TIME IS ALWAYS THE ENEMY
by: Claudia Rivero
When it comes to missing children time is always the enemy. The more time that goes by, the more difficult it is to solve a case since the leads dry up, the media moves on, and the families are left on their own to figure out how to keep their child's story in the public eye. It's a sad reality and no parent should ever have to be in that situation.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an estimated 800,0000 kids under the age of 18 are reported missing in the U.S. every year. That's roughly 2,000 kids a day. 78 percent are runaways, according to the NCMEC. The majority of cases are quickly solved, but there's always a percentage of children who don't come home. Janteyl Johnson is one of those children.
I recently sat down with Robert Lowery Jr., VP of the NCMEC, to discuss Janteyl's case. Mr. Lowery told me that for them the media is the most powerful tool they have when it comes to finding missing or lost children. He also stated that at the NCMEC they are cautious about labeling children as runaways: “The public can’t be desensitized. If they see it’s a runaway, they assume it was a behavioral issue or they left on their own, but in many cases that’s not at all what’s going on.”
Unfortunately, all too often, the media doesn't cover cases when a missing child is labeled a runaway. Janteyl Johnson's case is a pretty good example of that. Even though she was just 15 and five months pregnant, her disappearance generated minimal media coverage. As far as TV stations, only NBC10 in Philadelphia reported the story when Janteyl disappeared. But thanks to non-profit organizations like the Black and Missing Foundation, and several online groups including The Charley Project, and a concerned citizen in Delaware who started the Janteyl Johnson Facebook page, information about this case is just a click away.
Someone out there knows where Janteyl Johnson is and who she may be with. Let's not forget that it's two people who are missing. If your daughter and grandchild were missing, wouldn't you want someone to come forward with information?
Regarding Janteyl's disappearance, Mr. Lowery sums it up this way:
“In a case like Janteyl’s, we don’t have a lot of information to support any conclusion at all and because of that we need to be very vigilant and very determined in continuing to search for her. I would just say to her mother there are folks that care and we will continue to look.”
More to come.
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Emmy Award winning reporter Claudia Rivero.