Tips for parents when a child disappears

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- It is a startling figure: 800,000 kids are reported missing in this country.

Finding them depends on the quick action of their parents and the police. But there are some quick actions parents and caretakers can take that might make it easier to find the child.

Police officers say if your child does not turn up where he or she was supposed to be, or disappears in seconds do not panic. The majority of kids who are reported missing are often runaways or involved in custody battles between parents.

Lt. Jimmy Bacon, from the Fairfax County Police Department says if the child missing is very young (not old enough to cross the street by himself), call police right away, then check with the child's friends or school to see if he has turned up. Bacon says you should provide as much information as you can on the first call, such as the child's appearance.

If you are dealing with an older child you should monitor social media like Facebook and Twitter. If the child is in direct danger, because of a health condition or specific evidence of an abduction the police may issue an Amber alert regionwide.

Police can also track a child's cell phone if it is left on. But Bacon notes if the child is a runaway that might not be an option.

The Center Missing and Exploited children says the for cases they have dealt with is now at 97 percent.


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