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NCJ Number: 205316 Find in a Library
Title: Sex-Related Child Abduction Homicides
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:52  Issue:3  Dated:March 2004  Pages:32-34,36,38
Author(s): Vernon Geberth
Date Published: March 2004
Page Count: 5
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents case studies of sex-related child abduction homicides and offers investigative techniques for police officers assigned to such cases.
Abstract: Although the murder of a child under 18 years old by a stranger is rare, such crimes are among the most heinous crimes in our society. Cases in which children are abducted by strangers for sex-related purposes are almost always fatal. The proper investigation of child abduction cases is of crucial importance considering the fact that slightly over half of abducted children are murdered within 1 hour and 9 out of 10 are killed within 24 hours. The initial investigation must first focus on how long the child has been missing; delays in reporting children missing are critical. The Polly Klass case is presented as an example of the importance of properly communicating and broadcasting missing children alerts. The Klass case and the abduction and murder of 9 year old Amber Hagerman underscore the importance of the AMBER Alert Plan. A voluntary partnership between law enforcement and broadcasters, the AMBER Alert Plan quickly broadcasts information about child abductions to the public so the entire community can be mobilized in the search for a missing child. Following a description of the AMBER Alert Plan, the cases of Samantha Runnion and Danielle Van Dam are presented. Investigative techniques and strategies are discussed, including the importance of canvassing the neighborhoods of investigation sites for potential witnesses. The profiles of the typical offender and the typical victim in sex-related child abduction murders are presented. Next, important investigation sites in child abduction cases are outlined. Most victims are murdered within 200 feet of the body recovery site; investigators should note this and make the crime scene sufficiently large. Both the body recovery site and the murder site offer the richest and often most crucial evidence in child abduction murders.
Main Term(s): Child victims; Missing children
Index Term(s): Homicide investigations; Kidnapping; Missing person investigation; Sex offense investigations
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