Maryland's Missing: The Cases That Remain Unsolved
Updated: Friday, May 9 2014, 04:51 PM EDT
The search for missing children is a daily task for law enforcement agencies across the nation. Here in Maryland, two high-profile cases in just one month left many searching for answers.
In Dundalk, 11-year-old Caitlyn Virts was found safe and sound on March 7, but 8-year-old Relisha Rudd of DC has yet to be found.
The disappearance of Caitlyn Virts dominated the news after she was taken from her home in March. Just 36 hours after she went missing, she was found safe in South Carolina. But every day hundreds of parents in Maryland live with the pain of not knowing what happened to their child.
Toya Hill, Ramona Edd, Tiffany Goines, Kenneth Hager … the list goes on, with names many wouldn't recognize.
At the Maryland Center for Missing and Unidentified persons stands a wall, filled with photos of missing children, cases that remain unsolved.
"Anytime we hear anything about possible new information or the possibility that they've been located, you're just sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting and hoping and praying that these kids will be found," Carla Proudfoot, the director of the center said.
Hager is the oldest case on Maryland's books. He vanished in April 1947 and would turn 79 next month.
The newest case is something that changes from day to day. In Maryland, on any given day, there are about 2,000 open cases. Over the course of a year the center receives up to 12,000 reports of missing juveniles and adults.
"Some cases may stay on for months," Proudfoot said. "Some cases they might have recovered the child in an hour of us doing the poster. It's constantly changing. We're adding and changing constantly."
Proudfoot says prevention should always be top priority.
"Start at an early age," Proudfoot recommends. "Start talking to them about age appropriate information for their safety."
On average the Maryland Center for Missing and Unidentified Persons receives 30 reports a day. Baltimore city has about 3,500 missing person cases a year.
There is no waiting period, and those who believe their child is missing can contact police immediately. Officials recommend to always have a picture of your child ready, and talk to family, friends, and neighbors.
No matter the number of years that have passed, all of Maryland's open cases remain on the books. Even after a case is closed, it's retained for three years.