Local News

'Team Adam' Fighting Child Abduction One Search At A Time

Posted May 12, 2005

— Amber Alerts put missing persons' cases in the public eye, but there are also many people who dedicate their lives to finding missing kids -- people who never get public recognition.

When 4-year-old Kaylan Jacobs went missing in Robeson County 10 days ago, Team Adam assisted the local sheriff's office in the search and in her safe return.

Team Adam is a group of retired federal and state law enforcement officers who have taken part in 15 North Carolina cases in the past two-and-a-half years.

"The look on the child's face when they see their parents -- the look on the parents' face when they are told the child is recovered -- that's why you do it," said Melinda Collins, a former North Carolina SBI agent who has participated in nine successful searches in the past year.

Collins credits the Amber Alert system for making her job easier.

"We are recovering children and it's being documented that the recoveries are solely because of the Amber Alert system," Collins said.

But while the system is a key factor, it is the people involved who bring home children.

"When you assist in the recovery of a child or a child coming home safe, there's nothing like it," Collins said.

Since its inception in January 2003, Team Adam has been involved in 178 searches nationwide. Of those searches, 161 have ended successfully.

According to a study by the State of Washington's Office of the Attorney General, 74 percent of child abduction homicides occurred within the first three hours after the abduction. Team Adam helps local law enforcement agencies quickly respond to child abduction cases.

Team Adam is named after Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old abducted from a Florida department store in July 1981. His remains were found 14 days after his disappearance, but no one has ever been charged in the case.

The kidnapping and murder prompted Adam's father, journalist John Walsh, to create the television show, "America's Most Wanted," and helped drive the formation of the

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

.

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