MILWAUKEE - Dozens of people go missing every day but rarely do their cases garner global attention – as the case involving Gabby Petito has. You can help raise awareness with the click of a button.
One of the easiest ways to assist in these cases is to look at and share missing posters. While law enforcement works behind the scenes, experts say it takes a community to help keep this information active.
"We rely greatly on the community," said John Bischoff, vice president of the Missing Children's Division with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
In the days following the discovery of the body of Petito, 22, in Wyoming, her homicide is drawing renewed attention to missing persons' cases across the nation, many of them, missing kids.
"It’s unfortunate that it does take a tragedy like Gabby’s case to really shine a spotlight on these issues," said Bischoff.
Bischoff said at any given time, the nonprofit is assisting with 5,500 missing child cases.
"Each of those children has a family who is actively looking for them," said Bischoff.
Currently, in Wisconsin, there are 42 active cases for missing kids.
"Thirty-eight of them are for missing children, and four are for unidentified human remains believed to be that of children," said Bischoff.
Bischoff said everyone can take steps now to help bring them home, and it could be as simple as sharing a missing poster on social media when you see one.
"Keep your eyes out," said Bischoff. "Often, these children are missing in plain sight, and it really just takes the right person to see the child at the right time and recognize and report it. Someone knows something. We need that person to step forward."
If you visit NCMEC's website and search ‘Wisconsin,’ you'll find photos and descriptions of all 42 missing child cases. Click on a name, and it's simple to share their poster.
If your child goes missing, you're urged to contact law enforcement immediately.
"That law enforcement agency is the boots on the ground, they’re going to be there in a matter of minutes. There is absolutely no waiting time on reporting a child as missing," said Bischoff.
Bischoff then suggests reporting the case to NCMEC by calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Find additional resources from NCMEC by clicking HERE.
The Clearinghouse for Missing & Exploited Children & Adults keeps track of all missing persons cases in Wisconsin. Search active cases through the Wisconsin Department of Justice's website.