Some children you`ve heard about, but the names of others don`t get the media coverage they deserve, so we`re partnering with one group fighting to bring them all home.
Outside the Walmart in Tumwater, homemade signs and truck billboards filled the parking lot as families and first responders gathered for National Missing Children`s Day.
Kids who’ve vanished like Danica Childs from Federal Way, Kelsey Collins who disappeared from Everett five years ago this month, little Teekah Lewis from Tacoma, and Lindsey Baum from McCleary. “But, all of these cases are not even a morsel of how many kids are missing from this state.” said Michelle Bart, President and Co-Founder of The National Women`s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation. The number of active missing child cases is over 1,000 according to the Washington State Patrol.
The event was especially important for Sky Metalwala’s father, Solomon. “It really just brings back to the first day when it happened, you know. For me, it brings back lots of, `Ok, what am I supposed to do now?`, you know, `I don`t know what to do.” His son vanished more than two years ago. Sky’s mom claims she ran out of gas in Bellevue and left the toddler alone in his car seat while she went for help.
Experts advise every parent talk with their child about ‘Stranger Danger,’ online safety, and making sure kids know exactly what to do if they get lost. Bart strongly believes in the ‘Take 25 Campaign.’ “Take 25 minutes to educate and have the conversation with your kids before something happens, because the predators aren`t going to stop.”
Bart is an expert on missing kids. She`ll tell you every parent needs to make sure their kids have an ID kit, complete with a fingerprint card like the ones made here by Crime Stoppers of Olympia-Thurston County. “It’s so important to have events like this in order to let people know what they can do before something happens, because once something happens with your child and they go missing, it`s so difficult.
Gordon Trucking plays a huge role in finding missing kids with their ‘Homeward Bound’ program. On every rig, a child`s face. “We have about 100 trailers that are up and down the highways,” says Erik Anderson with Gordon Trucking. “We have trucks over the road that go local, regional, and nationwide.”
Through all the hurt and despair of losing a loved one, the families, like Solomon Metalwala, never give up hope. ‘I just encourage people to just keep the faith and keep believing that one day we will see our loved ones as we stick together as a unit.”
CLICK HERE to see photos all of the missing Washington kids.