Missing children cases are heartbreaking , for the very reason that children are involved. Children who should be protected at all times, children who should not feel fear, pain or distress. When children are involved, the entire society is ready to stand up and take action; and this is how it should be!
1. Etan Patz
In 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz left from home to the bus station, as he did many times before, with his parents. This time, he had been allowed for the first time to go alone. The bus stop was only 2 blocks away from his home, but the child never got to the bus. When Etan did not come back from school that day, his mother called the police. Even though the authorities made everything to find him and his face was one of the first to appear on the back of the milk cartons, Etan Patz was never found again.
2. Adam Walsh
In 1981, Adam Walsh was also 6 when he was left alone to play video games while her mother was shopping in a mall. When she returned to the arcade, she saw that her son was not there anymore. Despite all efforts, Adam Walsh could not be found either. However, one year later, his head was found in a waterway near the mall. This odious crime devastated America and transformed his father into an advocate for missing children. His killer was never found.
3. Johnny Gosch
Third on this list of missing children is Johnny Gosh. He was delivering the papers in 1982, when he vanished without a trace. The three day waiting policy delayed the police investigation and maybe sealed the faith of Johnny Gosch. No trace of the boy was ever found again but his disappearance was touching enough to change a law : from that case on, many states changed their law concerning disappearing cases and allowed police to start the investigation immediately when children were involved.
4. Sabrina Aisenberg
One of the saddest cases of missing children is that of Sabrina, who was just a 5 months old baby when she disappeared from her own home, in 1997. She disappeared in the course of the night, from her crib and was never found again, despite the national media campaign that was launched immediately after.
5. Reigh Boss
The case of Reigh Boss is a happy one because the little girl aged 7 was rescued in matter of days after her abduction, in July, 2008. The kidnapper was her own father, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who planned to never return her to her mother, of whom he had divorced. Gerhartsreiter had been a stay-at-home dad for little Reigh and thus, had a strong connection with her daughter.
6. Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Owensby
Mike Devlin, a man with a destined name, kidnapped two boys whom he tortured without mercy in his home: Shawn Hornbeck was only 11 year old when he was abducted and was held in his prison for 4 yearrs. In 2007, Mike Devlin stroke the second time. The kidnapped boy was this time the 13 year-old Ben Owensby. Fortunately, police soon started to suspect Devlin and, being questioned about kidnaps, he finally confessed and led the police officers to the two boys who were found alive.
7. Polly Klaas
Polly Klaas, aged 12, was kidnapped in 1993, during a sleep-over party at her home, when a wanted criminal hid in her home. Richard Allen Davis tied up the other girls and run away with Polly. Soon after, a national campaign was started in order to find the abductor and many shows covered this case. Davis was caught but, unfortunately, he had already murdered the young girl. For his crime, Davis received the death penalty.
8. Elizabeth Smart
The kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart occurred in 2002. She was sleeping in her bedroom, which she shared with her younger sister, Mary Katherine. As seen before in the case of missing children, America reacted and the case was featured on national television, while the search for Elizabeth included thousands of volunteers. Her effort was in vain but the 9-year-old Mary Katherine finally was able to recognize the voice of the kidnapper as belonging to Brian David Mitchell, a handyman who had worked in the smart home. Mitchell and his wife were found and in their company, they found Elizabeth who was unharmed.
9. Caylee Anthony
This is one of the most famous cases of missing children in history. It all started in 2008, when Cassey Anthony reported her daughter missing after 5 weeks since when she had disappeared. In December 2008, her remaining were discovered in a nearby wood and her mother was accused of having murdered her, because of a decomposition smell that the police found in Cassey Anthony’s truck and because of her contradicting statements and odd behavior. However, her trial ended with her being declared “not guilty”, which outraged America.
10. Madeleine McCann
The most famous case of missing child in the world is that of Madeleine McCann who disappeared from her hotel room in Portugal, where she had traveled with her parents in a vacation. The case was granted worldwide attention and huge efforts were made to discover what could have happened to the 4-year-old girl. She was not found so far.
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