Polly’s Guide To A Safe Halloween

8 yr old Polly - HalloweenHalloween can be as frightening as it is fun. Scary stories, haunted houses, and jack-o-lanterns rule the day. Children dress up in costumes that stretch the imagination. We laugh, we cringe, and we marvel at their creativity. They knock on the doors of strangers and receive all manner of treats. In the United States Halloween celebrates goons, goblins, ghosts, and all things departed.

 

No wonder moms and dads all over America feel like they are rolling dice with fate as the tykes disappear into the darkness. Hopefully, Polly’s Guide to a Safe Halloween will alleviate some of that anxiety.

 

  • Trick-or-Treat with a group andd take along a parent or a teen-aged brother or sister
  • Check the Megan’s Law website for sex offenders in your neighborhood and avoid homes where sex offenders live
  • Make sure that someone in your group has a cell phone with a charged battery
  • Trick-or-Treat in neighborhoods you know, you trust and that are well lit
  • Stay out of dark alleys, dark stairwells, or remote locations
  • Discuss your Halloween route with your parents and the time you will return
  • Wear clothing that is light in color and not too long. Add something that glows in the dark or is reflective
  • wear make-up instead of a mask that can inhibit vision
  • Take a flashlight and walk on the sidewalk
  • Cross streets at the crosswalk and stay away from cars
  • Stay outside the homes you visit
  • Be sure all treats are wrapped and sealed. Eat them only after a parent checks them first
  • Trust your feelings! Stay away from strange or uncomfortable situations
  • If you do not feel safe Trick-or-Treating, do not Trick-or-Treat
  • Have an FUN and SAFE Halloween!

Media Relations & Missing Children

What would you do if your child was kidnapped? How would you handle media relations? Below you will find time tested strategies, ideas, and concepts that you can adapt to help you through the most difficult of times as well as maximize your media opportunities.

 

Cooperate with the media: They can be intrusive and annoying, but media can broadcast an image and the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a son / daughter to more people in just 30 seconds than you will accomplish stapling flyers to telephone poles in 100 years. They can ask questions that feel prying and insensitive but ultimately are valuable.

 

Some missing children can not be resolved quickly and can continue for weeks, months, or years. Some cases are never solved. To encourage an ongoing investigation you need the support of a proactive public. If we allow the community to forget the case, the efforts of the authorities will be reduced and the ability to recover your child / a decreases dramatically.

 

The most effective method of obtaining and maintaining support is to ensure that the public is invested in the welfare of your son / daughter. Radio, television and newspapers provide an opportunity to humanize his son, thus making it an emotionally society for research.

 

We have broken the media experience into three categories: Mainstream Media; Social Media; & Press Releases and Press Conferences. Please feel free to use any of the strategies, examples or ideas as they apply to your situation.

Mainstream Media

Social Media

Press Releases & Press Conferences

Why DNA is Important to You

child safety capsuleDid you know that personalized medicine is not only rapidly growing, but taking on new meaning with the advances being made in genetic research?  So how could this impact your interest in Child Safety?

 

The GENiSYSS Child Safety Capsule is a “time capsule” that collects all the crucial information for emergency response plus DNA.  That includes medical history and information, contact information for family and friends, fingerprints, photos, audios, distinguishing characteristics, all the information law enforcement and medical responders need to quickly search and hopefully find your child.

 

The deeper advantage is that this information, including the DNA sample taken as a tiny drop of blood in our DNA wells containing patented material to keep the DNA whole and safe for many years, can be taken forward into the child’s adult life.  Why would this be important?

 

Medical science is able to use DNA from earlier in a person’s life, and hopefully prior to that person’s daily exposure to smog, cigarettes, radiation (even from the sun), chemicals and poisons that actually change our DNA.  It’s these changes that are at the root of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autism, Touette’s Syndrome and many other diseases and conditions. If “cleaner” early DNA has been stored and is available, DNA can help predict, prevent and treat these diseases before they become problems in a person’s life.

 

Wouldn’t you like to have a device that is useful during your child’s life to keep crucial information stored and at your fingertips in case of emergency?  Wouldn’t it be great if that same device could be important to your child as an adult?

 

To learn more, visit the GENiSYSS Indiegogo Campaign Page.  You’ll be amazed at what you learn, and how easy it is to be prepared for an emergency while your child is young and vulnerable with a device that is important to your child as an adult.

Help KlaasKids Stop Crimes Against Children

Pasta PomodoroSausalito CA: Local Italian restaurant chain Pasta Pomodoro will host a fundraising day for the KlaasKids Foundation commemorating the 21st anniversary of Polly Klaas’ tragedy. “This is a perfect time for our friends and supporters to contemplate Polly’s powerful, multi-generational legacy,” said her father Marc Klaas.  “The more people that support this effort, the greater the impact on our efforts to stop crimes against children.”

 

Pasta Pomodoro will donate 20% of your bill (excluding tax and gratuity) to the KlaasKids Foundation for all diners who present a KlaasKids/Pasta Pomodoro flyer to their server prior to ordering. This offer includes lunch, dinner, and take-out orders throughout the day on October 1, 2014.

 

 

 

WHAT:             Pasta for Polly

WHEN:            October 1, 2014 from 11am-9pm

WHERE:           All 19-Bay Area Pasta Pomodoro Locations

 

David Wallace, President of Pasta Pomodoro said, “We are thrilled to support KlaasKids Foundation.  As a local business, Pasta Pomodoro welcomes the opportunity to give back to the community.”

 

About Pasta Pomodoro: The first Pasta Pomodoro was opened in San Francisco in 1994, and immediately became a neighborhood fixture serving fresh, local and authentic Italian fare.  There are 19 restaurants in the Bay Area community. For more information, please visit www.pastapomodoro.com or www.facebook.com/pastapomodoro and follow us on Twitter @PastaPomodoro.

 

The KlaasKids Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) (3) public benefit corporation determined to stop crimes against children and assists families of missing children. Please visit www.klaaskids.org for more information.

Hannah Graham’s Parents

Hannah 2

If missing University of Virginia coed, 18-year-old Hannah Graham’s parents experience is anything like mine was when Polly went missing, they are dominated by turbo charged states of fear, anxiety and anger.

Hannah 1

Not scary movie fear that subsides after two hours: instead, a tsunami of unrelenting emotion that causes perpetual sweat, takes you to the edge and hurls you into the abyss.

Hannah 3

The anxiety nearly paralyzes you, making it almost impossible to eat, sleep, or focus on anything  beyond recovering your missing child.

Hannah 4

They are angry at their inability to get a grip on the situation, at the police for not finding Hannah, and at their God for allowing her to be touched by evil.

Tornado-Photos-and-Wallpapers-1

They are in the midst of a category 5 tornado that they are unable to control, that offers no respite, and from which they are unable to escape!

Where is Hannah Graham?

graham18-year-old University of Virginia coed Hannah Graham has been missing since the early morning of Saturday, September 13. Video surveillance places her with 32-year-old Jesse Matthew in the moments before she disappeared. Last Thursday (9/18/14) Matthew was identified and law enforcement received a warrant to search his car. VA Police Chief Timothy Longo then said that officers developed probable cause during the seizure of Matthew’s vehicle to justify and obtain another search warrant for his apartment. Last Saturday (9/20/14) Jesse Mathew walked into the Charlotsville PD and asked for a lawyer. He was allowed to leave without being questioned, and managed to evade law enforcement’s attempt to follow him. Now, he is missing too.

graham perp

If I were Hannah’s family I would be livid that the last known individual who saw Hannah walked into and then out of the Police Station without being questioned, or successfully followed. The police literally allowed the only suspect in the case slip between their fingers and now he’s missing as well.

Graham parents

Law enforcement will subpoena his electronic activity on the day of and days following Hannah’s disappearance. They will try to match cell phone activity between his and her cell phones. In other words, did the phones ping off of the same towers, were they traveling in the same direction, etc. This information will also provide law enforcement with new potential search locations. They will also attempt to locate him through credit card transactions, known acquaintances, etc.

 

This case will remain prominent in the media for the foreseeable future. The potential of tying it to the Morgan Harrington case, the other missing and unsolved cases, and the intense manhunt and search for Hannah demands public scrutiny. It is, once again, the perfect storm for a missing person case. Let us just hope that Hannah can be found…dead or alive!

Amber Alert Insanity!

Missing MomClarksburg, MD law enforcement is searching for 27-year-old Catherin Hoggle, who has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, in connection with the disappearance of her two young children. Her 2-year-old son Jacob was last seen at his grandparents’ home on Sunday afternoon (9/7/14), shortly before his mother drove him to get a pizza. When Ms. Hoggle returned three hours later without her son or a pizza she told her parents that she had left Jacob with a friend for a stay-over. The next morning (9/8/14) she drove away with her three-year-old daughter Sarah. When she returned she told her common law husband Troy Turner that she had dropped both kids off at daycare. When she was not forthcoming about the children’s whereabouts later that day Mr. Turner decided to report the incident to the police. Before he could do so Catherine Hoggle disappeared inside a fast food restaurant. Neither she nor her children have been seen since.

 

Little Jacob and Sarah are in grave danger and the police need every tool in their arsenal if they are going to recover the children alive, yet an Amber Alert has not been activated. The case does not fit the Amber Alert criteria because a car was not involved in the children’s disappearance.

 

The Amber Alert has always had great potential. However, that potential has been stymied by a fundamental misunderstanding of its intent and purpose. The Amber Alert was not created to be activated under specific conditions. Instead, it was meant as a partnership between law enforcement, media, and the public. It offered the public a viable means of assisting in the recovery of kidnapped children.

 

The Amber Alert as currently utilized in the United States is myopic, inflexible and most certainly costs children their lives. Maryland can remedy similar situations in the future by enacting legislation, issuing an executive order, an administrative rule or whatever means is necessary to include children who have been taken by a biological parent with severe mental illness, regardless of whether a car was involved or not.

The Day the Laughter Died

Polly and her sister Annie Nichol

Polly and her sister Annie Nichol

It’s a common refrain for people in my situation. Your child is kidnapped. Time passes and answers are not forthcoming. You sink into despair as you contemplate why God has forsaken your family, yourself, and most importantly your child. What are you to do if you are thrashing about in total darkness without a flashlight to guide you to the path of hope?

 

Robin Williams was not a friend of mine. However, we lived in the same general community in Northern California. He was known to pop up unexpectedly and without an entourage at local comedy clubs, restaurants, county fairs, and other places that normal people would frequent. At any rate our paths had never crossed until the dark days after Polly’s abduction on October 1, 1993.

 

mrs-doubtfireMr. Williams was but one of many who assisted with the Polly search. I learned that he had reached out to Polly’s half-sister Annie (not my daughter) and the girls who were with Polly on the night that she was kidnapped. He spent time with them. He gave them autographed copies of the Mrs. Doubtfire script, and ultimately reintroduced laughter into the broken hearts of suffering children.

 

When he showed up during a fundraising event in Santa Rosa he brought light into the darkness. When he took over auctioneer duties the trickle of support became a river of sustenance. An autographed Willie Mays baseball bat which had been languishing at around $100 quickly sold for more than $2,000 and the man who purchased it couldn’t have been happier. And so it went throughout the evening as the manic styling of the comic with the sad eyes stole hearts and induced much needed laughter.

 

The last time I saw him was at Piatti Restaurant in Mill Valley. He was seated alone at a table for four, facing away from the panoramic view of Mt. Tamalpais and the Marin Headlands. When Violet and I were seated I nodded to him. He smiled in response. Violet encouraged me to approach Mr. Williams to thank him for the unsolicited $10,000 donation that he had made some years later and his overall kindness, but I declined. I wish I could take that moment back, because I don’t think I ever formally thanked him for his benevolence and caring. Now it is too late, because although my season in Hell is long past, his did not end until last Monday: the day the laughter died.

Who Killed Jenise Wright?

402764def040dcb6ca08b8f7b02580edSix-year-old Jenise Wright, whose remains were found in the woods near the trailer park where she lived with her parents and two siblings in Bremerton, WA, was one of those children who never had a chance. She was a trusting, loving little girl who never met a stranger and she was apparently given free rein to run wild and unsupervised from the time she was only three-years-old. As a result she will never celebrate her seventh birthday.

Jenise Wright's Parents

Jenise Wright’s Parents

As difficult as it is to look past her father’s criminal history, it is his comments since Jenise disappeared that are particularly troubling. I want to be clear that the foundation for my concerns is based on my own reaction and state of mind when Polly disappeared more than 20-years ago. One of the many life changing experiences that are still seared into my brain was the immediate, laser focus I was able to achieve upon learning that Polly had been kidnapped. There was no ambiguity about my purpose, or question as to my intent. My job, for better or worse, was to find Polly.

 

However, the day after Jenise was reported missing her father told a local reporter that, “my mind is still spinning”. I can understand psychological or spiritual turmoil because I too grappled with both of those emotions, but intellectually I was in blinders with one goal in mind. To complicate matters even more so, James Wright called his missing daughter “a spoiled little brat” and “the princess of the household” who “always gets her way most of the time.”  I am at a total loss as to why, given the gravity of the situation, the father of a missing child would characterize her in such unflattering terms. He should be investing people in the search for Jenise, not whining about her perceived shortcoming.

 

Hillary Clinton popularized the term it takes a village to raise a child, but she did not mean that as an excuse to defer parental responsibility and allow friends, neighbors, and strangers to assist in that role. Combined with Mr. Wright’s criminal history and his odd behavior and statements since the search started and a very troubling possibility rears its ugly head.

 

Finally, the omission of any statement from the authorities warning the community that a cold blooded killer is on the loose speaks volumes.

How Abigail Hernanzed Escaped from the Belly of the Beast!

Abigail-HernandezPretty young girls like Abigail Hernandez are kidnapped so that they can be sexually exploited. That is what happened to Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Shouf, Shasta Groene, Tara Burke, Shawn Hornbeck, and Steven Staynor (all of whom lived to tell their stories). It was also the motivation behind the kidnappings of the vast majority of kids, including my Polly, who were ultimately murdered as a result of their abduction.

 

I suspect that she got away by earning her kidnappers trust and securing enough freedom to affect her escape, or he was distracted and she took advantage of an opportunity, or some combination of the two. It is also possible that she convinced him to let her go, although knowing the mind set of desperate sexual predators, I find that unlikely.

Crazy Nate Kibby

Crazy Nate Kibby

The important lesson here is that she managed to stay alive long enough to escape Crazy Nate Kibby, a dangerous sexual predator.