Missing Children

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You’re on vacation at Disneyland with your nine-year-old daughter, in the

blink of an eye, your daughter goes missing, what would you do?


Take a moment and ask yourself what you would really do? Over the

years, I have given many seminars ranging from the use of cellular

telephones, to vehicle safety, to workplace safety, without a doubt missing

children invokes the most emotional response.


Many parents are reluctant to think of their child as missing, perhaps not

wanting to “Jinx” their child by addressing this issue. Others shy away

from any confrontation because the subject is too offensive to them. Still

others dismiss the idea of a missing child because they have taken some

type of action to responding to a missing child.


A couple of years ago, I began a seminar in Brentwood, California, by

asking the above question. I was somewhat surprised when a number of

parents produced an identification card for each of their children who

attended public schools in the area. I asked to see one, and found the

following: the school’s name, the child’s name, date of birth, a 3/4″ X 3/4″

picture of the child and a thumb print of the front of the card.


The back of the ID card had the contact information for The National

Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This organization is renown for

their work rescuing missing and exploited children. However, I felt the

members of the audience who had these cards placed too much faith in



On both the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) websites, each agency estimates

they receive between 800,000 to 900,000 reports of missing children

annually. A staggering number to address, let alone assist. If you take the

lesser number, the 800,000, divide it by one calendar year (365days),

these agencies receive almost 2,200 reports of missing children per day.


The thought of my child, if gone missing, having the potential of being

number 2,201 does not offer me a great deal of comfort. It is my belief the

school district did an admiral job by producing the children’s ID cards,

however I felt some of the parents attached too much contentment to these

cards, thus not taking further steps to respond to their own child gone



Taking a step backward in our lives, as newborns, we were breast or bottle

fed. In between feedings our mothers placed a pacifier in our mouth to

appease us. Certain steps afforded us as parents, are tools to assist in the

recovery of our missing children, they are NOT meant to pacify us.

Certain businesses in communities across are country, in concert with their

respective law enforcement agencies, offer free Child ID Kits. When

completed, these kits often contain the child’s picture and fingerprints, a

method for storing DNA samples, and a request for dental records.

Special medical reports and instructions with corresponding telephone

numbers of agencies, staffed 24/7, to assist you should be included also.


Remember, If Your Child Goes Missing,


What to Do?


  • It is recommended you take pictures of your children every six
  • months and store them in a safe, secure, and easily accessed place.
  • Take pictures of infants and toddlers frequently because they change

so quickly.



The following is suggested to be keep current and with your ID Kit:
Personal Information

First Name ________________ DOB ________ Age ______

Middle Name ______________ Hair ______ Eyes ________

Last Name ________________ Height _____ Weight ____

Nickname _________________

Telephone Numbers

Home Phone _____-_____-______

Work/School _____-_____-______

Cell _____-_____-______

Other _____-_____-______ Please Describe


Other _____-_____-______ Please Describe

• Distinguishing characteristics are also important when trying to

rescue a missing child. The following list are suggestions of what

you might list. Whichever you chose to list, please provide as much

detail about the characteristic, such as size, shape, color, and body









Missing Teeth

False Teeth


Distinctive Hairstyles

Distinctive Mannerisms

Other? Please Describe

• In addition to medical reports, medical information may include:

Current Medication(s), Pill, Tablet, Liquid, Dosage, Frequency

Medical Condition(s)


Allergies to Medication

Allergies to Foods, Bee Stings, etc

Doctor, Dentist Contact Information

• Daycare, Pre-School, Public/Private School contact information.

Beside the telephone number, list the full name of the person to be

contacted in the event of an emergency.

• Extra-Curricular Activities:

Boy/Cub Scouts

Girl Scouts

Recreational/Team Sports

Soccer, Tennis, Football, Basketball, Baseball, Swimming, etc

Hobby Club

After-School Organization




Dance Lessons

Music Lessons

Religious Activities

Other? Please Describe

• Keep a record of personal routes and/or routines your child takes to

go to school, after-school activities, such as walking, bus, riding a

bicycle, etc. Know the direction and the name of the street(s) your

child uses.


• List the places frequented by your child. Examples would be stores,

restaurants, shopping malls, parks, hiking trails, golf courses, movie

theaters, libraries, etc.


• Keep an updated list of friends and companions. In regards to older

children and teenagers, keep all copies of their cell/text billings.


• If your child is dating, get their boy/girlfriend’s contact information,

and that of their parents.


The information provided in this section solicits responses similar to what a

police officer would ask for. It is not suggested that you become

overbearing, wrapping your child in an overly-protected cocoon, it is simply

the gathering of information, which you can produce for the police, should

your child go missing. The more detailed, the more pertinent, and most

importantly the most current your information is, the better chance you

have of being reunited with your child.


Upon my retirement as a deputy sheriff from the Alameda County Sheriff’s

Office, I designed the HeavenForbid! website. www.heavenforbid.org

provides instant access to vital information during emergencies such as:


• “Look For My Child” (Missing Children)

• Natural Disasters: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and


• Medical Emergencies

• Personal and family Matters

• Stolen or Lost Credit Cards

• Lost Pets and Veterinarian Records

• Home Inventory/Possessions

• Archive Important Documents/Papers

• Featuring: Unlimited Secured Storage of Business, Legal

Documents, Photographs, Videos, Podcasts, Address Book, and EMail



The HeavenForbid! Website provides the highest level of security available

on the internet. All information is fully encrypted and password sensitive.

Please visit www.heavenforbid.org and navigate throughout our Home

Page. Your personal information is safe and secure, available anywhere in

the world, within seconds, via the internet.


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words . . .


The following is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a grandmother

who’s family survived through the unthinkable, the kidnaping of her

14-month-old granddaughter. Although we never met, “Margaret” was

gracious enough to share her ordeal with me during a one hour telephone

conversation. She spoke at great length about the reality of fear, the

anticipation of facing the most horrid circumstances a parent or

grandparent can imagine, coupled with the sheer panic of the unknown.


Her tale of perseverance began in a sleepy bedroom community,

northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area. A region known more for their

vast vineyards, wineries, and Bed and Breakfast accommodations, than for

the horrors of kidnaping. “Margaret,” along with her daughter and a good

friend, turned a seemingly hopeless situation into a happy ending for all,

with the exception of the kidnaper. With an unparallel spirt, unyielding

determination, the three of them fought with a vengeance to regain their

precious baby girl.


She said, “Her loss, her anguish and guilt were fueled in part by her

disbelieve that something like this could happen to her family.” Her denial,

the beast that allowed her to rationalize this fallacy, based on the belief

that if we do not talk about it, do not think about it, nothing bad will happen

to us, hit home. The stark reality that we all are vulnerable, became her

life, changing forever how she and her family would live.


As we spoke, you could still feel the emotions she attached to the

kidnaping, though it had been over 15 years since her granddaughter was

safely returned and the perpetrator sent to prison. Throughout our

conversation, she would speak very pointedly about hers families efforts

versus the police. “Margaret” truly believes without her involvement her

granddaughter would not have been found.


She felt her commitment spanned far beyond what she perceived the

reaches of law enforcement’s commitments or capabilities. Through her

persistence, she was able to turn a 15 second blip into an 11 minute

feature on national television. America’s Most Wanted broadcast lead to

the capture of the kidnaper and rescue of her granddaughter in the state of

Tennessee, over three thousand miles away from her Bay Area home.


I asked her what she thought was the single, most important step she took

to aid in the recovery of her granddaughter, she immediately responded

“A current picture.” She further said “Young children, especially infants

and toddlers change so quickly, a current photograph is a must.” We often

learn at the expense of others, take “Margaret’s” advice, a picture is worth

more than a thousand words, it was worth the life of her granddaughter.


Note: According to the FBI, each year between 100 to 200 children,

mostly female, ages 8 to 14-years-old, are kidnaped, sexually assaulted,

and murdered within three(3) hours of their abduction. The need for quick,

accurate information is paramount. The pace of today’s world requires

immediate responsiveness as the unfolding of our lives reveal our fate and

the fate of our families.


Not to be overly dramatic, but please keep in mind, the beginning of this

section. You’re on vacation at Disneyland with your 9-year-old daughter, in

the blink of an eye, your daughter goes missing, what would you do? Your

response, your reaction maybe the only link to your child’s safe return. Are

you as prepared as you can be if the unthinkable happens?


Think About It,

What Do You Have To Lose?


Your Choice, Victim or Survivor

Amber Scharwtz age 7, Pinole, CA. Mikela Garrett age 9, Hayward, CA.

Ilean Mesholfoff age 14, Dublin, CA

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