New partnership to help find missing children in DC region, nationwide

A new effort is underway to find missing children in our region and nationwide.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has partnered with Ring to get photos of missing kids in front of people most likely to help.

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Under the initiative announced Wednesday, NCMEC will utilize Ring’s Neighbors app to post photos and information about missing children. The Neighbors app allows people to stay updated on what’s happening in their immediate community, and anyone can download it. The posts will specifically target people in the five-mile radius where the child was last seen or other locations of interest.

“Perhaps the trajectory in which we believe the abductor may be taking that child,” said Callahan Walsh, child advocate with NCMEC.

The first child featured is Alicia Navarro, a 15-year-old with autism missing for three months from Glendale, Arizona.

”Not just for Alicia, just in general, I’m really excited they did this,” said her mother, Jessica Nunez.

Nunez said support like this is why she’s not losing faith that her daughter will come home safe.

“I know it’s awkward for me to say this, but I feel blessed,” she said through her tears. “I really do. There’s good people out there, not just bad.”

Nunez is far from alone in dealing with the heartbreak of a missing child. According to NCMEC, the FBI reports that in 2018, there were 424,066 NCIC entries for missing children. In 2017, the total number was 464,324.

“We know the most important tool when it comes to the recovery of a missing child is a photo of that child,” said Walsh. “And Ring, through their Neighbors app, is allowing us to get those images of our missing children’s cases in front of even more eyeballs, increasing the chances that someone may spot that child and hopefully be able to reunite them with their families.”