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Sheriff’s Office to conduct child ID event in observance of Missing Children’s Day Saturday



The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the National Center for Missing AND Exploited Children wants to remind the public that National Missing Children’s Day is May 25.

In observance,  Sheriff’s Office SMART (Sheriff’s Mobile Auxiliary Response Team) will be conducting a child identification event at the Tahoe Biltmore Lodge and Casino Safety Fair and Memorial Day celebration in Crystal Bay, Nev., on Saturday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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 and has been observed as National Missing Children’s Day since 1983, when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan. Etan’s story captivated the nation. His photo, taken by his father, a professional photographer, was circulated nationwide and appeared in media across the country and around the world. The powerful image of Etan has come to symbolize the anguish and trauma of thousands of searching families. The search for Etan continues. He is still missing.

Currently, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office has two cold cases on two children who were last seen in 1983 and 1987. Anthony Bernard Franko was last seen in 1983 when he was 11 years old, and Jennifer Martin last seen in 1987 at age 11. Recent events surrounding the Jayce Lee Dugard case reminds us never to give up hope in finding our missing children.

The first 24-48 hours are the most important in locating a missing child.  The Sheriff’s Office has developed a comprehensive response system that allows us to immediately activate air and ground support including RAVEN, Search and Rescue, Patrol, Special Investigation Units, Reverse 911, AlertID and Citizen Corps to support the quick and timely recovery of a missing child.

Every year in America an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members. The primary motive for non-family abductions is sexual. 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.

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.

The Sheriff’s Office encourages parents to “Take 25” on the 25th.   Designed to raise awareness of the issues surrounding missing and exploited children, the Take 25 campaign developed by the NCMEC encourages parents, guardians, educators and others to take 25 minutes to talk to children about safety.  For information on how to keep our children safe,  go to www.washoesheriff.com and click on Staying Safe.

“Children are our communities’ most precious resource, but our children often lack the skills to protect themselves,” said Sheriff Mike Haley. “It’s our responsibility, as a community, to protect our children and teach them the skills that can keep them safe.”

Parents can also go to AlertID.com to sign up for “My Family Wallet,” a simple and secure way to provide critical information to authorities about their children in the event of an emergency.

Note: Statistical Information provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children-

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline which has handled more than 3,372,730 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 163,330 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 1,091,950 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 49,272,100 pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.

 The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 25th person elected to serve as the sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process, traditional street patrols and Regional Animal Services.

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