by John Edward Gill
Congress approves more pork, allegedly to find missing children
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (National Center) doesn't need more funding.
Especially since it doesn't look for missing children.
Despite claiming to have "helped recover more than 68,900 children" (as boasted recently on the National Center's website---www.missingkids.com), NCMEC's 220 employees don't visit crime scenes from which children were taken or last seen. National Center officials concede in Quarterly Progress Reports that they don't even know if children are recovered unless parents or law enforcement inform them.
Such reports are given to U. S. Justice Department officials at Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
And a study conducted by Washington State and the U. S. Justice Department on "Stranger Abduction and Homicides" recommended IMMEDIATE local searching and questioning by law enforcement as the first and best steps to take when a child is missing and presumed to have been abducted by a stranger.
In fact, the National Center advises, on its website, that anyone reporting a missing child MUST FIRST contact local enforcement agencies BEFORE contacting that National Center about a missing child.
That Washington State Study, as cited on that National Center's website, said "the murder of a child who is abducted is a rare event. There are estimated to be about 100 such incidents in the United States each year, less than one-half of one percent of the murders committed."
That 100 figure contrasts sharply with the false claim, made by NCMEC's Ernie Allen and others in the 1980s, that there were 50,000 stranger abductions of children each year. During the early 1980s Allen was part of the Exploited and Missing Children Task Force in Louisville, Kentucky. That group used the 50,000 figure and also promoted fingerprinting of children.
Some media outlets have used similar figures recently.
Such fingerprinting programs received much attention and publicity then, but NEVER FOUND ANY MISSING CHILDREN.
Yet, scary publicity about that 50,000 figure, combined with many useless fingerprinting programs, was publicly promoted before numerous Congressional hearings in those early 1980s. And that erroneous information led to the creation of the National Center.
Allen served as Chairperson of the National Center's first Board of Directors.
"How can the National Center look for children if it doesn't have infra-red sensors, night vision scopes, police dogs, search vehicles, including helicopters, and, most important, qualified, trained personnel for that searching and questioning," said Nikki Adams, founder of Services for the Missing, in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "Why has that Washington State study been ignored?"
Adams pointed out that government money would be better spent on training search teams at local and state levels. She, among others in the missing children field, also question how that National Center can claim to help recover children when it doesn't look for them.
She mentioned the Susan Smith case in South Carolina, during November, 1994, as an example of Allen and his staff making a false claim about "recovering" missing children.
"They got out a flyer right away saying her two sons, Alexander and Michael, were abducted by a black man," she explained.
Within days, Smith confessed to local law enforcement that she had drowned her children in her own car and had made up the whole story.
"So what did the National Center do?" she asked. "It listed those poor children as "recovered" by National Center officials. And, in its Monthly Recovery Report, classified them as LIMs". LIM means "Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing".
Allen's same Report listed a 12-year-old boy from Pennsylvania as an LIM and being gone and then "recovered" by his staff ON THE SAME DAY, October 11, 1994.
"So what did they (National Center officials) actually DO to 'recover' that child?" she asked.
Some even question the National Center's descriptions of children it lists as missing on its website.
"If you try to use the National Center's search engine, neither the height nor age field work," said Don Austen, founder and president of Thursdays Child, West Hills, California, which is near Los Angeles.
Austen also questioned how long it often takes for the National Center to distribute information. "Recently, I received a call from a woman in Utah who said her son took off in the family car," he said. "She phoned the National Center. They said they would fax her some forms in a few hours, then she could fill them out and fax them back and a few hours after that a case would be assigned. Posters MIGHT go out in a few days, they told her."
That Washington State Study said the first few hours after a child is gone are the most important hours. Often, it reported, that when a "stranger" takes a child and kills the child, that crime takes place in several hours after the abduction. The Report stated that having qualified local law enforcement begin searching and questioning right away from the site where the child was last seen is very essential.
He used that example to illustrate how long it takes the National Center to work on ALL missing children cases.
"So what good does it do to wait several days in order to distribute posters?" Austen asked. "Especially if the people (National Center) are thousands of miles away and don't have anyone go directly to search a crime site if there's been an abduction."
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