Since the beginning of the year, 170 children have gone missing in Texas and are still missing today, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Five of those are missing children from Fort Worth, and three more are from the Tarrant area.
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▪ Joselyn Garcia, age 16, missing since Jun. 18
▪ Yasmin Gutierrez, age 17, missing since Feb. 7
▪ Kenneth Hadley, age 16, missing since Dec. 1
▪ Treasure Holick, age 18, missing since Nov. 23
▪ Anthony Washington, age 16, missing since Feb. 20
▪ Berdena Moore, age 17, missing since Sept. 7
▪ Joshua Humphrey, age 17, missing since Sept. 21
▪ Grand Prairie
▪ Cindy Flores, age 15, missing since Oct. 19
A ninth boy, who was reported missing in Arlington Oct. 26, was recently returned to his mother, according to Christopher Cook, a spokesman for the Arlington Police Department.
The Center does register every missing person being worked by a law enforcement agency in its national database, for one of several reasons, according to Robert Lowery, vice president of the NCMEC’s missing children division.
Nine more missing children from the Tarrant area are still active cases within the NCMEC database, from incidents before Jan. 1, 2017, including Rachel Trlica, Renee Wilson and Julie Moseley, who went shopping at the Seminary South Shopping Center and were never seen again in 1974.
“Typically the reports that come to us are children from [state] care, because it’s mandated by federal statute that foster children who go missing are required to be reported to us,” Lowery said. “Otherwise, we monitor critically missing children through being actively connected to the Amber Alert program, so we get involved anytime there is an Amber Alert.”
But in some cases, either the investigating law enforcement agency deems they have the resources to track and return a missing child without the Center’s assistance, or parents simply aren’t aware that the Center is available to help them.
In addition to the nine children who went missing - and are still missing today - from the Tarrant area in 2017, 10 more children went missing from Dallas this year. Houston and the Harris County area saw more missing children than anywhere else in the state this year, by a wide margin, according to the Center’s data.
The city of Houston saw 29 children go missing this year, according to the Center’s data, and 47 children are missing from the Houston metro area, according to the Houston Chronicle. That’s quite a jump from DFW’s numbers, as Dallas-Fort Worth has almost a million more residents than does the Houston metro area.
Lowery says, though, that the overall trend for the country is a downward one. Last year, 465,676 reports of missing children were made to law enforcement, according to the Center.
“We’re seeing a general downward trend in terms of total numbers of children that have gone missing,” Lowery added. “Downward trends of stereotypical child abductions, instances where children are taken by strangers for sexual purposes. But we’re also seeing spikes in what we call online enticement cases, where offenders are reaching out to children using social media, and enticing them to come meet them and go along with them.”