The last report of an abducted child in Lubbock happened 25 years ago. Lubbock investigators say the child was five years-old and the body was found in Yellowhouse Canyon. Police say they handle two different types of missing children cases: abducted children and runaways.
Lubbock Police say that they get more runaway calls than anything, but they still handle each case very seriously. When a child is taken by a stranger, their parents' lives fade to black. Lubbock Police and sheriff's departments deal with 5 to 10 missing children reports a week. But a case where a child is really missing... "I would say it has been about a year or so where the search extended an eight hour shift," said Captain Thomas Esparza. Esparza says if the LPD receives a report that a child 10 years-old or younger is missing, they initiate a search immediately until the child is found.
However, Captain Esparza says that most missing children reports are teens who are runaways. At that point, information about the teen is entered into both a Texas and national data base. "There are a lot of cases and we cannot work on each individually, but we have a process to ensure that this child is being looked for," said Esparza.
Lubbock County has a brand new way of tracking down missing children through a computer program called Child Alert. "What we have instilled in this particular database is the ability to immediately disseminate information to other law enforcement, bus stations, other investigators in the region, and the media within a 100 mile radius," said County Criminal Investigator Greg Parrott.
Parrott says they got their system up and running about six months ago, and so far, the county has used it three times to send out information about a missing person. "We have one young lady who is profiled Victoria Ann Zepeda. This was originally reported to the police. We are assisting them as much as we can as to where her whereabouts are," said Parrott.
Things Kids Should Know
Their full name and complete addres
Their Parents name and place of employment.
Their phone number and how to use the "911" system.
Don't talk to strangers or accept anything from them.
If a stranger ask for help, say "NO" and go and find an adult.
Never go into someone's house without your parent's permission.
Avoid secluded areas such as alleys, vacant lots and behind shopping centers.
Walk with other kids whenever possible.
NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! get into a vehicle with a stranger.
Walk facing traffic. If a stranger stops, scream "NO" and run the opposite direction from the front of the vehicle and run to a public place.
If a stranger if following you, do not hide in the bushes, go to a public place and call or yell for help.
If a stranger grabs you yell, "This is not my father/mother"!!
We will also cover some basic escape technigues such as targeting the most vital areas of the human body so that you can escape. We do not tell our students to out fight the adult rather, try to escape and run away yelling for help. A stranger is simply someone, male or female, that we don'f know or have not met.
A biker group called the Southern Cruisers helped raise money to pay for the county's membership to the Child Alert Foundation.