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Age, Race, Gender and Socioeconomics play potential role in lack of resources for missing persons
Less media coverage and national resources available for missing persons over age 18, along with other potential social factors, leave families with minimal resources.
By: Next of Kin Registry
It has been almost 30 years since Kevin Collins vanished from San Francisco on February 10, 1984. One of the first children to appear on a milk carton, Kevin’s case garnered national media attention. However, as the Sidi family found out, how much help you receive may depend upon the age of your missing child and possibly even their gender. Unlike the disappearance of Kevin Collins, few missing persons ever become a household name.
As of August 1, 2013, there were 80,870 active missing person cases in the United States. The total number of active juvenile cases totals 40,671 missing children ages 0 - 17, and 11,025 active missing persons ages 18 - 21, with 29,174 active missing adults ages 22 - 99. Of the total number of active missing person cases 39,692 are missing males and the total number of individuals entered as disabled total 5,104.
In 1982, Congress enacted the Missing Children’s Act, requiring law enforcement to enter a missing child’s information into the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC). In 1984, President Ronald Reagan officially opened the doors of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to provide assistance to law enforcement and families of missing children up to age 17.
Suzanne’s Law, which passed in 2003, required that law enforcement enter any missing person between 18 - 21 years of age into NCIC. In addition to NCIC entry, Suzanne’s Law enables law enforcement to register 18 - 21 year olds with the NCMEC and profiled on www.missingkids.com, along with making additional resources available. However, despite the passage of Suzanne’s Law, many law enforcement agencies throughout the country are still unaware this law exists, and missing persons ages 18-21, are often not provided the services of NCMEC or properly entered into NCIC databases.
Sean was entered into National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS)
Typically, Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts are not available for young adults who vanish – even if severely disabled. According to the official Amber Alert website, one of the criteria for issuing an emergency broadcast is the missing person must be under age 17. The California Highway Patrol - Silver Alert website indicates the missing person must be 65 or older to issue a Silver Alert. Sean does not fit either requirement.
A family’s desperate efforts to find missing son transforms into national public awareness campaign.
The Sidi's have distributed a minimum 30,000 missing person fliers. They have also conducted a very impressive social media campaign. The Sidi’s immediately created a website for their son at www.seansidi.com
The Sidi family post updates on activities, dates of vigils, personal notes to Sean from family and friends, and “Calls to Action” asking for help from the public to “share” and post fliers of Sean nationwide, hoping to generate the one lead that will bring Sean home safe. They even announced a $5,000 reward.
According to NOKR’s National Director for Missing Adults, Sean is considered an extremely “high risk” missing person case but even his critical medical condition does not garner the same media attention as other missing persons.
“Sean’s medical condition places him in a category of individuals with a disability who are at significant risk of injury or victimization if not found immediately - and with the public’s help, I believe we can find Sean,” says Kym L. Pasqualini. “I’ve spent twenty years in the field of missing persons and services to families of missing adults are minimal, but there also exists disproportionate media coverage and historically we have had more difficulty getting media coverage for missing males, and the same is true for missing persons of different races and socioeconomic status.” NBC news Damsels in Distress (http://www.nbcnews.com/
Despite the challenges they have faced in their effort to find their missing son, Sean’s parents remain undeterred from continuing their aggressive public awareness campaign.
“We will never stop searching for Sean until he is found. Despite the many advances in the way law enforcement and media respond to missing child cases, since Kevin Collins’ disappearance 30 years ago, there is a serious lack of resources available when an adult goes missing,” says Lynn Ching, Sean Sidi’s mother. “It has been very difficult to obtain government assistance in our search for Sean. There is an urgent need for stronger laws to ensure timely, assistance in the search for missing adults, especially those with serious medical conditions.”
Please contact Lynn Ching at (415) 713-5913 for interviews. For general information and statistics about missing persons, you can reach Kym L. Pasqualini at (480) 466-0063 or kym.pasqualini@
Next of Kin Registry (NOKR) is a humanitarian non-profit 501c3 dedicated to bridging rapid emergency contact information. NOKR is a 100% volunteer work force with volunteers in 87 countries. NOKR is a resource on more than 92% of all State websites, the American Red Cross, International Committee for the Red Cross, Homeland Security Disasterhelp.gov, USA.gov, Ready FEMA, and other federal agencies, as a critical resource for daily emergencies. NOKR is also an official partner of Microsoft HealthVault. For more information, please contact NOKR Deputy Director Gerry DiStefano at (803) 319-3017 or Kym L. Pasqualini at (480) 466-0063. Visit NOKR's website at www.nokr.org.
Page Updated Last on: Aug 19, 2013