Missing Children

Tonight on Twitter a conversation was going on about missing children and specifically about Elizabeth Johnson, mother of missing 8-month old Gabriel who disappeared nearly three years ago.  Some history on the case for those not familiar, but Elizabeth Johnson  initially told the baby’s father  that she killed Gabriel and dumped him in a trash bin.  She later recanted and told police that she gave Gabriel to a couple at a San Antonio, TX park.  She never provided the couple’s names and refused to do so during Friday’s hearing where she was sentenced and Gabriel’s body has never been found.  It is unlikely that Elizabeth Johnson will ever tell the truth about what happened to her son, and another child joins the ranks of missing in a case that may never be solved.

The conversation turned to how specific groups online pick and choose which high profile case they adopt as their own and oftentimes these people go completely overboard in their “following” of said cases.  I have written extensively about the mania within the true crime genre online and the lunatic fringe who “e-adopt” missing and murdered children and carry on as if they were their own child. It’s rather frightening to watch and no doubt there are DSM-IV descriptions for MANY of these people who insert themselves into these cases and go above and beyond batshit. 

It’s a shame that ALL missing children don’t garner the attention of the media – and not just the cute, white ones.  One case that will always bother me is that of Adji Desir of Florida.  He went missing on January 11, 2009 right around the time that Caylee Anthony was being covered every minute and every second of the day by the media.  He went missing in Immokalee, Florida while playing in his grandmother’s yard.  He vanished and has never been seen or heard from since.  It is critical to get the child’s name and information out there, and sadly because Caylee created such great ratings, little Adji didn’t get the airtime that his case deserved.  But, it’s not just Adji’s case  – there are so many others.  We have WAY TOO MANY missing children.

According to the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2), study released in October 2002 nearly 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day.  A 2006 study, Case Management for Missing Children Homicide: Report II, study further found that 76.2 percent of abducted children who are murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction.  Those are very disturbing statistics and a testament as to why it is so imperative to get a child’s name and face out to the masses immediately.

I don’t know…how do we fix this?  How do we insure that ALL children are receiving the attention that their cases deserve so that we can bring them all home?  For anyone who is interested, take a look at the Charley Project.  The Charley Project profiles over 9,000 “cold case” missing people mainly from the United States and links to over 500 missing person related websites. It does not actively investigate cases; it is merely a publicity vehicle for missing people who are often neglected by the press and forgotten all too soon.  Look at the missing in your state.   Become aware and spread the word.


prinnie – who has written posts on Prinniefied.com.

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  1. veruca salt

    You’re quite right, and thanks for the info on the CHarley Project. It’s def worth looking at.
    Not only has the Caylee Anthony “ebaby” taken hold, but it’s almost expeted with every sad new missing child report. In the Ayla Reynolds case the mother Trisa who was never named a suspect, was taken to task for saying the memories of her baby are for her and she wants to keep them for herself…people were outraged and saying that they were “Aylas Angels and had right to them as well”…Insanity.

    1. prinnie (Post author)

      veruca salt,

      I have seen so many wingnuts attach themselves to these missing child cases. Yes, they adopt their e-babies and the insanity that ensues is unbelievable. There were women who created a Facebook group called something like Caylee’s Other Mommies, and they were writing letters to her daily and referring to her as their daughter and they had adopted her. It was the most freakish thing ever! I understand having feelings of sorrow and sadness for these children, and wanting to do something to help find them, but the behavior of some of these folks is truly certifiable, and they DO NOT LIKE when people question their abnormal behavior.

  2. advocate

    I remember this case and had almost forgotten about it. I am so bothered by his cute little smiling face that has gone missing. So sad. If I can recall, this little boy was/is mentally developmentally challenged which is also problematic to establishing a theory. My heart aches for him and his loved ones and I think we should all pray for him and all missing children.

  3. John Pendley

    Prinnie, I don’t want to minimize the horror of missing children, but the 800,000 per year figure is ludicrous.

    I am of the generation that fought in Vietnam, so my explanation may not mean as much to younger people, but please bear with me. Slightly fewer than 60,000 Americans died in Vietnam during the period 1955-1975. By the end of the war, absolutely everyone in this country knew someone, and usually several someones, who had died there. I can name three without thinking about it.

    The figure you cite would mean, if true, that more than ten times as many children are reported missing EVERY YEAR as Americans were killed in Vietnam in 20 years. By comparison to Vietnam deaths known to me, I should know 30 or 40 kids who go missing every year. Yet, in the 40 years since I became a parent, I have not known a single case of a missing child among my friends, my family, my family’s friends, my colleagues . . . You get my point. Surely, if 800,000 kids were missing every year for 40 years (a total of 32 million children – look at that number!) I would have been aware of at least one case.

    Loss of a child is heart-breaking and devastating. Lots of people have been dining out on that heartbreak for years. It is in their interest to exaggerate the problem. Skepticism toward their numbers is in order.

    1. prinnie (Post author)

      John: I believe that is in total — meaning familial abductions, runaways – even those that come home.

  4. Kim

    I know I am a bit late to this game but out of the 800k how many are either run aways who do not want to be found, are returned safely without incidence, are custody battles that are ugly so someone calls the law or a host of other actions that qualify as missing but do not mean kidnapped by the boogeyman man from the street at high noon? It is rather irresponsible to conflate stats in an attempt to make tragedy glamorous. My parents were cool when I was younger and allowed me freedom but I knew of more than one friend who had their face on a milk jug in the 80s. A good girlfriend was “missing”because her step-daddy was an abusive tool.Someone really should have made him missing,


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