Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Case Update: Body of Buried Fresno Teen is Steven Humphrey, Person of Interest Named in Homicide



The body buried in the backyard of a neighbor's home in southeast Fresno is that of missing 15-year-old Steven Humphrey, according to the Fresno County Coroner David Hadden.

The body was identified through DNA from the homicide victim's teeth. The cause of death is not yet known, Hadden said.

Humphrey disappeared more than four years ago in early 2009. His body was discovered April 16, 2013 after police received a tip that he was buried at 235 S. Dearing Ave., about a block from where he lived.

Police have remained tight-lipped about details surrounding Humphrey's death, but his father, David Essman, said that a police detective confirmed Steven’s remains had been found.

Essman also said he suspects a man living in the home, Ricardo Rosas, 23, killed his son, who disappeared on January 26, 2009. He said police have told him that his son's grave was under a shed and that Rosas was living in the shed.

"I don't think my son crawled in there and covered himself up with dirt and then built a shed over him," Essman said.

Fresno County Superior Court records show that Rosas and Humphrey's older sister were in a relationship and that he beat her a few months before Humphrey's disappearance. And two months after his disappearance, Rosas firebombed Humphrey's home with Molotov cocktails, the records show.

Rosas, a Bulldog gang member, is currently in the Fresno County Jail on a probation violation and faced a court hearing in late April. He is also a “person of interest” in the ongoing murder investigation of Humphrey.

Lt. Mark Salazar identified Ricardo Rosas, 23, in connection with the death of 15-year-old Steven Humphrey, adding "we are still collecting and reviewing evidence."

Salazar publicly linked Rosas to the teen's death on the same day that Rosas was sentenced in Fresno County Superior Court to four years in prison for violating his probation.

During the hearing, a police detective sought a court order to swab Rosas' mouth for DNA before he is transferred to prison.

Judge Glenda Allen-Hill granted the request, saying Rosas' sentence includes submitting to DNA sampling as well as any search of his property by law enforcement. The judge also noted that Rosas' crime -- he pled no contest to corporal injury to a spouse, a crime that occurred in June 2012 when he was already on probation -- was carried out with "cruelty and viciousness," and that he threatened the victim and her family.

After the hearing, Humphrey's grandmother, Dorothy Essman, said in a telephone interview: "Thank God, he's going to prison."

Essman said she and other family members believe Rosas killed her grandson because he stood up to Rosas for hitting Humphrey's older sister.

Court records show that they were in a relationship and that he beat her in September 2008 -- a few months before Humphrey disappeared in the late afternoon of Jan. 26, 2009, after he told his sister he was headed to the store. To get to the store, he had to walk past Rosas' home, Essman said.

In a plea agreement for the 2008 case, Rosas pleaded no contest to corporal injury and was sentenced to three years' probation, 133 days in jail and a yearlong batterer's treatment program.

Then, two months after Humphrey's disappearance, Rosas firebombed Essman's home with Molotov cocktails, court records show. In August 2009, Rosas pleaded no contest to felony possession of flammable material and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Even though Rosas is headed to prison for violating probation, Essman said, her family is glad police aren't giving up in finding her grandson's killer.

"He should never get out of prison or he'll do it again," Essman said.

Written by Pablo Lopez and Anthony Gonzalez
Edited by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

10 Ways to Test Your Child About Stranger Danger

According to estimates by the United States Department of Justice, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year. This figure includes kidnappings by relatives, acquaintances and strangers as well as runaways and other missing children. While abduction by a person the child knows may be difficult to prevent for various reasons, there are things you can do to keep your child from getting into a car or walking away from a safe place with a stranger. Once you have trained your child not to talk to or leave with anyone they do not know (and possibly those they do), there are also ways to test the effectiveness of your efforts.
  1. Watch the Dateline Stranger Danger Episodes – View “My Kid Would Never Do That: Stranger Danger” episodes on Dateline. After viewing the episodes to familiarize yourself with the topic, watch the segments in which a stranger approaches a child together. Have your child view the initial encounter, and stop the segment before the child in the video reacts. Ask your child what he would do, and discuss the answer accordingly.
  2. Give Your Child the Stranger Danger Quiz – The Stranger Danger quiz is a simple online quiz that can help your child understand that just because people look “normal” doesn’t mean that they are safe. The quiz consists of pictures of people and asks if the person is safe or not. The bottom line is that all of these people are strangers. The quiz is an attempt to show kids that anyone they don’t know is a stranger.
  3. Check with Your Local NPO or Police Department – Some NPO's and police departments run abduction safety programs. These programs set up scenarios and have engaging conversations to test whether or not your child can be tempted to leave with a "stranger." Parents are encouraged to attend so they to will become educated in training their children to make the right choices, while kids learn to recognize real world dangers.
  4. Enlist the Help of Friends – You can set up your own role play with friends you trust. Watch some of the stranger danger test videos to get an idea of how to set up your scenario. Rehearse   scenarios with your child. Pick a location like a park where you can easily find a place to watch from a safe distance. Tell your child you will be right back, and then have your friend come up to the child using a ruse to get the child to go with him. Discuss the results with your child.
  5. Ask “What If?” – On outings ask your child “What if?” questions about a variety of people: point to the ice cream truck and ask, “What if the ice cream man told you he was giving out free ice cream and wanted to show you the inside of his truck, would you go with him?” “What if that nice little old lady over there asked you to come to her house to help her plant some flowers, would you do it?” Make sure that your child understands that just because someone looks friendly or nice does not mean it is okay to go anywhere with them unless they have your permission.
  6. Talk About Recognizing Strangers – This is a homemade version of the Stranger Danger Quiz. Collect an assortment of photos of people your child knows and does not know, show him one picture at a time and ask if this person would be all right to go with if you weren’t there with him. Reiterate for every stranger that “You don’t know this person, so it’s not okay for you to go anywhere with her.” You are driving home the point that anyone you don’t know is a stranger.
  7. Look for Teachable Moments The news is rife with stories about kids being abducted. Using your discretion and taking age-appropriate content into account, talk to your child about real world stranger danger. Ask your child what he would have done in the same situation.
  8. Quiz Kids on “Safe” Strangers – Even though there is a propensity to instill a fear of all strangers in children, there are some strangers with whom they should become acquainted with, such as law enforcement officers, fire fighters and school personnel. Moms with children in tow can be helpful too. Make sure that your child knows that some strangers are safe to talk with, and even to approach for help if they’re scared. Quizzing kids on which strangers could be safe ones is a great way to introduce the subject, and can help you avoid the natural tendency to warn your child away from any and all strangers.
  9. Ask Questions About Online Predators – Quiz your kids about online safety. Do your kids know not to give out personal information or clues regarding where they live to people they meet online? This is another time when it may be wise to share actual news reports with your children so they will understand why it is critical not to share personal information with online strangers, even though the person may seem to be friendly. Making a verbal quiz about online predators and Internet strangers a non-negotiable aspect of preparing him for his own social media accounts or ownership of a web-capable smartphone is essential.
  10. Make Sure Your Child Understands That There are Familiar Strangers – Just as parents need to teach their children to be wary of strangers, when it comes to abductions and molestations the vast majority are perpetrated by known family and friends. These are the familiar “strangers” that often go unknown for years. Teach your child basic personal safety precautions like good touch, bad touch. Make sure your child knows your phone number and address. Keep the lines of communication open and stress to your child that no one should ever tell him to keep a secret from you at all, but especially not one that makes him feel uncomfortable. Perpetrators are known to threaten kids that they will hurt or kill the parents if the secret is exposed. Drill into your children that no one will hurt you or them for telling a secret that they’ve been threatened to keep.
 ###

Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to schools, parent groups, companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations about Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION"   

Written by Allan Miller & Edited by Anthony Gonzalez

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Vacation: Family Travel Plans & Tips

Vacation!  A word that brings joy to us all!  But for many of us, especially parents, it can raise a certain level of uneasiness because many times we are venturing off into the great unknown when we pack the family up to hit the open road.  There are many unknowns, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.  A sense of adventure and exploring those "unknowns" together with the family can be an awesome bonding experience.  But we must ensure our safety for a successful family vacation. Here are some helpful suggestions for family travel ideas, activities, and safety tips.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to Help Kids Feel Safe After Tragedy

In the days and weeks following a high-profile tragedy such as the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings or the Moore, Oklahoma tornado leveling schools and neighborhoods , kids may have a lot of questions about whether something like this could happen to them. In fact, parents themselves may have a lot of worries about the safety of raising children in this world. It's normal for both adults and kids to feel anxious after such a publicly devastating event, but there are things you can do to minimize the stress and maintain a sense of normalcy.

Here are some tips from psychologists. 

It's Normal to Be Concerned. Youngsters who have heard or seen news reports about disturbing events may be reluctant to return to the classroom and other public spaces. Moms and dads may even feel anxious about dropping their kids off at day care or school, after hearing about tragedies that happen to children. "Parents are following instincts to be alarmed and to be fearful," says nationally certified school psychologist Eric Rossen, Ph.D. But Rossen stresses that we need to remember these are isolated incidents. "It's important to continue to remember that this is such a rare event, statistically and objectively speaking. It's hard to bear because it's so rare."

Take a News Break. While you may be interested in watching twenty-four-hour news for all the latest developments, your children may not be able to handle that. The American Psychological Association recommends limiting the amount of time spent watching news reports, as constant exposure may actually heighten their anxiety and fears. 

Answer Kids' Questions – Without Giving Them Unnecessary Details. Even if you limit news exposure in your home, chances are your kids may hear details—accurate or not—on the playground. When they return to school after a national tragedy, it's a good idea to ask what they've heard.
"A lot of times, children misunderstand what's happening," says Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., author of "Smart Parenting for Smart Kids.” "For example, if they saw a picture of men carrying guns, it looked like there was a lot of them. Let them know the gunman is not in our backyard. This is not something that's happening at many different schools."

And if kids have questions, Rossen says the key is to answer—not avoid—them without giving too much information. As parents we must remember, we do not need to provide the graphic details nor share the images. Answer the question and support your child by reassuring them that tragedies and natural disasters of this magnitude are rare. At which point, you can discuss your "family plan" for emergencies and turn the tragedy into a pro-active family activity by including your children.

Maintain a Regular Schedule. While it may be tempting to keep your kids close to your side after a devastating event, child psychologists agree that sticking to a regular routine helps kids to get past their distress. "By bringing our children to school, we are communicating a very important message about courage and resilience, about going on despite terrible things that happen," says Kennedy-Moore. For preschoolers, talk them through their day using very concrete examples, such as, "You're going to be with Mrs. Smith, and she's going to be in charge of you. Daddy's going to get back at lunch, and we'll go to the playground." 

Pay Extra Attention to Your Kids. When you are at home with your children, make sure to be engaged with them. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends that parents focus on their children during the week following a tragedy, including spending some extra time reading or playing with kids before bed, to foster a sense of closeness and security. 

Model Confidence and Assurance. Don't forget that you are your child's role model during times of stress. Kennedy-Moore explains, "Children look to their parents to see how scared they should be." Of course, if you are feeling anxious, make time to address your own needs, such as talking to friends or family or seeking guidance from religious leaders or counselors. 

Find Solace or Take Action. Even children can feel better by doing something, whether it's a spiritual pursuit, a political activity or just an act of kindness. Look for activities that are age-appropriate. "Find a child-sized way to take action," says Kennedy-Moore, "saying a prayer together, or raising money, or signing a petition, or sending a card or letter." 

Signs of More Than Normal Stress. Watch for signs of excessive fear or anxiety in the next few weeks. According to the American Psychological Association, signs of stress in children can include trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating on school work, or changes in appetite. If those symptoms last for more than a week or two, ask your child's teachers if they are observing the same thing and consult your school psychologist or pediatrician.

Focus on the Positive. Experts, from psychologists to religious leaders, remind us to focus on the good. For starters, remember how unusual these tragedies are. "Statistically speaking, it's safer for them to be in a school than for a parent to put them in a car," says Rossen.

Tough times can be a reminder for us to cherish our family and loved ones each day. Kennedy-Moore reminds us, "There is more joy than sorrow in life."

Writtenby Grace Hwang Lynch: writer, consultant, and mom based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She blogs about Asian fusion family and food at HapaMama.com 
Edited by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Partnership Will 'Bring Child Safety To A New Level Of Awareness'



On National Missing Children's Day, recognized nationally every May 25th, parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children are reminded to make child safety a priority and to encourage the public to sustain initiatives and efforts to reunite missing children with their families. It is the day when we honor the outstanding efforts of law enforcement personnel and private citizens who have made a difference in recovering abducted children and protecting children from exploitation.

It is also a day to take action to ensure your child’s safety and family’s well-being. In support of this ongoing endeavor we all share in, Child Quest International is proud to announce our partnership with If I Go Missing to bring child safety to a new level of awareness. This alliance brings the amazing resources of Child Quest International (CQI) together with the security of If I Go Missing (IIGM), forging a team that will make a difference.

At CQI, we pride ourselves on “Keeping Hope Alive” for all missing children and the left-behind families. We work diligently with both families and law enforcement alike to locate missing children using various investigation techniques focused on information dissemination and case management. Our services are free, and have contributed to over 3000 recoveries.

Through our partnership with IIGM, CQI will continue to be able to provide industry leading services for free to searching families and law enforcement. 

What is IIGM? 

IfIGoMissing.com is a proactive approach to protecting loved ones, providing users with a secure interface to store important identification and technological information. Once a missing person report is filed, the information gets transmitted to the police immediately.

“We are convinced that through education, awareness and use of the most high tech tools available, the chances of facing this type of tragedy can be almost completely eliminated. Peace of mind for your family and loved ones is priceless, but it does require your involvement,” according to Jeremy Reynolds, CEO IIGM.

With prevention and safety education being one of our main priorities at CQI, we believe we can really make things happen and teach families the importance of being proactive through this joint effort.

While nothing will ever replace open communications and teaching your child what to do in dangerous situations, no one can predict or prevent all possibilities of a potential abduction or other emergencies.

Now, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably asking yourself what sets IIGM apart from other online data storage vaults? 

Why IIGM? 

Firstly, IIGM is specifically engineered towards missing people.  That means the fields are laid out for you.  Many online vaults are simply places to store things.  IIGM has a prepared template telling users what the important info is in the event of a missing persons emergency.  Each field is labeled and has an explanation as to why it is important.  This is not a simple storage vault.  There are free text areas and areas to attach supplemental data.  Also, the info is stored in a Tier 1 data center.  Very secure.

Secondly, there are “social insurance” policies involved in the event of a missing persons emergency.  IIGM will provide PI assistance, Media assistance, and counseling assistance in the event of a missing persons emergency.

Thirdly, because it is specifically engineered towards missing people, there are “reporters.”  Reporters are appointed by you, the user, and are able to file a missing persons report on your behalf.  The account holder can identify up to 4 reporters.  Normal online vaults do no good if the whole family goes missing, or if the kids are at the grandparents’ house while the parents are on a cruise and unreachable.  The reporters have no access to the information, but can initiate a transfer to the police nonetheless. 

Finally, IIGM provides the transfer of info to the police.  That means the parents don’t have to run home to their computer to get the info stored on their computer and print everything out.  Once a missing persons report is filed with IIGM, we contact the police and transmit the data.

While that is a lot of tech talk, the point is very important. IIGM is more than a simple online storage server. It is a potential lifeline that goes above and beyond to ensure your family’s safety.

In support of Missing Children’s Day and CQI, IIGM has discounted their premium protection plan (33% OFF for limited time) AND will donate 25% of your purchase price to CQI recovery efforts and education programs. 

### 

Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to schools, parent groups, companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations about Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION"   

SJPD has arrested a teacher for attempting lewd acts with a minor

Suspect Grant Blair
San Jose, CA: The San Jose Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force arrested 41 year old Cupertino Resident Grant Blair for illegally meeting a minor to engage in lewd or lascivious behavior (California Penal Code Section 288.4 - Felony).

The suspect, who teaches 4th and 5th grade at Old Orchard School in the City of Campbell, contacted what he believed to be a minor on the internet and agreed to meet for sexual activity.  The "minor" was in fact a police officer posing as a 13 year old juvenile.  When the suspect arrived at the predetermined time and location, a park in San Jose, officers took him into custody without incident.  The suspect was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

As a precaution, Campbell Police Department detectives interviewed approximately 35 students at Old Orchard School who had prior contact with the suspect to ensure that there were no unreported incidents of lewd or inappropriate conduct.  Old Orchard School administration has cooperated with the investigation and no prior incidents were uncovered.  The suspect has been employed by the school for approximately one year.  The investigation into his previous employment is underway to ensure that there are no victims elsewhere.

"This case shows why ICAC is so valuable to our community," said Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel.  "Their job is finding and arresting child predators and, thankfully, they're really good at what they do."

Persons with information regarding this incident are urged to contact Detective Sean Pierce in the San Jose Police Department's ICAC (Sexual Assaults) Unit at (408)537-1381. Persons wishing to provide information anonymously may call Silicon Valley Crimestoppers at (408)947-STOP (7867) or may visit www.tipsubmit.org and may be eligible for a reward. 

Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to schools, parent groups, companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations about Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION"

Source http://www.sjpd.org/inews/viewPressRelease.asp?ID=1426
Edited by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International