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May 25 is National Missing Children's Day

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children wants parents to know there are ways to help keep their children safe.

Today is National Missing Children’s Day and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children wants to use it to let parents know there are things they can do to keep their children safe.

Every year in America an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing – that’s more than 2,000 children each day. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members, as was the case of Carmen Villa of Monroe, the only Walton County child listed in the Georgia registry from the NCMEC. According to the information in the registry, Carmen, who would be 15 now, was allegedly taken March 5, 2005 when she was 9. She is believed to be somewhere in Italy with her father and adult siblings.

In Gwinnett County, Josely Martinez, 17, of Lawrenceville, has been missing for three years and is believed to be in the company of an adult male.

Each year about 58,000 children are abducted by non-family members, often with a sexual motivation and each year 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions, taken by non-family members and either murdered, held for ransom, or taken with the intent to keep.

NCMEC is using National Missing Children’s Day to urge parents to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about their safety.

“We know teaching children about safety works,” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC.  “It is important that parents take the time to talk to their children about safety.”

An analysis of attempted abduction cases by NCMEC found that in 82 percent of the cases, children escaped would-be abductors through their own actions, by yelling, kicking, pulling away, running away or attracting attention.

May 25 is the anniversary of the day in 1979 when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school. Since first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, May 25 has been observed as National Missing Children’s Day. Etan has never been found and is still listed as missing.

Laura Sweeney January 03, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Carmen finally returned from Italy after 8 1/2 years in Italy. Getting her back was very difficult.
Laura Sweeney January 03, 2013 at 05:34 PM
I am her mother and traveled to Italy numerous times to try to get her back. Her brother also returned from Italy.

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