If one goes to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's web page and run a search for cases classified as a Non-Family Abduction, you will get 240 results. This is not all the probable abductions on the site; one can guess anywhere from fifty to 100 more Endangered Missing children have been abducted by a non-family member. Each case is unique; however they also seem to have a lot in common. Most cases are several years old; many even older than that. Thus a flurry of age-progressed photos dominates the page, showing us what children may look like as adults today.

But is this of any worth?

Some say no. Almost all of the cases are very old, and many proclaim that the NCMEC is wasting its efforts by looking for dead children. To them, the 240 are all dead. The effort spent on them is not worth it. These people often cite the fact that very few non-family abductions are resolved after a certain point. The few that are stand out as oddities. But can there really be so many concealed bodies throughout the US? Is an abductor's motive always to kill?

Let's look at the abducted children themselves. (For convenience's sake, all children listed as a non-family abduction will be considered as such.) Many of these children, sixty-one of them, are five or younger at the time of their disappearance. Children of this age are usually abducted by someone who desperately wants a child or taken into black-market abduction rings. Thus, we can conclude that most of the sixty-one are still alive, although there may of course be exceptions.

What of the rest, then, people ask once more. They are old enough to remember their families and will surely know they have been abducted. Why aren't these older children coming forward? This is a complicated question, and there can be many answers to this besides foul play. The child may still be held against their will by their captor. Others may feel loyalty to the abductor, and not wish to risk legal action. Still others may have some sort of amnesia and not know their past. Others could have undergone a form of brainwashing that renders them loyal to the abductor and takes the family away from them. There are many other possibilities, but these are the major ones.

The classificaton of a case as a non-family abduction is much less common nowadays. This could be due to the presumed death of the child involved. A small portion of cases do indeed have foul play suspected, but of over 1000 cases on NCMEC, only forty-one have foul play suspected. Our task should be to bring all the 240 home, and more may be alive than we think.

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