Today is International Missing Children’s Day and the Australian Federal Police are desperately appealing for our help.
Six age-progressed images of missing and parentally abducted children have been released today in a global effort to ‘help bring them home’.
Leading forensic artists from the United States National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were commissioned to create the age-progressed images to illustrate what the children, all who remain under the age of 18, may look like today.
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AFP Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz, National Manager Crime Operations, spoke of the importance of the community in recognising the vital role they play in the safety, care, and education of our children.
“Today is a day for us all to commemorate missing children who have found their way home; remember those who have been victims of crime; and continue efforts to find those who are still missing,” Assistant Commissioner Platz said.
The cutting-edge, age-progressed portraits of Serena and Thomas Speath, Isabella and Bronte Watter, Leela McDougall, and Mathieu-Pierre Macintosh are being used as a tool to spark a renewed interest in the cases.
“We need all Australians to get behind this cause and spread the images of these missing children as far and as wide as possible,” Assistant Commissioner Platz said.
The date 25 May marks the anniversary of six-year-old Etan Patz’s disappearance from a New York street corner on his way to school in 1979.
Etan’s story received national coverage after his father, a photographer, circulated black and white pictures of his missing son to media outlets.
Etan was the first child to feature on a milk carton, and his disappearance led to new laws, new methods, and new awareness tactics in finding missing children.
Pedro Hernandez was convicted of his murder early this year.
Michael Macintosh, father of Mathieu-Pierre Macintosh, who was last seen in September 2013, spoke of his personal experience at today’s launch of International Missing Children’s Day in Canberra.
“The first four months were very trying, and there continue to be a lot of emotions: frustration, anger, sadness, at times acceptance,” Mr Macintosh said.
“It’s affected every aspect of my life. He has been taken away from everything he knows, his home.
“Thinking of Mathieu gives me hope that I’ll find him. The age progressed image goes a long way to getting an up-to-date image of him out there.”
Mathieu-Pierre is believed to be residing in France or Belgium and is subject of an order issued by the French Courts under the Hague Convention to have him returned to Australia.
Anyone with information relating to a missing or parentally abducted child is urged to contact their local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.