COLUMBUS, Ohio – Of more than 19,000 children who were reported missing in Ohio last year, nearly 99 percent came home safely, but today is a day set aside to remember those who did not.
Today is National Missing Children’s Day, a day when we are asked to think about all children in the US who remain missing, including 690 from Ohio.
Students at Columbus Preparatory Academy released 690 balloons yesterday, representing each one of those missing Ohio children.
“Some of these children have been missing for decades, but the discovery of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michele Knight in Cleveland this month reminds us that we can’t give up hope,” said Attorney General Mike DeWine, who attended the balloon launch.
Berry, DeJesus and Knight were between 14 and 19 years of age when they were abducted and held prisoner for a decade.
According to the Attorney General’s Missing Children Clearinghouse annual report, also released yesterday, 98.8 percent of the 19,219 children reported missing children in 2012 were recovered safely.
There were 72 reported family abductions in 2012, 12 non-family abductions and 62 attempted abductions, according to the report. Of incidents where the outcome was known, 53 percent involved children being able to walk or run away with no physical contact, DeWine said.
DeWine and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children encourage parents to take 25 minutes to talk with their children about staying safe:
Teach children how and when to use 911.
Walk or drive the route to and from school with children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help.
Remind children it’s okay to say no to anything that makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
Practice “what-if” situations and ask children how they would respond.