Saturday, March 6, 2010


Two Missing Teen Cases in California Show Not All Cases Treated Same
Saturday, March 06, 2010 / Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — The disappearances of 14-year-old Amber Dubois and 17-year-old Chelsea King illustrate a sad fact: not all missing children cases are treated the same.

Chelsea disappeared Feb. 25, last seen in a park with running clothes. The case sparked a search involving about 1,500 law enforcement officials and thousands of volunteers. It ended five days later when a body was found in a shallow lakeside grave.

Amber was walking to school when she vanished a year ago just 10 miles north of the site where Chelsea was last seen. Leads went nowhere. The news media showed little interest.

After prosecutors charged a convicted sex offender in Chelsea's death, a search for Amber has intensified. On Saturday, police drained a pond for a second day at Kit Carson Park in Escondido to search for evidence of Amber, Lt. Craig Carter said.

Perhaps the biggest determinant in getting the attention of law enforcement and reporters is whether there are signs of foul play that may put other children at risk. The skill of a victim's family at working with the media and mobilizing supporters also helps decide which cases capture public interest.

There are 115 non-family child abductions a year in the United States — an average of more than two a week, according to the latest Department of Justice figures from 1999. But only a handful get anywhere near the attention that followed the disappearance of Chelsea King.

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