Kyron is just one of many missing kids
Other children don’t get same attention as this case
BY JENNIFER ANDERSON
The Portland Tribune, Jul 8, 2010
Years ago, their images were plastered on milk cartons.
Nowadays, missing children’s images are posted on websites, updated with digitally altered photos to show what they would look like five, 10, 20 or more years later.
In Oregon, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children database shows 44 children who’ve gone missing during the past 35 or so years, including several as recently as this past May.
The majority fall into three categories: “endangered runaways,” “parent/family abductions” and others who “may be in the company of an adult male.”
None of them has generated nearly as much of a media frenzy as Kyron Horman, the 7-year-old last seen June 4 at his school in rural Northwest Portland.
During the past five weeks, the criminal investigation into his disappearance has taken bizarre twists and turns, prompting Kyron’s parents to urge the media to keep the focus on their son because they believe he is alive and want him safely returned.
For some citizens, however, the nonstop coverage of the missing boy’s case is prompting them to ask: What about other missing children?
“Why is such a big media deal being made about this particular child disappearing?” one reader wrote online in response to a recent Tribune story about Kyron’s case. “I’m not saying that I lack sympathy for this missing child, but why is the media covering every minute of this investigation, when there are plenty of other missing children that are not in the news?”
Some readers have cited the case of 5-year-old Jamie Mejia and her 1-year-old brother, Ubaldo, of Portland, who went missing on May 19, two weeks before Kyron. Why haven’t they been plastered across the news?
In that case, missing child databases have stated that the children “may be in the company of their mother,” although the Portland police say they can’t comment because the Oregon Department of Human Services is involved.
Many child advocates, however, say that no matter the circumstances, more attention must be given to all missing child cases to keep them in the public eye.
“It’s often essential to solving these cases,” says Meaghan Good of Venedocia, Ohio, founder of the Charley Project, an online database she created in 2004 that profiles missing persons’ “cold” cases (those that are more than six months old). “Even if the media doesn’t help find the person directly, it’s in people’s minds.”
In the case of runaways, she says, “just because they ran away doesn’t mean they’re safe. There’s a substantial portion that turn up dead.”
Looking for attention
Judy Maher agrees. The Wilsonville founder of the Child Seek Network used the “Missing Kyron Horman” Facebook page she created to relay an Amber Alert this week for a missing 4-year-old girl in Missouri, apparently snatched by someone as she played in her front yard.
Nationally, stranger abductions account for just 2 percent of missing child cases, but they do happen – as recently as a June 9 attempt in St. Helens, in which police arrested a man for allegedly trying to grab a boy.
Maher says she has heard some comments from people who were upset that she used the Kyron site to post an Amber Alert, as well as to link to other missing kids’ cases here and nationwide. But she says she won’t stop.
“I can’t turn my back on a missing child,” she says. “I figure I’m just going to put (the Missouri girl) on here. … There’s 58,000 people (following the page) that can help keep their eyes open.”
In Maher’s eight years of tracking missing children cases, two cases in particular stand out. One involved a father who came to her three years ago, heartbroken that his daughter had run away. He had tried, unsuccessfully, to get the media to get her name out to help bring her home.
mais na ligação acima............ continua
“Kyron is getting the media attention and it’s well-deserved,” Maher says. “I wish every child could get the attention they deserve.”