankles and his right foot were wrapped in bandages. Within a few feet of the body were a canvas straitjacket and one beige blanket with “U.S.” written on it.

Where did he come from?

Because of the items found with the boy’s body, investigators believe the he may have been a patient at a local treatment facility.

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The John Doe’s body was located along the side of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The body was found not far from Forest Haven, a D.C. government institution for developmentally disabled persons. That facility was eventually shut down in 1991 after a lawsuit and monitoring revealed extensive abuse and problems with the care of patients. However, Forest Haven was not the only facility in the general area. For example, Spring Grove Mental Hospital, Walter Reed Medical Center and Crownsville Medical Center were located elsewhere in the region in 1981.

The search continues

A medical examiner estimated that the John Doe had been dead for several days before being found. He was likely between 15 and 22 years old. He was malnourished, weighing about 106 lbs. His teeth were severely decayed, crooked and uneven. One report also noted that he had long fingernails. He was black with medium length kinky hair.  

In 1981 the Park Police made contact with several local hospitals, local and federal law enforcement agencies seeking missing persons reports in attempts to identify the victim. They sent fingerprints to the FBI. Nothing matched the John Doe they found in Greenbelt, Maryland.

In 2011, the Park Police took advantage of our assistance. Members of our team later met with Park Police Detective Monique Pettett to discuss new investigative opportunities. 

Det. Pettett discovered that the John Doe’s body was cremated in 1982, but she didn’t give up there. She found two black and white autopsy photographs, the autopsy report and a piece of the young man’s hair. She submitted the hair for DNA testing and uploaded the results to a national DNA database.

Det. Pettett has also contacted 52 U.S. states and jurisdictions requesting the John Doe’s fingerprints be searched through each fingerprint database in attempts to find a match. She has also entered the case in national missing and unidentified person databases such as NCIC, ViCAP and Namus.

We need your help

While Det. Pettett and the U.S. Park Police continue to work tirelessly to find out who this young man was, we are looking for the public’s help.

Did you work in a medical facility in the area in the early 80s or know someone who did? Do you have a missing family member who may have been placed in a medical facility? Do you recognize this young man? Call us at 1-800-843-5678.