Australia, 2007

Missing daughter and granddaughter

Jim and Cathy McDougall filed a missing report in October 2007 relating to their daughter Chantelle (27) and their granddaughter Leela (6) who were last physically sighted in July 2007 where Ms McDougall was last seen selling her car at the Busselton car-yard for $4000.00.

Ms McDougall and her daughter vanished from Busselton after leaving their farmhouse in Nannup in Western Australia's south-west, where they have been living with Ms McDougall's partner Simon Kadwell (45. Mr Kadwell, who arrived in Australia from Britain in 2000 and is Leela's father, has not been reported missing, although he too has not been seen since July 2007.

In addition to the three missing, Antonio Popic (40) , who lived in a caravan on the Nannup property, has also not been seen since July 2007. Mr Popic was reported missing in November 2007 by his brother.

Mr & Mrs McDougall had spoken with her in July 2007 when Ms McDougall contacted her parts to say that she, Mr Kadwell and Leela McDougall were planning to travel to Brazil for a holiday. Mr McDougall was not surprised by this as Ms McDougall since since she was a late teen had travelled overseas on several occasions, but she always kept in contact with her parents when travelling.

There has never been any evidence to show the group left Australia. The money that Ms McDougall made selling her car was deposited into a bank account and that money has never been accessed.

Since 2007 the McDougall family have deliberated over what might have happened to both their daughter and granddaughter and believe that they have been influenced by Mr Kadwell to disappear.

Brazil, 2010

Missing 16 year old girl found

On November 17, 2010, a mother registered her daughter - a 16 year old - as missing. The mother informed the police that the adolescent was raised by her stepfather and that since his death - just a few days before her disappearance - she has been acting rebelliously. The adolescent started using drugs, abandoned school and started to get involved with criminal groups, having run away from home in a previous occasion to live with her boyfriend without the mother's authorisation.

As soon as the child was registered as missing, the police was informed that the adolescent was detained at the Integrated Centre for Child and Adolescent Attention (CIA, in the Portuguese acronym), a centre designated for teenagers in conflict with the law, for drug possession. After reuniting the mother and child, the child brought to the Missing Person's Division for a follow-up session with the Psychology and Social Assistance Unit (NUPSS, in the Portuguese acronym). The psychologist in charge of her case proposed psychotherapy for both mother and child to assist in the reunification process.

The therapy proved highly successful. However hard the process, and despite several ups and downs, the adolescent slowly turned her life around. She started by quitting the use of drugs and understanding how prejudicial her past behaviour was. Soon after she returned to school and attended a church by her house, where she met her current husband, a man her mother approved of. While her story is a proof of her own determination and strength, the life of this child would have definitely taken a different turn if it wasn't for the kind of interference of the psychologists at the NUPSS, to whom this girl is forever thankful.

Brazil, 2010

Missing 15 year old girl found

On may 07 2010, a 15 year old girl ran away from her mother's house in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state. She had met a man in an event where her hip hop dance group was playing and soon after started communicating with him through Google's social networking site, Orkut. Stimulated by the promises of that an that she could have a steady job and dance freely in his town, she evaded school and started planning her escape.

As soon as this case was brought to the attention of the Missing Person's Division of the Minas Gerais Police (DHPP), investigators initiated an immediate search in shelters, hospitals, airports, bus stations and others, unsuccessfully. However, during the psychotherapy sessions offered to the mother of the child, who has been missing for 30 days, several new factors cam to light and investigators were able to connect, via internet, with the child's friends. After several investigations, the police located the girl in Sapiranga, a small town in Rio Grande do Sul, with the support of local organisations.

The girl had been abandoned by the man who invited her there once she denied his proposal to engage in sexual relations with him and his friends. She was brought the Psychology and Social Assistance Unit (NUPSS, in the Portuguese acronym), where psychologists have identified significant conflicts between the child and her mother. The therapy proved highly successful and has been critical in assisting the family with identifying new pathways for communication, thus avoiding new runaway episodes.

Belgium, 2008

Three daughters reunited with their mother

On the 5th of January 2008, a husband from Antwerp did not return his 3 daughters (7, 9 & 13 years old at the time) to their mother, after a visitation weekend. He managed to leave the country with them, but nobody knew where he could have gone. A criminal as well as a civil procedure for international child abduction was started, but it remained impossible to localise the children and their father.

Eventually, Child Focus, Belgian NGO, decided to produce a short video about the disappearance, and to post it on the Global YouTube Channel "Don't You Forget About Me". At the same time, Child Focus tried to get as much media attention as possible in the south of Europe, because they were most likely to have gone there, with their camper. On 30 September 2008, the view was shown on the Portuguese television. A viewer reacted immediately, saying that he had seen the three girls the day before. They were begging in front of the supermarket in his village. The Portuguese police went there, to find the children and their father.

Not much later, the children were reunited with their mother and their family. The father was convicted for international child abduction.

Canada, 2011

Son reunited with his father

In 2004, soon after an enforcement custody order was issued stating that both parents had joint custody, a non-custodial mother and her young child left British Columbia (BC), Canada for the Western part of the United States (US). Eventually a Canada-wide warrant was issued against the mother for Abduction in Contravention of Custody Order after numerous attempts from the police were made to locate them.

From 2005 to 2010, the mother was located on a few occasions, but always fled before the police arrival or an application with The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction proceedings could be started. The mother and child's whereabouts remained unknown. Then in 2010, the father was able to locate them but the mother and child fled again before the mother could be served with The Hague Convention's document.

On Sunday, May 29th 2011, the abducting mother was arrested by Chandler Arizona Police Department for disorderly conduct at a local Laundromat. The local police after conducting routine verifications quickly realized the child was considered missing and the mother was charged for his abduction in Canada. The child was turned over to the local state Children's Aid until his father could attend the US. With the assistance of the State Officials (local law enforcement, US Department of Justice, State Children's Aid, etc.), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's - National Missing Children Operations (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), and Grand Forks RCMP (BC, Canada), father and son were reunited last June. The child was returned to Canada with his father and now resides with him in British Columbia and re-united with his two half-sisters. The mother still remained in the US as her extradition as yet to be requested by the provincial authorities. She was released shortly after her arrest on the disorderly conduct charge.

Greece, 2011

2 year old boy found

In May 2011, we received a call at the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 from a Police Department informing us about the disappearance of a minor boy of 2 and a half years old. According to the preliminary information, the child was playing in the yard of his house when his mother went in the house for a few minutes. When she went out to the yard again, the child had disappeared. The parents and neighbours of the family have been looking for about 4 hours for the child with no result, when they decided to contact the police. The Police started an investigation in the area in order to find the child but again there was no result. As the time passed and the child was still missing, all of us were even more concerned. That was why the police asked us, at the European Hotline 116000 to active the AMBER ALERT. We immediately activated AMBER ALERT while rescuers of "The Smile of the Child" rushed to assist in the research of the child. Shortly after the activation of AMBER ALERT, we were informed that the child has lost its orientation and wandered around the area. As a result of this, he was found by a farmer who drove him safely to the police. As a precaution, the child was taken to the hospital by an ambulance of "The Smile of the Child", escorted by one of our Social Workers, where he was found to be in good health and returned safely to his family.

Netherlands, 2011

Nine year old boy found

He suddenly disappeared during his walk from school to his home. The police searched in the neighbourhood with support from dogs and a helicopter without success.

At midday the police decided an AMBER Alert, because they feared for his life. Due to AMBER alert, a conductor recognised him in a train 150 kilometres from his home.

Netherlands, 2011

6 month old baby girl reunited with mother

Her father did not bring her back to her mother. The father seemed to be under the influence of drugs, which he was addicted to. When the police started an investigation, they found out that the father wanted to mislead them by checking-in in several hotels on the same day. He was trying to disappear with the baby for good. There was no doubt that he could not take care of the baby in his condition, so the police and the family feared for the baby's life and decided to send out an AMBER Alert. A cabdriver, several people and the railway police had seen him and called the police directly so they could arrest him and bring the baby girl back to her mother.

Romania, 2011

Age-progressed photo locates girl missing for 8 years

C.L. was 4 years old when she managed to leave her parents' backyard and went missing. Her parents and law enforcement searched for her for over 8 years until she was recognised through an age progressed photo.

The girl was recognised by her own foster parents who were caring for her since she was found on the streets. She was given a new identity and protected within the child care system.

The recovery after 8 years was possible due to national and international cooperation that met in this case.

The national cooperation was between the Romanian Centre for Missing and Exploited Children - FOCUS and the Romanian law enforcement which asked FOCUS for an age progressed photo of the missing girl to distribute on television stations. FOCUS was able to help due to having received specialised training in age progression from its international partner, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, which proved to have an essential role in this case.

United Kingdom

Repeat runaway found

When S went missing at the end of July she was 15 and been regularly running away for some time. S had a learning disability, possessing the emotional and behavioural level of an eight year old and was believed to be easily sexually exploited. Friends described her as easily led and gullible.

Parental responsibility was still with the mother, who was happy for publicity to be done and gave her consent and a photo of S. The case was seen by the Police as "extremely high risk" and they were keen to get television coverage.

At a strategy meeting it was agreed that as much publicity as possible would be done. Posters were prepared and distributed, and an appeal went out in the Metro newspaper and the Big Issue magazine. Sightings were taken by the Missing People, the Charity and passed onto the police for action.

S was recognised in early September when she went to A&E for treatment and the staff called police and social services. She had been at her boyfriend's place since she'd gone missing. She was transferred to another local hospital and after a few days was discharged - well enough to take up her placement at an Activity Centre. She had originally left her foster placement because she didn't get on with her foster carer. S is much more settled and there have been no more incidences of her running away.

United Kingdom

16 year old girl found

J went missing aged 16 and was in foster care at the time. J went missing with another 16 year old girl, who she had previously run away with. She left home to go to school on Friday in her uniform, but was reported missing by Wednesday having never reached the school.

Missing People, the Charity sent details of publicity outlets to the social worker along with a media consent form, to be signed by either J's father, or the social worker. The media consent form was signed and faxed back to Missing People, the Charity.

Following case publicity, a young man rang in saying the girls had been staying with him. He gave his details and a three-way conversation was set up with him and the police. He gave permission for his phone number to be passed to the social worker.

J's friend spoke to Missing People, the Charity and subsequently went to the police station where she was met by her father, after which J was encouraged by the police to make contact with Missing People.

J phoned Missing People, the Charity and she and the social worker had a three-way conversation. It was agreed that the social worker would go and see her to arrange to go back to her foster home. That day J didn't turn; however, she phoned Missing People, the Charity the next day and requested that they contact the social worker to say she was on her way back to the meeting place and to meet her there. Missing People passed this message on.

The next day Missing People, the Charity received a call to say that J had met the social worker and had gone back to her foster placement.

United States, 2012

16 year old girl missing for over a year found

On 26 February 2012, the US CyberTipline of the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a report from a registered electronic service provider reporting possible child sex trafficking. The report was handled by NCMEC's Case Analysis Division. The report contained information regarding an online classified advertisement posted in Tennessee. Extensive online searches were conducted and through the analysis information indicating that the images actually belonged to a female in the Texas area were uncovered. Additionally, a current advertisement in Texas containing images of the same female was found.

The Case Analysis Division compared the images in the postings to children who have been reported missing to NCMEC by conducting searches of the missing child database using physical descriptors and other information found within the advertisement. After visually analysing the results, a potential match with a missing child from Dallas, Texas was located. The 16 year old had been missing for over a year. There had been few leads in the case and the child had not been in touch with any of her family or friends in the year that she was missing.

Realising the urgency of the information, the Division provided all of the information to the missing child's case management team in the Missing Children's Division who quickly coordinated investigative efforts with the Texas Attorney General's Office and the Dallas Police Department. Armed with this information, law enforcement safely recovered the child.


9 year old girl found

A 9 year old girl had gone missing from her house. The mother of the girl called us very upset and told us that her daughter has gone missing this morning. She mentioned that the previous night the father yelled at his daughter because she ate the last piece of the cake although he said to her that it should be shared between her and her brothers. The girl has taken 20 Euros and left the house without her mobile phone or other clothes. Furthermore she mentioned that the girl has taken with her the picture of her grandfather who has passed away recently and she loved him a lot.

The father along with the police officers was searching for the girl at the area close to the house with no result. The father went to the cemetery to look for the girl because he thought that she might has visited her grandfather but she was not there. The parents were very upset and the case manager was trying to support them providing psychological support.

The case manager decided to motivate the Search and Rescue Team of the Organization to go to the area and start research with the rescue dogs. At the same time we have been asked to activate the AMBER ALERT.

During a next call with the mother she remembered that some days ago the girl had asked to buy her a doll. After eating the cake her father told her that she is punished now and they will not buy the doll they have promised. Following this information the case manager informed the police to look for the girl near a toy store located close to the house. Within the next hour we received a call from the police station at the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 and let us know that the girl was found safe! She went to the toy store in order to buy the doll that she wanted and she left the house to make her father scared.


12 year old boy found

We received a call from the Missing Persons Unit and they asked us to activate the AMBER ALERT for a 12 years old boy who has gone missing from home. The boy has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and the parents were very upset about his disappearance. They have contacted his friends but nobody seems to know his whereabouts. The mother told us that he has taken with him approximately 100 Euros and a mobile phone without the sim card. She also said that the child has no facebook profile but he uses the internet and actually lately he visited many times the webpage of the Intercity buses. She also informed us that she found a note at his room where he had noted the address of the Airport. We asked her if he had ever mentioned anything about visiting another city of the country or if he had expressed that he want to travel. At this point the mother remembered that he had mentioned that he wanted to visit USA and that lately he was expressing the wish to travel.

At first we motivated the Search and rescue team of the organization to go to the last point seen and start research for the child. We also asked them to visit the airport, the port and the Intercity bus station. We had activated the AMBER ALERT in order to motivate people to call us and provide us with information. Very soon we received a call by a woman who said that she saw the child at the Intercity Bus station a few hours ago. She mentioned that he was carrying a red bag and that he took the bus for a city to the south of Peloponnese. We immediately called the mother and asked her if they have a red bag and if it is at home or the child has taken it with him. The mother was very surprised because she didn’t realize that the bag was also missing from the house. She also told us that near this area where the bus is going they have a house and her parents are living there. We advised her to call them and tell them that the child might be going there. A few hours later they called us and let us know that they found the child safe! He actually took the bus and traveled to his grandparent’s house.