Where did all of the children go? It’s like they turned a corner and walked into a vortex.
I didn’t want to look, but couldn’t help but open the latest Missing Kids magazine to gaze at their faces. They are all strangers to me, but my mind quickly replaces them with images of my own children.
How did these kids just disappear without a trace?
I was a journalist in Victoria when Michael Dunahee vanished on March 24, 1991 from an elementary school playground while his parents played baseball. When the news broke, countless people began looking for the four year old like he was their own.
It’s 22 years later and his parents are still wondering where he is, and they’ll never stop wondering and hoping until their last dying breath.
We can never relate to such anguish until we’ve been there. But the scary reality is how close we come to that fine line between having our children and losing them.
How often have we been complacent by letting our kids out of our sight for a few moments in Walmart or Value Village? How often have we left them in the car while we scooted into a store to buy milk? Perhaps someone was watching and waiting for an opportunity to snatch our kids away, never to be seen again.
Whatever happened to Jeffrey Stuart Surtel who was last seen at his residence in Mission on April 28, 2007? It is believed he was riding a blue CCM mountain bike with yellow forks.
Where did Tom Anthony Marsden go on July 7, 1984 from Summit Lake? Or Corina Angelica Sperling, who vanished from Coquitlam on May 11, 1998?
Every year, more than 50,000 reports of missing children are made to police in Canada. According to Missing Children International, one of the biggest reasons children disappear without a trace is because they are abducted and sold for body parts all over the world.
Studies indicate that one in five children are sexually solicited online, so parents should strictly monitor what their kids are doing on the Internet, particularly when they are chatting on social networking sites.
Another disturbing trend is seeing young children walking alone to and from school. They should travel with friends or be driven to school.
There have been reported cases of attempted abductions in BC and in the Okanagan, where strangers have tried to convince children to get into their vehicles.
Many parents are more diligent now in keeping their kids safe, but some are still complacent by thinking it will never happen to them . . . until their children vanish into thin air.
For more information on this topic, visit www.missingkids.ca. To search current missing children cases in Canada, visit www.ourmissingchildren.gc.ca.