View from a Cop: Hard Facts on Child Abductions After Jorelys Rivera

Sandy Springs Police Lt. Steve Rose provides information on what parents can do to keep children safe.


I have worked cases where a child would hide, sometimes overnight, because they want attention or they’re reacting to a family dispute or some other reason. Normally they surface after an hour or two. Once 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera was missing overnight, most of the “best case scenarios” were no longer probable. 

In cases of missing children, the first hours are vital in the search. The percentages of success go down rapidly.

On Friday, Jorelys was playing with other children when she left to get a drink and never returned. She was found by , Monday, dead, beaten, and sexually assaulted at the bottom of a dumpster.

Police believe that she was killed at the complex and the body then taken to the dumpster, thrown away like trash. 

Who did this?

Scenarios on who did this are not new. We can all scream, “How can someone do this to a child,” but those who are capable of doing this are not deterred by public outrage.

In other words, at some point, this will happen again.

Have you ever heard of a rehabilitated pedophile? No. They can treat the urge but believe me, its back in that brain somewhere and who knows for how long? Child molesters are methodic creatures.  

You tell your children to beware of strangers. If they approach, run, yell, and find help, right? Did you know that a family member, or someone who the victim knows and is comfortable with commits most child molestations?

What do we do about that? We need current information and hard facts to create a safer response for a child in a crisis.

Parents must take initiative

No one knows your kids like you do, so it’s on you. The responsibility is yours. That means you need to have a delicate but serious talk with your children as soon as you think they are old enough to handle basic information. It is a scary topic but unfortunately, unavoidable.

You’re doing kids an injustice if you don’t. Before you preach, however, do some research.

Learn and then teach:

  • There are people out there who are not like us. They can easily rationalize victimizing, and killing others, including children. You need to know this.
  • They are not all living somewhere else. They are among us. Therefore, thinking that if can only happen to others is idiotic.  If you think so, get your head out of your—rather, out of the sand!
  • Never assume that the threat will come from a stranger. Know your people and your surrounding group of friends, associates, and others who have access to your personal life and your family. Does that sound paranoid? Good. I didn’t say suspect them but it would be foolish not to be informed. (Don’t alienate them, just be informed.)
  • Talk to your kids.
  • Watch them—closely.
  • Have them check in—frequently.
  • Develop that trust where if they need to, they can talk to you about anything without any judgment. The last thing you want is for them to be afraid to talk to you.
  • Micromanage them when you cannot see them. Require them to stay with the group of other kids and do not allow situations where they will be isolated.
  • Don’t leave them out of your sight for long. Come home early.
  • Don’t be deterred by your child’s resentment to your intent to keep a close eye on them. If they complaint you’re a pain in the butt, take it as a complement.
  • Keep that politely skeptical eye open—at all times.

There are easily 50 more things that you need to learn and talk to your kids about. It would be nice if we could make the world right for our kids, but that's not the way it is. To ignore it—for you as a parent - is wrong and if you haven’t addressed it, you need to.

How you do it is perhaps not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it is one of the most important.




Gobblz December 07, 2011 at 07:25 PM
My mother was very overprotective. Looking at childhood birthday photos of my and my sisters infancy and toddlerhood you might see a room full of dolls, sisters, and parents in attendence. She was always worried we would get sick around lots kids. Even after starting school and making friends, she always wanted the sleepovers to be at our house. She did everything she could to make them so fun everyone WANTED to come to our house. When my older sister was 6 she was diagnosed with mononeucleosis wirh secondary encephalitis. My parents found out when she wrote her phone number down for a girl in her class. The fluid on her brain caused her to write some of the numbers backwards or upside down. The girl's mother showed the note to my mom. Grateful for her catching the cognition issues so quickly and glad my sister was feelng better my mom allowed her to stay the night with the little girl. Know one knew it at the time, but my sister was raped by the father of that little girl that night at the age of 6. She repressed the memory, but remembered years later. As a teacher now, I literally cringe when my students talk about sleepovers. I know you can't lock your children away, but please take this officer's words to heart. Suspicions aside, just be aware. Wolves very rarely look like wolves. Sheep suits are easier to come by than one likes to admit.
Adrianne Murchison (Editor) December 07, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Gobbiz, thank you so much for your comment.
Squirt December 08, 2011 at 04:25 AM
Yes, thank you, Gobbiz. I began to lose all faith in society after hearing and seeing what kind of evil took place so close to home. However, you have reminded me that there are far more good people in the world than bad. Unfortunately, only the horrendous actions of people make the headlines of our society's media. Your comment is one of the very few that has a sole purpose to protect and improve the well being of others with no regard for personal gain or recognition. Most comments are posted to: break down a fellow human being, prove their ignorance, state their opinion, declare their intellect, boast their purity, or advertise for personal gain. Your selfless insight is greatly appreciated and hopefully has given you, the poster, some benefit from sharing that terrible memory that I'm positive haunts you every time it re-enters your thoughts. Again, thank you.
believebraves2012 December 08, 2011 at 07:11 PM
You should def think about running for politcal office. This was an AWESOME article. And I feel safer after reading it! God Bless you! Believe Braves 2012
dawn reyna December 13, 2011 at 04:58 PM
I think this was an extremely helpful article and am glad the author took the time to share these insights. The BIGGEST mistake people make is to think "What kind of 'animal' does this?" No animal did this to Jorelys; a human being did. No animal commits a heinous crime such as this. Animals kill out of an instinct for survival; they do NOT murder. The key to our survival is to recognize warning signs and learn not to disregard them. Last year, a close friend gave me a book that opened my eyes to the best tool for self-preservation that I have; that we ALL have. I am now recommending it to anyone who is interested in keeping themselves and their loved ones safe. "The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence", by Gavin De Becker. Read it ... it will change your life forever.
juzmine July 03, 2012 at 04:40 AM
i feel so bad
juzmine July 03, 2012 at 02:34 PM
for her
juzmine July 03, 2012 at 03:05 PM
people are so waied


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