On the morning of May 25, 1979, Etan Kalil Patz left his apartment in the SoHo district of New York City. For the first time, he was walking by himself to the West Broadway school-bus stop to catch the bus to take him to school. Just two blocks. He was just 6 years old. And though he never arrived at school that morning, it was hours before the parents were notified that he was absent.
It was 33 years before Pedro Hernandez was arrested and convicted in the case. Hernandez confessed to New York City Detectives that he saw Etan waiting at the bus stop that morning. He walked out of the bodega where he was employed, up to Etan and asked him if he wanted a soda. Hernandez lured Etan into the basement of the bodega where he “choked him until his body went limp”. He put him into a plastic bag and a cardboard box, which he tossed into a dumpster. He told police that “Etan was still alive” when he left him there. Under New York law, a person can be convicted based on their confession and Hernandez was sentenced in November, 2012.
The decade long nationwide search for Etan Patz became the most publicized case since the murder of the Lindberg baby. It spurred the movement that put the faces of missing children on milk cartons
This nationwide attention to the plight of missing children led to a coast-to-coast movement. And on May 25, 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed every May 25th as “National Missing Children’s Day” to commemorate the anniversary of Etan’s disappearance.
Through the discipline, dedication, and determination of organizations such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), who sponsors the take 25 Campaign, we will continue our national effort to find and recover our lost children.
WHEREAS, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year; and
WHEREAS, on average, approximately 2,000 children are reported missing to law-enforcement agencies daily; and
APPROXIMATELY, 58,200 of these children are victims of non-family abductions and more than 200,000 are the victims of family abductions; and
WHEREAS, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) exists as a resource to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, help find missing children, and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them, and
WHEREAS, this special day is a time to remember those children who are missing and give hope to their families.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that, in partnership with NCMEC and its supporters, [city/county/state] proclaims May 25 as National Missing Children’s Day.
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that [city/county/state] urges the participation of local government, law enforcement, and communities in the protection of children and educating children about child abduction and sexual exploitation, and how to respond and seek help from law enforcement, social services, and NCMEC.
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that [city/county/state] encourages all individuals to take 25 minutes to help children stay safer.
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by [city/county/state]:
That May 25, [YEAR], is set aside as National Missing Children’s Day as part of [city/county/state]’s continuing efforts to prevent the abduction and sexual exploitation of children.
If your child is missing…
Call law enforcement immediately. Police are required by law to immediately take a missing child report and then promptly enter that report into the FBI’s NATIONAL CRIME INFORMATION CENTER.
After you have contacted local authorities, contact THE CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST© (1-800-843-5678).
PREVIOUS BLOG INFORMATION:
It is never too early to talk to your child about safety!