if it's not a game?
English Burnett, Editor
The popular game of Hide and Seek has caused
parents a skipped heart beat as they search for their children,
who have found the perfect hiding place.
But, what if its not a game? What if your child really is
Marcia Davis, Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Ripley County
Prosecutors Office, knows the scenario is real and wants
parents to be ready should they have to experience it.
We have brochures available in our office (prosecutors
office third floor of the courthouse in Versailles), she
told the Osgood Journal. The brochures contain a wealth of information
along with a card that has a place for a color photo that is to
be updated every six months, the childs fingerprints and
pertinent information should a child go missing. The brochures
are also available at the Ripley County Sheriffs Office
and will be available at the upcoming Versailles Pumpkin Show,
September 23 through 26. This information is so important,
While its not the most pleasant topic of conversation, its
one that cannot be ignored. Living in a rural area such as Ripley
County sometimes lulls people into thinking crime isnt a
big deal. Thats where they are wrong, Davis
noted. No one is exempt from the criminal element, no matter where
What do you do if you believe that your child is missing?
Information from the National Center for Missing & Exploited
Children gives some important information to parents.
Immediately call your local law-enforcement agency. Your first
action as a parent is critical to finding your child. When you
call police you need to provide your childs name, date of
birth, height, weight, and any other unique identifiers such as
glasses and braces. Tell them when you noticed your child was
missing and what they were wearing. This is where the information
card will help. Sometimes its hard to think when youre
After calling the police, then begin searching through closets,
piles of laundry, in and under beds, inside large appliances and
vehicles, including trunks, and any other small place a child
might like to hide or crawl.
You should also request that your childs name and identifying
information be immediately entered into the National Crime Information
Center (NCIC) Missing Person File.
After your have called local authorities you should report your
missing child to the National Center for Missing & Exploited
Children on this toll-free number: 1-800-843-5678.
Every year in America an estimated 800,000 children are reported
missing. Thats more than 2,000 children each day. Of that
number 58,000 are abducted by non-family members.
Another amazing statistic is that more than half of children who
would have been abducted have escaped by yelling, kicking, pulling
away, running, or attracting attention. Children need some basic
safety guidelines that could save their lives.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children give
some tips on keeping kids safe:
Teach your children their full names, address, and home
Make sure children know how to reach you at work or on
your cell phone.
Teach your children how and when to use 911.
Instruct children to keep the door locked and not to open
the door to talk to anyone when they are home alone.
Choose babysitters with care. Get references. Drop in unexpectedly
to see how your children are doing.
Learn about the Internet. Visit www.NetSmartz.org for more
information about Internet safety.
Caution children to never accept a ride from anyone unless
you have told them its okay.
Practice what if situations.
Teach your children that if anyone tried to grab them they
should make a scene, and make every effort to get away by any
means: kicking, screaming, resisting.
For more information on how to take 25 minutes to talk with your
child about safety and abduction prevention you can go online
A missing child is a parents worst nightmare,
stated Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel as he urges Ripley
County citizens to commit to making child safety a priority.
Davis invites parents to stop in the prosecutors office
or pick up a brochure at the upcoming Pumpkin Show and be prepared
for hopefully something that will never happen.