I remember thinking, "our son's been
murdered, and now we've got to be the ones to do something about it." It
was a sad thing for this country that the fight had to be led by two
broken-down parents of a murdered child. But we had to, because no
else was going to do it.
A study examined 403 attempted kidnappings by strangers or slight acquaintances that were reported by police or news media in 45 states from February 2005 to July 2006. It was conducted to learn how such attempts are foiled. The study did not look at successful abductions. Six in ten victims fought back and escaped, according to the ongoing study's initial findings. Three in ten ran away before any physical contact, and about 10% were saved when an adult nearby intervened.
The words "missing child" call to mind tragic and frightening kidnappings reported in the national news. But a child can be missing for many reasons, and the problem of missing children is far more complex than the headlines suggest. This October 2002 report by the NISMART provides an overview on this cruicial topic.
Kidnapping is widely recognized to involve very different dynamics and motives depending on the identity of the perpetrators and age of the victim. This June 2000 report by the NIBRS provides an overview of Juvenile Kidnapping Patterns, as well as statistics regarding Three Types of Perpetrators, Victim Age Patterns, Location, Additional Offenses, Weapon Usage, and Time of Day.
Data analyzed for 1999: That year, 115 stereotypical kidnappings were reported - ones in which children were abducted by strangers or barely known acquaintances, taken more than 50 miles, detained at least overnight or held for ransom. Half were sexually assaulted, and 40% were killed.
About one child is slain per 10,000 missing
In 80% of abductions by strangers,
the first contact occurs within a quarter mile of the child's home.
In many cases, the abduction does, too.
Most strangers grab their
victims on the street or try to lure them into their vehicles.
About 74% of the victims of nonfamily
child abduction are girls.
There are about 5700 active cases
carried in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's
In 1988 there were as many as
114,600 attempted abductions of children by non-family members, 4,600
abductions by non-family members reported to police, and 300 abductions
by non-family members where the children were gone for long periods
of time or were murdered. There were as many as 354,000 children abducted
by family members, 450,700 children who ran away, 127,100 children
who were thrown away, and 438,200 children who were lost, injured or
Each year 3,600 to 4,200 children are
abducted by someone outside the family; 1/2 of them are age 12 or
older; 2/3 are female; at least 19% of these abductors are not strangers
to their victims-Finklehor, p. 10. *The chance of a minor being kidnapped
by a stranger is 1 in 560, by a family member 1 in 180.
In a recent study of parents' worries by pediatricians
at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, nearly 3/4 of parents said
they feared their children might be abducted. 1/3 of parents said this
was a frequent worry-a degree of fear greater than that held for any
other concern, including car accidents, sports injuries, or drug addiction.
More than 1/5 of the children
reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
in nonfamily abductions are found dead.
More than 750,000 children were
reported to police and entered into the FBI's national crime computer
in 1993-more than 2,000 missing children a day.