Kidnapping State Fair - Advice for Parents
Abduction From State Fair
Kidnapping stories are very common, and advice to parents for prevention needs to be available everywhere. Why are these abductions happening to children and teens? Every time you turn on the TV, you hear another report of a missing teen or child. It makes you want to keep your children at home. Maybe that is why so many parents home school their children these days. There is so much technology that lures teens - the Internet and social networking, texting, cell phones, in addition to strangers lurking at schools and in neighborhoods. Following is the sad story of a kidnapping from the Oklahoma State Fair that was never solved.
Parents Must Protect Their Children
Kidnapping Story of Two Teen Girls
True Kidnapping Story
Some time ago, a very sad situation occurred in my area. Two thirteen year old girls were at the Oklahoma State Fair, and someone was to pick them up later. After several hours, they called home to say a man at the fair offered them money to load stuffed animals in a truck. Someone gave permission and instructed them to call back for a ride. The parents never received a call. The devastation was overwhelming. Searches took place, and newscasts became difficult to watch. Days went by, then weeks, then months with no word. It was like a nightmare that would not stop. Pictures of the girls were everywhere. Police later arrested a man, but no proof existed he abducted them, and he is now deceased. The two girls continue to be missing, and police believe the man they had in custody was the kidnapper.
What Went Wrong?
When you look at the kidnapping situation, what went wrong? The famous words of warning to children are, "Never talk to strangers."Teens are abducted more than children of other ages. Sometimes questionable people visit fairs with ulterior motives. This man had a badge on his shirt, and some boys had just done some work for him. This led the girls to believe he was legitimate. Anybody could buy a badge. People sometimes even impersonate police officers with believable uniforms.
Parental and Child Caution Needed
With the crime rate today, a parent might not give such permission to a teen. However, society is composed of all kinds of parents, some of whom may not be capable of making good decisions or some who make snap decisions. Parents must have sharp minds every second of the day, and be cautious and observant. A few years after the incident, my daughter, age 13, wanted to go to the State Fair with a friend and no adult. I said no and told the mother my reason. The mother was amazed at my decision and stated, "I trust my daughter." How many mothers have said that and later regretted their decision?
Children Must Stay Away From Strangers
Statistics and Amber Alert
Every forty seconds in the United States, a child kidnapping takes place or a child goes missing, according to statistics. Three kinds of kidnapping exist - family, acquaintance, or strangers as perpetrators. The stranger kidnapping usually happens with females and takes place outdoors. That is what happened in this case. The Amber Alert is a Godsend to humankind. In general, the Amber Alert covers children under age 17, and follows strict guidelines, Factors that parents and children need to keep in mind to prevent kidnapping are as follows:
Children Need to Stay Away from Approaching Cars
Be Careful at Fairs
Prevent Kidnapping - Advice for Parents and Children
- Do not talk to strangers
- Children/teens need to walk together whenever possible
- Be observant and cautious at all times.
- Know your child's friends and their parents.
- When children reach age to be home alone, they must lock door and not let anyone in and not tell anyone they are alone. Leave list of phone numbers for them.
- Know where your children are. Set boundaries as to outside activities and places to hang out
- Be sure to check references of those who may care for child
- Do not leave the house before checking in with parents even to visit across street
- Give schools the names of those allowed to pick up child from school
- Tell your children to call if any suspicious activity
- Tell child to run, if needed. to a lighted store or safe place
- Make sure children know who to call or where to go in emergency
- Instruct children about online safety. Monitor as needed.
- If a car stops while child is walking or playing, do not answer driver and get away from car
- If a friend of your child knows something suspicious, they need to alert someone.
- Accompany child to public areas until they are mature enough to handle it
- When you have looked everywhere, call police for Amber alert. Abductions by strangers are highly sensitive.
*List may not be all inclusive. See resources at bottom of page for additional information. You may add any other rules you set for yourself.
Abduction is the most terrifying thought for every parent. You cannot control everything about your child, but if you control what you can, your action may save a life. The parents in my area who lost their child will never be the same. The sad part of it is that many people ingest dangerous substances while others suffer mental instability. It may not be their fault, as the home life of some perpetrators has left them with scars that may never heal. However, they must take responsibility for their actions. Even when an arrest takes place, as in this kidnapping story, insufficient evidence may result in freedom for the alleged perpetrator. The Amber alert was not in effect in this story as issue date was 1997. However, as of 2007, the system brought home 333 children. The hearts of those parents, once in broken pieces, have found mending and freedom from a lifetime of anguish. Advice to parents - Don't let anyone in your family become a kidnapping story. Don't let your child go to a State Fair without an adult.
- FAQ: Statistics
Frequently asked questions including statistcs on missing children
- :::Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters:::
Additional information on a state's instructions on Amber Alert
- Preventing Abductions
It's important to teach your kids to be cautious without filling them with fear or anxiety. Here are ways to lessen the chances that your child will be abducted.