May 24, 2013
Courtesy of Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) As we pause to commemorate Missing Children’s Day on May 25, we remember the high profile disappearances of six-year-old Etan Patz on May 25, 1979, of Adam Walsh in 1981, and the murders of 29 children in Atlanta, which resulted in a nationwide movement to raise awareness for children’s safety and to honor the memory of missing children. This movement’s hallmark is persistence – the dogged persistence of the dedicated law enforcement professionals tracking down every lead – and the faithful persistence of the families, friends and volunteers who never give up hope that these beloved children will be found. We saw 10 years’ worth of that persistent hope rewarded a few weeks ago in Cleveland when three victims were rescued more than a decade after their abduction. Their alleged kidnapper is now facing justice. And last year – 33 years after Etan Patz’s disappearance – his alleged abductor was found and arrested. We learned last week that his case is going to trial. On May 15, Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West honored nine people for their persistent efforts to find and rescue missing and exploited children and to bring perpetrators to justice. Among the honorees:
- three law enforcement officers, a prosecutor and a child advocate whose efforts led to the arrest and conviction of a North Carolina elementary school teacher who had for years been sexually molesting children and producing pornographic images of them;
- an Illinois detective whose work as a computer forensic specialist led to the arrest and guilty plea of a man who was producing and distributing pornographic images of children;
- two Walmart employees in Washington State whose quick response led to the recovery of a missing Arkansas teenager about to leave the country; and
- an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Louisiana, the lead prosecutor and driving force behind the largest child exploitation case ever prosecuted. His efforts resulted in more than 29 convictions, including a teacher, a police officer and a high-ranking member of the military.
- Missing Children’s Day Information and Resources
- Justice Department Recognizes Nine Individuals for Child Protection Efforts at Missing Children’s Day Ceremony
- Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary Speaks at the National Missing Children's Day Ceremony
- Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West Speaks at the National Missing Children’s Day Ceremony
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Updated April 7, 2017