Most of us believe missing persons cases are stuff made for TV crime procedurals or just things of the past. In the new age, most people cannot get through lunch without one way or the other mistakenly notifying every person we have met since childhood on our whereabouts through the social media platform. It is quite incredible to still believe people disappear in the United States without a trace—but it is true.
According to Todd Mathews from the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NMUPS), a database of information on missing people that works under a law enforcement agency, it is estimated that about 90,000 Americans are considered missing at any given time or period.
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About 750,000 missing persons are reported each year, with people under the age of 18 making up 40 percent of the total as released in the 2014 stats by the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. According to the Web site of the LAPD, “Approximately 70 percent of all reported missing persons are found or voluntarily return within 48 to 72 hours; their disappearance may have actually been a misunderstanding or related to a mental health, substance abuse, or personal issue.”
Some of us believe that majority of the children who go missing fall victim to random kidnappers, but what we don’t know is that many of those below the age of 18 who are reported missing are known to be runaways or were abducted by a non-custodian family member.
But this doesn’t mean that these victims are not in danger or that non-custodian family member abductions aren’t as serious. According a study and report led by ABC news in 2013, 115 of those children who go missing each year have been kidnapped by strangers.
May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day, a day that is meant to be spent raising awareness about the alarming rise in the number of missing children cases around the world. Nowadays, reports on missing children have slowly become part of daily news.
In the past month alone, three haunting cases of missing children have gained attention: 1977 missing persons case for Bernard “Bunny” Ross Jr. received renewed interest after a member of his family received a letter from an anonymous person claiming to know Ross’s whereabouts. Second is the release of a special edition Belgian coin that depicts the faces of missing children. Third is the planned retrial for the man who had confessed to the murder of Etan Patz, a child who disappeared in 1979 and was one of the first missing people to be pictured on a milk cartons.
Below is a video of the most haunting missing persons’ cases from this century.