Isabel’s been missing for more than a year
On April 20, 2012, Isabel Celis was reported missing. Local media in Tucson, Ariz. reported on the case immediately following her disappearance, helping attract public awareness and even search volunteers. As the days and months went by, the media slowed and then stopped reporting on Isabel’s case all together. But Isabel’s family did not forget, neither did we.
When a child goes missing law enforcement and families work with media to publicize the child’s name and face. But when the child is still missing one, five, 10 years later, the media often loses interest.
The more people who see a photo of a child, the better chance someone will recognize him or her. So families often spend substantial time and effort to get their child’s face on TV, online and in print.
We know how difficult it can be to keep up a relationship with the media. We see this publicity fatigue happen in case after case. To combat this fatigue our team sends anniversary press releases to the media every month.
These releases highlight children who went missing during that month in a previous year. We send a release out every year for the first five years a child is missing. After that, we send an anniversary release every five years.
Our goal with anniversary releases is to help families get the most news coverage possible. One of the ways we try and meet that goal is by sending releases and photos through the U.S. Postal Service.
When we email releases and posters to the media, they are often lost in the recipient’s inbox among hundreds of other “urgent” messages. But who ignores an envelope? When began mailing hard-copy versions, we saw an increase in the number of stories written about and shows highlighting these missing children.
When known, releases are sent to both the area the child was last seen as well as any area law enforcement believes the child may be. As years pass, the posters sent with press releases are updated to include age progressed photos and additional photos.
A year after Isabel’s disappearance, we sent the Tucson-area media an anniversary release. In response, the media renewed their coverage of the case.
As technology advances and trends change we will continue to change the ways we help raise awareness of long-term missing children. Keep an eye on this blog for stories highlighting specific cases throughout the year.
Isabel Celis is still missing. View her poster at http://ow.ly/lg2XA.