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The reality of recovering missing children: By the numbers
A few high-profile kidnapping cases have recently dominated headlines, masking the fact that a majority of child-abduction cases end with the child being recovered
Arizona police are still searching for Isabel Mercedes Celis, who was last seen April 20: Since 1996, Amber Alerts have helped recover 572 children.
Arizona police are still searching for Isabel Mercedes Celis, who was last seen April 20: Since 1996, Amber Alerts have helped recover 572 children.
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he resurrection of the search for Etan Patz, the 6-year-old New York City boy who disappeared while walking to the bus stop 33 years ago, has revived a slew of children's safety concerns, not to mention parental nightmares. While New York detectives were digging up a Manhattan basement earlier this month in search of Etan's remains, Arizona law enforcement officers were on the hunt for Isabel Mercedes Celis, a 6-year-old girl who was plucked from her bedroom in the middle of the night. While these cases make parents want to restrict their kids' fledgling independence in order to protect them, they also mask an encouraging development in the search for kids who disappear: The vast majority "of children reported missing in America in recent years have come home alive," Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, tells Reuters. Here a look at the numbers behind the optimism:

62
Percentage of missing children recovered in 1990

97
Percentage of missing children recovered in 2011

115
Estimated number of children who are victims of "stereotypical" kidnapping in a given year, meaning they were abducted by strangers

57
Percentage of children who come home alive after being abducted by strangers

94
Percentage of recovered children who are found within 72 hours

797,500 
Children reported missing in the U.S. annually

2,185
U.S. children reported missing each day

203,900
Children abducted by family members

58,200
Children taken by people familiar to the family or to the children in some way

169,000
Children the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has helped to find since it was created in 1984

572
Children, since 1996, who have been recovered as a result of an Amber Alert

205
Children, since 1996, who have been recovered as a result of a Walmart posting

153
Children, since 1985, who have been recovered as a result of a direct mailing

10
Children, since 1996, who have been recovered as a result of a nightly news segment

3
Children, between 1984 and 1985, who were recovered as a result of a milk carton advertisement

Sources: The Economist, The National Center for Missing and Exploited ChildrenReuters, WNYC

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