1. Immediately call 911 and all other local law enforcement agencies. Do not stop after you have called 911. Depending on your circumstances, contact your local police department, county sheriff, state police or highway patrol, law enforcement in surrounding jurisdictions, and the border patrol if applicable. Remember, there is no 24- or 48-hour waiting period. If you meet resistance, demand to speak to the watch commander and insist that they take a report and enter the information into the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC) at once.
2. Notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If you suspect a predatory abduction, the FBI will initiate a kidnapping investigation involving a missing child of tender years, defined as a child 12 years or younger, even though there is no known interstate aspect. The FBI will monitor other kidnapping situations when there is no evidence of interstate travel, and it offers assistance from various entities including the FBI Laboratory. They have written protocols, dedicated agents, unsurpassed resources, and vast experience in this specialized investigative field.
3. Log onto or refer the responding law enforcement agency to www.beyondmissing.com. This revolutionary Web site allows registered law enforcement agencies to immediately create and distribute missing flyers to other targeted law enforcement agencies using powerful Internet tools. Parents can also create, download, and print flyers for duplication, but not database or electronically distribute missing flyers. There is no cost for either service.
4. Notify all local media assignment desks. The sooner television and radio begin notifying the community that a child has been kidnapped, the better the chances of recovery. It's as simple as that.
5. Notify your local nonprofit Child Locator Service. They can provide an array of services pertinent to your situation. Child Locator Services exist to assist in the recovery of missing children. Do not overlook this important resource.
6. If you believe that you child has been kidnapped, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST, and Contact Team H.O.P.E., a parent support network for families with missing children. Team H.O.P.E. volunteer parents have experienced the agony of searching for their own children. They provide practical and emotional support for parents whose children are victims of predatory kidnapping, parental abduction, international abduction, adult missing, and runaways, and can be reached at 800-306-6311.
7. If you believe that your child has run away, contact the National Runaway Switchboard at 800-621-4000.
8. Keep your home phone attended by someone your child knows. Install Caller ID if you do not already have that service, and record conversations. This may be the only way your child knows how to reach you.
9. Take care to preserve your physical and emotional welfare. Friends, neighbors, and even total strangers will be working toward a successful resolution, but you must remember to eat and sleep regularly. This will be the most daunting and difficult journey that you will ever take and you will need sobriety, presence of mind, and good judgment if it is to be successful. Seek emotional and psychological support from your church, a social service agency, or even a professional counselor with experience in your type of situation. Remember that you alone are leading the battle for the return of your missing child.
10. Remember -- never give up hope! As long as you believe, hope remains eternal.
For more information about child abductions, visit the KlaasKids Foundation
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.