|Gone Without A Trace...
Could Your Child Be Next?
By LIZ GOFF
Theyre probably not as safe as you
want them to be or as safe as you think they are.
The New York City Police Department has
offered the following tips, designed to help you keep your children safe:
Talk to your children and
encourage them to talk to you about everything and anything that happens.
Teach children to be aware of their
surroundings and to talk to the people around them even if they are relatives or
good friends. Remember, the majority of child abductors and child molesters are known to
the child (i.e. parents/guardians, grandparents, babysitters, friends, neighbors, etc.).
Tell children to:
Make sure your child knows that he
or she has the right to say "no" to any unwanted touch.
If someone wants to touch their
"private parts" (parts that underwear or swimsuits cover), say "no!"
Get away as quickly as possible and tell an adult you trust what happened.
Never, ever let anyone convince them
to keep unwanted "touches" a secret.
Never wander off alone when you are
out with parents, school or any other group at picnics, barbecues, etc.
Decide on a prearranged place where your
child can go if he or she gets lost. Tell the child to wait there for you and that
they should not leave with anyone else.
Be sure doors and windows are locked
when children are left home alone. Dont tell anyone that you are alone. Dont
open the door to anyone you are not expecting. Dont tell anyone on the phone that
you are home alone say a parent or other adult is there, but cannot come to the
Always enter public restrooms very
carefully. It is best to have an adult accompany you. Do not speak to strangers and
dont loiter in the restroom.
Always tell your parent or guardian
where you are going, who you will be with and when you will return.
Know your neighborhood. Learn where
you can to seek help, if you need it (i.e. store, gas station, police, fire station,
Be aware of the danger involved when
you think about taking a "shortcut" through an alley, an abandoned lot, etc.
Always walk and play in open spaces
where you can be seen by other people. Dont stay in a schoolyard or playground after
your friends have gone home. If possible, travel to and from school with a friend or a
group of friends.
An added note to parents: Law enforcement
officials believe that for each missing child, there is at least one person who knows
something where the child is, how he or she is ,and who is holding them.
Police urge adults to be aware of children
in their families, the children of friends, neighbors, etc.
If you feel there is foul play or that the
child is being abused, contact police. You may be the only voice the child has.
The non-profit National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children was founded in 1984 to serve as a focal point for parents,
children, law enforcement agents, schools and the community in recovering missing children
and raising awareness about ways to prevent child abduction, molestation, and sexual
To date, NCMEC has handled more than 73,000
cases of missing and exploited children and helped recover 48,000 children. The
centers recovery rate rose from 60 percent in the 1980s to 91 percent today
earning its title as "the resource" for missing and exploited children.
Its simple to contact the center, to
seek help in recovering a missing child or to report a sighting. The centers
toll-free telephone number projects the desperation of parents and loved ones who are
seeking help: 1-800-THE-LOST.
The New York City Police Departments
Missing Persons squad handles hundreds of cases each year of child abduction by family
members, stranger abduction and endangered runaways.
To report an abduction, a missing child or
a runaway, contact the NYPD Missing Persons Squad at (212) 374-0319 or your local
When reporting a missing or abducted child
to NCMEC or the NYPD, be prepared to give authorities all pertinent information regarding
the child, and a recent photo.
Keep A Record
There are other ways to record your
childs identity to present to officials if the unthinkable should occur.
The Queens District Attorneys office
offers free fingerprinting of children and adolescents. Trained fingerprint experts will
record your childs prints on three sets of cards one stays with the District
Attorneys office, one is for your personal record, and the third can be forwarded to
your local precinct where police will keep the prints on file for future reference, should
they be needed to help find a missing child.
Contact the Queens District Attorneys
office at 286-6400 for further information.
The same service is offered by many
precincts at crime prevention seminars and displays, at street festivals and during annual
"National Night Out" celebrations held each August.
Contact your Crime Prevention or Community
Police Officer at your local precinct for more information.
As if parents didnt have enough to
worry about, with family member abduction, stronger abduction and runaways, the internet
has introduced a whole new realm of crimes against children.
Internet crimes are increasing at an
alarming rate, law enforcement officials said.
Normal kids from normal families are being
drawn by curiosity about what lies at the other end of the computer keyboard a world
of adult conversations and websites unfit for young children.
Youngsters are being drawn into viewing
"XXX" and pornographic material and are participating in "chat room"
conversations that are light years beyond their ability to understand.
Robert Moteki and Elaine Lederer, directors
of the Long Island Consultation Center at 97-29 64th Rd., Rego Park, recently devoted two
days to a New York State and Federal law enforcement seminar to become better educated
regarding internet crimes against children a nationwide epidemic. Among preventive
measures stressed at the seminar was parental supervision in other words, know what
your child is doing while he or she is at the computer, and where journeys through the
internet take your child.
Experts suggested that parents spend time
at the keyboard with children, and place limits on time spent surfing the "net."
Moteki and Lederer will speak on these
suggestions and other tips presented at the seminar at a free Town Hall meeting for
parents on Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Meeting Room at the Consultation
For further information on the Town Hall
Meeting or the seminar, call 896-3400.
Bring Them Home
The responsibility for protecting and
finding lost children belongs to all residents of Queens, according to the Queens D.A.
Local residents must keep their eyes open to bring them home.
The following is a list of numbers of agencies that handle
cases of missing and exploited children, set in cut-out form for you to clip and save:
NATIONAL CENTER for MISSING & EXPLOITED
Toll-free no. 1-800-THE-LOST
NYPD MISSING PERSONS SQUAD:
NY STATE CLEARING HOUSE FOR MISSING &
EXPLOITED CHILDREN: 1-800-FIND-KID
These Queens Children?
There one minute, gone the next. Missing children the sin of 20th
Case No. NY3623:
Melissa Reiter was a healthy, happy
baby and the child of a broken home.
On May 23, 1992, Melissa disappeared from
her Queens home. The courts had awarded custody to Melissas father, something her
mother was apparently unable to accept.
Melissa was 16-months old when she
disappeared so many years ago, her blue eyes just beginning to open on her world.
Detectives at the NYPD Missing Persons
Squad have classified her disappearance a "Family Abduction." She is believed to
be with her non-custodial mother, Beth Shari Reiter, aka Beth Shoken.
Melissa is now eight-years old. When last
seen, she had brown hair and piercing blue eyes. Beth Reiter will be 38-years old on Dec.
23. Investigators believe Melissa may still be in the New York area.
Case No. 861112
Milena Markovic was last seen on Feb.
20, 1999. The 15-year-old left her Queens home and never returned.
NYPD Missing Persons detectives have
classified her as an "Endangered Runaway." Alone on the streets of New York
Like most teenagers, Milenas days ran
hot and cold, and she possessed a normal adolescent curiosity about the world around her.
Milenas birthday is June 9. When last
seen, she was five-feet, two-inches tall, with red hair and blue eyes. She weighed about
Investigators believe Milena may still be
in the New York City area.
Case No. NY 4218
Police and the FBI have issued an
arrest warrant for Mohammed Saad El-Sayed. They believe he abducted his
then-three-year-old daughter on June 18, 1993 and fled the country, but he may since have
Nashwah Lylah El-Sayed was a well adjusted,
happy three-year-old when she was snatched from her Queens home by her father.
The child of a broken home, the courts had
awarded custody of Nashwah to her mother a circumstance her father apparently chose
Nashwah is nine years old now. Her birthday
is Sept. 26. When last seen, she had big brown eyes and a head full of bouncy brown curls.
Mohamed Saad El-Sayed is now 47-years old.
Father and daughter may be in the
Case No. NY5169
Melissa Maria Samaniego smiles from
ear-to-ear in the photo distributed by NYPD detectives.
She was five-years old when she disappeared
from her Queens home, where she lived with her father, who had been awarded custody of the
NYPD Missing Persons detectives believe she
was abducted by her non-custodial mother, Ana Fonesca. Melissa has been missing since
March 7, 1994.
When last seen, she had brown eyes and
brown hair. She would be nine years old today.
Ana Fonesca is now 48 years old. Police are
unsure of the whereabouts of Melissa and her mother.
If you have any information regarding these
children, you are urged to contact the New York State Missing and Exploited Children
Clearinghouse at their website: missingkids.com.
You may also contact the National Center
for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
If you have information regarding Melissa
Erin Reiter, Milena Markovic, or Melissa Maria Samaniego, you may also contact the NYPD
Missing Persons Squad at (212) 374-0319.
If you have information on the whereabouts
of Nashwah Lylah El-Sayed you are urged to call the FBI at (212) 335-2700 or
Officials also urge: If you think you may have seen any of
these children, please call the numbers listed above. You do not have to give your name.
All calls may be anonymous, and will be kept strictly confidential.