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Missing child found due to quick response by Northeast Texas Child Abduction Response Team, Fate DPS

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On January 3, 2021, at approximately 11:26 PM Rockwall County dispatchers received an urgent call from a parent that her 12-year-old son was missing. The mother was awakened by the garage door being closed at 11:20 PM and quickly found him missing. The son had left a written message stating why he was leaving. The only details provided were that the child was 5′ tall and wearing a hoodie.

The City of Fate Department of Public Safety (DPS) Officers quickly responded and realized that more resources were required to search and recover the child. At 11:54 PM, Sgt. Victor Aragon called the Northeast Texas Child Abduction Response Team (CART), provided key details of the missing child, and requested additional support to locate the child. CART in turn called its vetted and trained missing person support team, EastTex Regional CERT and requested searchers.

The protocol for responding searchers is to keep an eye out for the missing person or vehicle while in route to a staging location. In this case, a local CERT member, Mike Ross of Fate, notified CART at 12:26 AM that a young male child is at a filling station carrying a backpack and wearing a hoodie. CART notified Fate DPS of the possible sighting and officers were deployed to the location while the child was detained.

Fate DPS at 12:31 AM, 1.1 miles from his home recovered the child, 71 minutes after reported missing. A quick call to 911 by the mother, fast response by Fate DPS, a swift request of CART support, a local CERT member responding and keeping their eyes open resulted in a prompt recovery.

The average call to 911 when a child, teen, or adult goes missing is 3 to 4 hours. In 3 to 4 hours the missing person can be miles away or in the next state. A child of any age, and even adults, are highly likely to become involved with human traffickers, as the traffickers look for the lone child.

This response by Fate DPS, CART, and CERT points to the fact that a parent or caregiver by quickly calling 911 to report a missing family member can result in recovery in a short time. Residents are advised to call close friends or relatives of the missing and perform a search of the last place seen. They should not wait, call 911, and report a confirmed missing family member.

Approximately one case of every 10,000 children that are reported missing/endangered results in the homicide of the child.

In situations where a child is abducted:
• 47% die within the first hour
• 76% in the first three hours
• 1% survive more than a day
• 40% were dead BEFORE they were reported missing
• The primary motive of the abductor was sexual assault

Time is of the essence in locating a missing/endangered or runaway child. Runaway children are likely to be trafficked for sex or labor.

CART’s are not traditional task forces
• Teams consist of any local, state, federal law enforcement officials and vetted volunteers groups
• Agencies requesting the activation of a CART do not need to be part of the CART to receive assistance
• Resources assigned to these teams do not operate on a full-time basis – they respond as available to a request by the agency that is managing a missing/endangered child incident
• Resources include law enforcement investigators, crimes against children investigators, crime intelligence analysts, forensic experts, victim services specialists, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), call center personnel, and K-9 search teams – whatever is necessary to ensure the safe recovery of a child
• CART resources act as a “force multiplier” for the agency requesting a CART activation. CART personnel commits their time to locate the child, not to locating resources or developing a response plan. Resources are already available, team members are already trained, and a plan of action already created.
• In missing/endangered children cases, media can be an asset by
• Providing information to the public that assists in locating the victim and
• Withholding information that might hamper or harm the ongoing investigation

Child Abduction Response Team (CART) Information
Source: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

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