CLEVELAND, Ohio — Wednesday is National Missing Children’s Day, and police and authorities all over the country are asking everyone to remember to take time to focus on children and keeping them safe.
The day was first observed in 1983 after a series of child abductions gained the attention of the country. The first was the disappearance of Etan Patz. He was six when he disappeared on his way to school on May 25, 1979.
Patz was never found. But he was declared dead in 2001. His case ultimately led to the formation of the missing children’s movement.
“National Missing Children’s Day exists to highlight unsolved cases of missing children and to bring awareness to issues surrounding abduction and human trafficking,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams. “For many families, the pain of losing a child to abduction is all too real. It is important that law enforcement and the community work together to solve these cases and bring victims home.”
The FBI, along with various other departments, will raise awareness about efforts to keep children safe during an event at the Westown Plaza, located at West 100th Street and Lorain Avenue, Wednesday. The event will run from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
According to the FBI, in 2015, 460,699 reports were made for missing children, down 466,949 in 2014.
In Ohio alone, 18,688 children were reported missing in 2015. Police reported that 97 percent of those children were found safe. There were 12 AMBER alerts and 17 endangered missing child alerts issued in 2015. All of those children were found safe.
There are more than 700 children listed as missing in Ohio.
“The safe recovery of a missing child requires coordination and a quick response among agencies as well as critical help and input from the public,” said Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Just Saturday in Cleveland, a six-year-old girl was reported missing from her home. The girl was last seen at around 4 a.m. and was reported missing at 2:30 p.m. She was finally found around 9:30 p.m.
She was hospitalized but is now at home safe.
Authorities are still searching for the suspect in that abduction. For more details on that case, click here.
For tips on keeping children safe, click here.