MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Nearly 30 Memphis children disappear every week, a startling number that is growing. Friday, May 25th is National Missing Children's Day and Memphis police say it's more important than ever to know what to do if your child goes missing.
Executive Director of the Commission on Missing and Exploited Children, Sgt. Len Edwards, says, "We just need to be careful with our kids. Know who our children are with, do background checks of child care, and people on the playground, so you have a good idea of the quality of people your children are around."
Sgt. Edwards has worked with COMEC for more than 20 years. He deals with more than 25 Memphis disappearances every week. "We have nearly 5,000 children that disappear every year whether they're runaways, throwaways, parental abductions or stereotypical kidnappings."
Edwards says law enforcement has made tremendous advances in communication, investigative techniques and cooperation of other agencies to help find the missing children, no matter the circumstance.
"Years and years ago the answer by police was, 'If he doesn't come home in 48 hours call us and well take a report.' But laws have been passed, now children that are reported missing have to be entered into the National Crime and Information Center within two hours," Edwards explained, which helps police track the majority of them down.
Most children return within 72 hours but about 20 percent are out there for much longer. One in seven children are found because of a photograph.
Edwards says the best way to find a child is with a current color photo. Nearly 70 percent of single parent households don't have current pictures of their children.
Parents can get a free ID for their kids on National Missing Children's Day at the Children's Museum of Memphis from 2:00pm-4:00pm.