Photos of Missing Children
Missing Children's Page
Six year oldEtan Patz disappeared from New York City on his way to school on May 25th, 1979. Etan has not been recovered, yet this child's life has touched so many. His parents, Stan and Julie inspired an exhaustive search for Etan that unfortunately didn't provide them with any answers as to what happened that morning. Some people get lost in grief, and who could blame them with such a tragedy. Others like Stan and Julie rose above their own pain and reached out to those in similar circumstances.
I met Julie in 1980 on a TV show where we were both guests. Driving her home that evening, we talked about the plight of parents of missing kids. Children involved in parental kidnappings and run-a-ways aren't treated with the same vigor as a stranger abduction case. Private investigators were asking, according to Julie's experience with other families, $50,000 in fees to assist in the investigations.
This seemed obscene to me and a short time after, I developed the first low-cost program to assist families in the search for their children. We taught them how to make effective flyers and to distribute them; how to get their child's picture shown by the media and write press releases. They learned how to develop public interest for search; what they could and couldn't expect from the FBI and local police. We located other sources of support they could contact. Then the agency offered two days of our time at little to no cost to follow leads they may have, along with unlimited consultation until the recovery of their child.
A year later, I came across an article about a not-for-profit group called Child Find, which was a newly organized, grass-roots organization started by Gloria Yerkovich. The child's father abducted Gloria's daughter. She organized Child Find because of the walls she encountered trying to conduct her own search. Gloria assisted parents in an active search for their child and had some success. In the beginning, Child Find was operating out of a closet donated in the local police station. The article blasted private investigators for their lack of help. I called Gloria up and although skeptical, she did come to meet me in New York.
That meeting and developing relationship changed my life. I began to donate services to Child Find and became part of their Board of Directors. My office helped to design the investigative protocol for the organization. We worked to get President Reagan involved in naming National Missing Children's Day on May 25th, [I selected the day of Etan's disappearance.] Before long I was doing all kinds of things I never imagined including appearing on Good Morning America as an advocate for missing kids. David Hartman and Joan Lunden were early supporters of the cause and presented pictures of children on a regular basis. I developed child safety programs with Pepsi and McDonald's and traveled extensively promoting awareness of the issue.
The world of missing kids changed again with the disappearance of Adam Walsh. His father, John Walsh was devastated to learn police in the next county to him were not aware of Adam's disappearance. There was no utilization of the national computer that notifies other police departments around the county. That soon changed, as John became another hero along with the Patz family in helping locate missing kids. After the tragedy of finding Adam, John continued his dedication to other families.
President Ronald Reagan also played a major part in obtaining help for families of missing kids. He not only declared National Missing Child's Day but also signed the Missing Children's Act. I sat next to him at lunch one day at a women's business forum. Some of our conversation was about work with missing kids. Politicians often smile and yes you to death. President Reagan smiled, but did so much more. In addition to legislature, he personally donated a very generous financial gift to Child Find. There was only one stipulation to the gift - we could not reveal how generous he was.
Child Find grew and became Child Find of America, Inc. It has assisted in locating over 2900 missing children since it's inception. One of the prouder moments of my life was being named the National Honorary Chair of Child Find of America, Inc.
For information about all aspects of child safety, use the links on this page for Child Find and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Contributions to Child Find of America, Inc. are tax-deductible. Please consider making a donation for this special work on behalf of our children.
Child Find of America, Inc.
243 Main Street, POB 277 ~ New Paltz, NY 12561-0277
914-255-1848 ~ 800-I-AM-LOST
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Revised: March 01, 2007 .