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.