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.)
- Where are your sex offenders? Check www.familywatchdog.us or the GBI sex offender site.
- 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.