About National Missing Children’s Day
Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child becomes missing or is abducted. At the end of 2017, the Bureau’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Persons File contained more than 32,000 records of children under the age of 18.
National Missing Children's Day has been commemorated in the United States on May 25th, since 1983, when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan. It falls on the same day as the International Missing Children's Day, which was established in 2001.
On May 25, 1979, Etan Patz disappeared from a New York City street on his way to school. Even before cases of missing children routinely garnered national media attention, Etan’s case quickly received a lot of coverage. His father, a professional photographer, disseminated black-and-white photographs of Etan in an effort to find him. The massive search and media attention that followed focused the nation’s attention on the problem of child abduction and lack of plans to address it.For almost three years national media attention was focused on Atlanta, Georgia, where the bodies of young boys and girls were discovered in lakes, marshes, and ponds along roadside trails. By the time a suspect was arrested and identified in 1981, 29 bodies were recovered. The suspect was apprehended, convicted, and now serves a life sentence in prison.