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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Help Us, Help Missing Children

As a registered 501(c)(3), Child Quest International (CQI) has been dedicated to reuniting loved ones for the past 22 years. In that time, we have helped thousands of families in the location and recovery of their missing children. This year alone, we have been directly responsible for the safe recovery of 27 children.

Through our services, advocacy, and compassion, we have been a beacon of hope for many families who would otherwise have no place to turn to for help. We have helped thousands more across the USA and abroad through our safety education programs and resources that teach children how to protect themselves in dangerous situations such as a potential abduction or sexual abuse.

As any noble nonprofit does, we constantly do everything in our power to keep our overhead down and reinvest our limited funding resources back into our programs and services. But funding is forever a monkey on our back as a small grassroots agency. We are proud to never charge a fee nor ask for contributions from the families we help and the law enforcement agencies we assist in the horrific event that a child does go missing. We are here to help them, and not vice versa.

Sadly, working with a shoe-string budget, we are facing financial hardship. Because of our financial difficulty, these families we help everyday, many without ever meeting face to face, are in jeopardy of losing our services and expertise. We will continue to advocate for missing children and child protection, and continue to help families be reunited with their loved ones until the electric company turns off our porch light. But we don't want it to come to that. So we are reaching out to you. We need help from you. We are now on the side of needing help from those we have not met face to face.

If you can find it in your heart and in your wallets to make a tax deductible contribution to CQI, you will not just be helping CQI, you will be helping missing children and their loved ones as well. All contributions will fund our ongoing operations and services.

Safe and secure contributions can be made through our website. You can also contribute through our vehicle donation program. You will be provide with the proper charitable giving receipt for your tax deductible donation. Thank you for keeping hope alive!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Back to School: Safety Tips for Kids & Parents!


Top 10 Safety Tips for Kids:
  1. I know my full name, my parent's first and last names, and our home address. I also know my family’s emergency phone number (we recommend a parent’s cell phone number).
  2. I know that a stranger is anyone I don’t know well. Even people I recognize - like the mailman or ice cream truck driver - are strangers, and that someone can be a stranger even if they look nice or know my name.
  3. I never put my name on my clothes, jewelry, caps, or belongings where people can see it.
  4. I use the “Buddy System” and avoid walking to and from school or playing outside alone.
  5. I stay a safe distance (approximately three adult arm-lengths) away from strangers and stranger’s cars whenever I can, even if a stranger seems nice.
  6. I know to never get into anyone’s car or go into anyone’s house without my parent‛s permission no matter how nice the person acts, how they look, and no matter what he or she offers me.
  7. When I walk down the street, I always face traffic so that I can see if someone stops the car near me, and I never take shortcuts through deserted areas like creeks or vacant lots.
  8. I know to YELL, RUN, & TELL if someone I don’t know approaches me or makes me feel uncomfortable and scared in any way.  I know that running to a safe place and telling a safe person is better than hiding.
  9. I know when and how to use 9-1-1 and “0” (remember to hit “send” when dialing from a cell phone). I know I can dial 9-1-1 and “0” from a pay phone without any money.
  10. I tell my parents about things that happen to me that make me feel uncomfortable, sad, or scared.
Top 5 Safety Tips for Parents:
  1. Records: Keep the following records of your children in a safe place: any custody papers, current photographs, their height and weight, their description (including scars/birthmarks), fingerprints and passports. Update the photos and information regularly (annual school photo is perfect!).
  2. Safe people: Create a short list of safe people that you give permission for your children to go with. Tell them to call you before going anywhere with someone not on the list, even if they say it is an emergency. Law enforcement, firemen, and paramedics can be considered safe people in an emergency. We encourage parents to create a password with older children so that they can tell a trusted friend or family member the password if they ask them to pick up their child. This is risky with very young children because they can be tricked into telling the password. Precautionary reality: abductions by non-custodial parents are more common than stranger abductions. If you are divorced and have sole custody of your children, tell them whether their non-custodial parent is on the safe people list. To reduce the chance of potential family abductions, get a clear custody order that specifies visitation rights clearly, and know the non-custodial parent’s social security number, date of birth, current address and employment.
  3. Strangers: Define a stranger as anyone the child doesn’t know very well. It is important for children to know that people they have seen before (the mailman, the ice cream truck driver, etc.) are strangers if they don’t know them well, and that someone can be a stranger even if they look nice or know their name. Tell children not to tell strangers their names or where they live, and don’t put your children’s names on the outside of their belongings. Discuss the difference between "strangers" and how their intentions are "unknown" (they might want to trick us?) while public safety officers (i.e. Police, Firemen, Paramedics, etc) are there to help us in emergency situations.
  4. Clearly stated rules: Take the time to talk with your children regularly about safety and family rules. Let them know who can pick them up, and explain how they are expected to check in with you.
  5. Safe communication: Encourage your children to talk about their feelings. Ask about their day and about the people they encountered. Are they having any problems? Be open to listening more so than reacting. By creating an open dialogue with children – especially about the things that make them scared, embarrassed or sad – you make it easier for them to tell you about potentially dangerous situations they’ve encountered.
Is your child allowed to walk to school alone? Here are some things to consider.

Child Safety Tips by Child Quest International, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. For more safety tips and information, visit our website at www.childquest.org or join us on Facebook and Twitter. ©1990-2012



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Unsolved Missing Children Cases

Vanished, unexplained, and still missing. [Numerous] missing persons cases remain unsolved, forever filed as open investigations. Though many cases attract national attention and are broadcasted on multiple news mediums, many fall into obscurity. Here are some eerie and bizarre unsolved missing children cases you [maybe] haven’t heard about:


Molly Bish, a 16-year-old lifeguard, disappeared in 2000 in her hometown of Warren, Massachusetts. She was last scene when her mother, Magi Bish, dropped her off at a local swimming hole, where she worked. Molly’s towel, backpack and first-aid kit were still there at the scene when officials were notified of her disappearance, just a couple hours after her boss realized Molly was not at her post. A massive search under the supervision of Worcester County District Attorney John Conte and hundreds of volunteers at the time was the most costly in Massachusetts’ history. It surfaced no leads or answers. Three years later, after no strong leads, a piece of Molly’s clothing was discovered on a wooded hillside about five miles from where she was last seen. With further searching of the area, Molly’s bones were uncovered. Although there have been suspects tied to her disappearance, no evidence could link anyone to Molly Bish’s disappearance and murde. Website http://www.mollybish.org


A case from 1966 was reopened in 2007 after police reviewed television archive footage that appeared to show one of South Australia’s most notorious convicted killers at the scene of an early search for three missing children: Jane, Arnna, and Grant Beaumont, last seen on Glenelg Beach in 1966. The footage revealed the identity of a young man who had a striking resemblance to a youthful Bevan Spencer von Einem, who was suspected but never convicted of killing four young men in the late 1970s, known as the Family Murders. There have been several cases of child murder where the killer returned to the crime scene to observe investigations. In this case, no concrete evidence could be established linking Mr. Einem to the murders; the case remains unsolved. Website http://www.beaumontchildren.com


Sierra LaMar, from Morgan Hill, California  missed her bus to Sobrato High School and his been missing since March 2012. A suspect driving a red 1998 Volkswagen Jetta is thought to be linked to her disappearance. Twenty-one-year-old Antolin Garcia Torres, a Morgan Hill resident, was arrested on May 21, 2012 after officials found DNA in his car, a likely match to that of Sierra’s. The case made national headlines and galvanized the Morgan Hill community, where volunteers and sheriff's deputies continued to search. Sierra's family continues to hold out hope she will be found alive, while search parties attempt to return her body to the family. The search is ongoing to solve Sierra’s disappearance. Website http://findsierralamar.com

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A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, Child Quest International is dedicated to the prevention and recovery of missing, abused, and exploited children. If you are in need of services aimed at locating and reuniting missing children with their loved ones, or know someone who is, please contact us at 888-818-HOPE. Child Quest International never charges a fee to law enforcement or searching families for our services www.childquest.org

Original article, 8 Bizarre Unsolved Missing Person Cases You Haven't Heard About, by Jessica Straight on June 18, 2012. Reprinted with permission on July 10, 2012.