Being a parent is one of the greatest joys that a person can experience. Parenting does come with many worries. As parents have the joy of watching their child grow they also go through many scary things along the way, some worse than others. There may be many trips to the emergency room for all kinds of accidents, big or small. One thing that frightens all parents, though, is the thought of their child going missing. As parents, we always try everything in our power to protect our children and keep them safe, but no matter how hard we try, anything can happen.
Children are reported missing every day. Some children run away, and some children get abducted. Many children that run away are assaulted in some type of way within the first 48 hours. This is a real problem that parents need to be aware of.
Fortunately, about 99 percent of missing children are safely returned to their families. Unfortunately, there are some children that are never found or even worse they are found, but not alive. There are approximately 800,000 children missing each year which equals to about 2,000 children a day. These are scary facts that no parent ever wants to face.
Luckily today, we have more advanced technology to help locate missing children quickly. There are child identification kits that you can make to give to the police if your child goes missing. We also have the Amber Alert system which helps find many children each year. Sadly, years ago we did not have this advantage, and some children went missing for a very long time, never being able to have a normal childhood. Here are 16 kids that went missing for more than a decade.
16 Julian Hernandez - Dirty Custody Battle
Julian Hernandez was only five years old when his father took him from his mother’s home in 2002. His mother was under the impression that his father would drop him off at preschool. Instead, his father, Bobby Hernandez, packed his son's stuff and took off. His parents were in the middle of going through a custody battle, so his father decided to take little Julian from his mother and start a new life. His father changed Julian’s name and social security number. Julian was living with the alias Jonathan Mangina.
His mother reported him missing on August 28, 2002. Police suspected his father took him because he was also missing and his bank account was emptied out. His mother did not hear from him for 13 long years, which must have felt like an eternity. There was Finally some hope for his mother when Julian turned 18 and tried to apply for college using the fake social security number his father gave him. His social security number did not match his name, which of course opened up a world of questions. Julian’s school counselor did some digging and discovered that Julian was listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database. Julian is not upset with his father for what he did and does not want his father to be punished for it.
15 Jaycee Lee Dugard - A Little Shack
Jaycee Dugard’s childhood ended as she knew it when she was just eleven years old. She spent 18 years of her life in captivity, never knowing if she would ever be free. She was kidnapped by Phillip Garrido, who was already a convicted felon. Jaycee’s stepfather saw her being abducted and tried to save her, but he was not quick enough. He immediately called the police, but even with everyone’s effort to bring her home safely, she was held captive for a very long time.
Jaycee was held in a little shack in Phillip’s backyard. She was forced to endure countless assaults. She became pregnant at the young age of 13, which helped her get through her many years of imprisonment. She became pregnant again and gave birth to her second baby girl. A ray of sunshine finally came shining down on Jaycee in 2009 when Phillip was being questioned by his parole officer. Phillip was asked to bring his family to the parole office. For the first time in 18 years, Jaycee was able to say her name, and she was finally free.
14 Tanya Kach - A Milk Carton Kid
Tanya Kach was reported missing when she was just 14 years old. Her parents were going through a divorce, and she felt that neither of her parents wanted her anymore. She had a crush on the security guard, Mr. Hose, at her school. She confided in him and told him about her situation. She told him about her plans to run away, and he offered for her to stay with him.
Tanya’s life ended up being anything but what she had imagined. Thomas Hose was not the nice man that he had appeared to be. He held her capstone in his bedroom for the first few years. She was assaulted and was threatened if she ever tried to leave. When she turned 18, she was finally able to see the light of day. He allowed her to go outside using the name Nikki Allen. No one recognized who she was. After ten years away from her family, she built up the courage to tell someone who she really was. She wrote a book after being saved called, “Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid.”
13 Steve Carter - Thirty-Two Years Later
Steve Carter’s case is one of the longest missing child cases to be solved in the United States. Steve Carter knew there were some suspicious aspects of his adoption, such as his birth certificate only being created when he was almost a year old. He heard a story on the news about a girl who found out she was kidnapped from the hospital when she was a baby. He decided to see if he could find out anything about himself. He went on missingkids.com and found a composite image that was made to look like what the baby named Marx would look like as an adult. He got chills and knew it was himself.
He did a DNA test, and it was a match. Steve’s adopted parents adopted him when he was four years old and had no clue that he was a missing child. When he was a baby, Steve’s real mother told his father that she was going to take him for a walk, but she never returned. She gave up the baby for adoption and gave the adoption agency a fake name. Once Steve found out the truth about everything he called his father, Mark Barnes, and spoke to him for the first time in 32 years.
12 Carlina White - Only Forty-Five Minutes Away
Carlina White was abducted from Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. She was only 19 days old when she was taken on August 4, 1987. Her parents took her to the hospital due to a fever. There was a woman dressed as a nurse who had been seen lurking around the hospital before the abduction occurred. Carlina disappeared in the middle of the night. She was the first known infant to be abducted from a New York Hospital.
Carlina was then raised with a different name, Nejdra “Netty” Nance by a woman named Annugette “Ann” Pettway. She lived only 45 miles from where her birth parents lived. Carlina started to become suspicious about her mother when she was unable to provide her with a birth certificate. Her mother obtained a forged birth certificate, and Carlina found out when she went to use it for healthcare insurance. Carlina asked her mother about it and she confessed to her that she was not her birth mother. She lied to her about how she got her, but Carlina did some research and found her true identity. After 23 years she was finally reunited with her birth parents.
11 Amanda Berry - One Of Castro's Victims
Amanda Berry lived in Cleveland, Ohio and vanished the day before she was to celebrate her 17th birthday. She was held hostage with two other girls by a man named Ariel Castro. She was walking home from work when Ariel Castro saw her and lured her into his car. That would be the last time she would be seen for the next ten years.
Amanda endured unspeakable things during her ten years with Castro. Although there were other girls being held against their will, they were in separate rooms and spent most of their time isolated and alone. She was assaulted countless times. She became pregnant with Castro’s baby and had to deliver her daughter in her room. Ten years later she was finally able to escape with the help of a neighbor. She called 911 and told them who she was. Castro was taken into police custody and sentenced to life in prison, but instead, he took his own life.
10 Gina DeJesus - Cleveland House Of Horrors
Gina DeJesus also lived in Cleveland, Ohio. She was kidnapped by the same man as Amanda Berry, Ariel Castro. She disappeared when she was 14-years old, while she was walking home from school. Castro offered her a ride and since he was the father of a friend of hers she accepted the ride, not knowing she would not see the light of day for the next ten years. Castro took her to his home and imprisoned her in his basement.
Gina was featured on America’s Most Wanted for three years in a row, but that did not lead to her rescue. Gina wrote in diaries to help her get through the years in captivity. She wrote about all of the horrible things that she had to endure, such as being starved, chained, and assaulted. Over the years the girls were able to be with each other at times. They became friends and cared for one another. Gina was also freed the same day as Amanda Berry was. They remained friends once they were free from what is known as the “Cleveland House of Horrors.”
9 Kamiyah Mobley - Stockholm Syndrome
Kamiyah Mobley was taken from her mother, Shanara Mobley when she was only eight hours old. She was taken to South Carolina and raised by a woman named Gloria Williams. Gloria wore nursing scrubs and surgical gloves to pose as a nurse to take baby Kamiyah. Gloria even went as far as acting like a family friend to the hospital staff and then befriended Shanara. She led Shanara to believe that she worked for the hospital. Gloria told Shanara that baby Kamiyah needed treatment and left the hospital with Kamiyah.
The story of baby Kamiyah was all over the United States in hopes of finding her quickly. There were many leads, but unfortunately, she would not be found for another 18 years. There have been recent tips that a girl named Alexis Manigo was really Kamiyah Mobley, which proved to be true. Kamiyah has been reunited with her real parents, but she still loves the woman that she knows to be her mother. Gloria Williams has not been sentenced yet. Kamiyah has been very supportive and wished to remain in Gloria’s life.
8 Sabrina Allen - Trying To Recover
On April 19, 2002, a little four-year-old girl named Sabrina Allen was taken from her father, Greg Allen, who had full custody of his daughter. Llorens was Greg’s estranged wife who was also the non-custodial parent. Sabrina’s mother took her from her father just one short month before her fifth birthday and fled all the way to Mexico with her.
In June of 2003, Sabrina and Llorens were almost captured in Mexico living under the alias Blanca Aurora Fabian Urieb and Adriana Fabian Urieb, but they were able to evade being captured by authorities. Llorens had made previous threats of taking her daughter, and a mental health evaluation proved that she actually had a personality disorder. In the end, Llorens was found, captured, and sent to jail. Sabrina was reunited with her father in Texas on September 30, 2014. Sabrina is in treatment to try to recover from the whole ordeal.
7 Marisa Bocanegra - A Stolen Baby
Marisa Bocanegra was born on June 13, 1977, in Bogota, Columbia. Her mother, Ana Bocanegra never had the joy of bringing her baby girl home. Ana was offered to sign adoption papers, which is common in Columbia for unwed mothers, but her mother refused to sign the papers. The doctors gave Ana pain medications and later had a hospital worker return with a blank piece of paper and asked her to sign it. Ana only wrote a squiggly line which was then used to sign her daughter away for adoption.
Once her mother was off of the pain medications, she found out what occurred. She was heartbroken, and they would not give her precious baby back to her. They allowed Ana to visit her once a week for six weeks at a foster home, where Ana was led to believe her daughter would be staying. On the seventh Sunday Ana showed up to visit her daughter and was devastated to find out she would never see her again. She was given up for adoption and was already on her way to Minnesota.
When Marisa became older, she always felt in her heart that something was not right and felt like she didn’t belong. She went on a quest to find her birth mother. She was ecstatic when she found her mother. They were finally reunited after 37 long years. Sadly a few weeks after they were reunited Marisa tragically died in a car accident.
6 Luo Gang - Taken From His Village
Luo Gang was kidnapped in 1990 when he was only five years old in China. He was sold to another family in another part of China. He was too young to remember his parent's names or what village he lived in. He thought he would never see his parents or family again. He does remember the day that his life changed forever. He was going to school and he saw a man and a woman who he believed to be his father’s friends. He remembers being transferred to many different cars until he was taken far away from his village.
Thousands of children are abducted every year in China due to the one-child policy. Very few children ever see their family again. Luo spent many years trying to relive his memories in hopes that he would be able to find his way back home one day. When he was 27 he found a website named “Baby Come Home.” He wrote as many details as he could remember and the site’s volunteers began to help him search for his family. All of his memories were finally pieced together, and with the help of the volunteers, he was able to reunite with his family 23 years later.
5 Zephany Nurse - A Broken Bond
Zephany Nurse was born on April 28, 1997, in South Africa. She was only three days old when she was abducted from her family while she was still at the hospital she was born at. Her parents Celeste and Morne Nurse never lost hope, even after 17 years had gone by. One day their other daughter came home from school and told them about an older girl at her new school who looked just like her. Morne saw Zephany at a McDonald’s, and he was in shock to see how similar she looked to his younger daughter. Then he went to the police with his suspicions.
Morne’s suspicions were correct, and Zephany’s kidnapper was soon arrested. Zephany was reunited with her family, but their dream of getting their daughter back did not turn out as they had imagined. Zephany did not bond with them, and she missed the man and women who she thought to be her parents.The kidnapper's name was not revealed to protect Zephany’s identity. The kidnapper's husband did not even know that Zephany was not his. She grew up just one mile away from where her biological parents lived. The kidnapper was sentenced to ten years. Zephany lives with the kidnapper’s husband and does not wish to have a relationship with her biological parents.
4 Sun Bin - Two Families
Sun Bin was kidnapped by child traffickers in China when he was only four years old. Sun was at the vegetable market in 1991 with his parents when he went missing. His parents were frantic and dropped everything to look for him. Sun’s mother traveled to many cities in search of her beloved little boy. She sadly passed away before she ever had the chance to see her son again.
As Sun became older, he wanted to know who his real family was. In hopes of finding his family, he gave the police a DNA sample. He received a phone call in October of 2014 informing him that they had found a match. His father, Sun Youhong was finally reacquainted with his son after 24 long years. Sun also met his sister for the first time. Sun does not want his adoptive parents to be in trouble because he still loves them and they took good care of him. Sun plans to remain in both of his families lives.
3 Diane Gilmore - Two Generations Later
Diane Gilmore was born on November 24, 1965, to Zella Price. Zella showed up at the hospital six months pregnant in early labor. Zella was put into a room by herself, and she gave birth to a baby girl by herself. She screamed for help, and a nurse came in. The nurse asked Zella if she had picked a name and Zella replied with, “Diane.” That nurse then took baby Diane to the doctor. That would be the last time that Zella would see her baby girl.
Zella was told that her baby had passed away, and Zella believed the doctor, especially since her last baby had passed away at birth. Fifty years later, twin sisters contacted Zella and told her that they think she might be their grandmother. Zella was in shock because she thought that her baby girl had passed away, but she agreed to take a DNA test. The DNA test proved that, in fact, her daughter was alive.
They have been reunited and are still trying to figure out the exact details about how everything happened. Zella claims that Diane must have been stolen, but the hospital claims that baby Diane had actually been abandoned. No matter how baby Diane was separated from her mother, it is truly a miracle that they have been brought back together fifty long years later.
2 Kristie Hughes - Thousands Of Stolen Memories
Kristie Hughes was curious about her birth parents for a long time like many other adopted children are. Kristie Hughes was born to Thelma Tipton. Kristie was delivered by Dr. Thomas Hicks in Georgia, who was performing illegal abortions and also selling babies. Some mothers who were going to abort their baby willingly gave their baby to Dr. Hicks, but many others did not know he was keeping their baby. Thelma Tipton did not give up Kristie; she was told her baby girl had died. Dr. Hicks told Thelma she was stillborn because she had a bad heart.
Dr. Hicks was the only one with a bad heart; taking babies from their families, and taking away thousands of memories that never had a chance to exist. It is estimated that there are about 200 babies that were sold by Dr. Hicks. These babies are known as the “Hicks Babies.” There are other of the “Hicks Babies” looking for their birth parents, but not everyone has been as lucky as Kristie. It may have taken fifty years, but Kristie finally knows who her real mother is and she even met her brother.
1 Saroo Brierley - Lost His Way Home
Saroo Brierley’s story is extraordinary. Saroo was only five years old when he went missing. He went to the train station with his older brother. Saroo was really tired, so his older brother told him to take a nap on the bench. When he woke up, he did not see anyone at the train station, and he panicked. There was a train at the station, and he figured that his brother must be on it.
Once Saroo got on the train his life changed forever. Saroo fell asleep again while on the train. When he awoke, it was 14 hours later. When he got off the train he found out that he was in Calcutta; one of India’s biggest cities. He was terrified, and no one was able to help him find his way home. He was eventually taken in by an orphanage and adopted to an Australian family. Saroo did not know how to read or remember the name of his town when he got lost. All he had to go on were his memories.
When he got older, he came up with math equations to help him determine where the train could have come from. He used Google Maps to look at towns that were in the distance of what up he came up with, and he was amazingly able to locate his hometown. He showed up at his childhood home and was happily reunited with his family once again.
Sources: missingkids.com, biography.com, nytimes.com, people.com, 5newsonline.com, bbc.com, thecut.com