RALEIGH — Missing children have been receiving attention as never before, causing many parents to warn their offspring about talking to strangers -- although most youngsters continue to be abducted by a family member or other individual known to the family.
Still, the prospect that a child can disappear in the twinkling of an eye -- no matter the perpetrator -- worries parents. And, according to John Goad of the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons, the numbers are going up. First, more people are filing such reports, and, second, Goad says, those instances are increasing in number.
There has been a misunderstanding that 24 hours must pass before such a report can be filed with officials. That is not the case. Reports of missing people -- no matter their age -- should be made as soon as they are determined informally to be gone. Otherwise, crucial time is lost in starting the search.
Goad says that in the case of children the easiest way to reduce the instances is to use common sense. He suggests always keeping children in sight, and not letting them go to parks and malls alone. He says the safest way is to avoid situations, not people.
The Center for Missing Persons hopes that by bringing attention to the problem, they can ensure that no one forgets the children. This is also National Missing Children Week.