How to protect your children from kidnappers

How to protect your children from kidnappers
Jannah Bailey, the executive director of Child Protect in Montgomery, said it’s important to speak with your children about the importance of being aware of their surroundings. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - First Kamille McKinney went missing in Birmingham, then Aniah Blanchard disappeared in Auburn.

We live in a country where this is all too common. According to NamUS, approximately 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year. Sadly, many are never found, and if they are, often times it’s too late.

Take 3-year-old McKinney for example. McKinney was abducted from a birthday party in Birmingham on Oct. 12. Later that night, an AMBER Alert was issued.

The following day, two persons of interest were arrested: 39-year-old Patrick Stallworth and 29-year-old Derick Brown.

Then, on Oct. 22, ten days after McKinney was reported missing, her body was found in a dumpster at a local landfill. That same day, Stallworth and Brown were charged with capital murder.

Two days after McKinney’s body was found in Birmingham, Blanchard was reported missing in Auburn.

The following night, Oct. 25, Blanchard’s vehicle was found at an apartment complex in Montgomery, an hour west of Auburn. Blanchard has yet to be found.

Since Blanchard was reported missing, her mother, Angela Haley-Harris, has spoken to local media about her daughter’s disappearance.

The day after a missing persons report was filed with the Auburn Police Department, Haley-Harris dropped a bombshell: her daughter, Blanchard, was with a man the night she went missing.

“[She was with] a young man that she had just met, and that is all. She didn’t say how she met him, where she met, where she was at. She was with a certain person and that she had just met him," Haley-Harris said.

That statement is concerning to Jannah Bailey, the executive director of Child Protect in Montgomery.

“As social media grows, and all the kids having cell phones, or having access to computers, we have seen where children, young adults, you know, teenagers and kids as young as nine, have met people online and have actually met them face-to-face. So, once again, we have to be adults and we have to be parents and monitor what’s going on. You know, you should have access to your child’s phone and to their computers," said Bailey.

Bailey said it’s important to speak with your children about the importance of being aware of their surroundings.

“If children are younger, you need to tell them to be very cautious and not to talk to someone that they don’t know, unless there is an adult that they do know around. For parents, you need to keep an eye on your children," said Bailey. “Make sure that you always know where they’re going, whose house they’re going to play in, what adults are going to be there and who else is going to be there. Just monitoring the kids watching where they are in the neighborhood, not letting them wander off, make sure they’re in after dark.”

Bailey offered the following tips:

  • Parents must monitor their child’s internet usage, and the apps they’re downloading
  • Children must stay aware of their surroundings at all times
  • Limit the personal information you and your children post on social media
  • Teach your child to fight back
    • “Tell them to scream and say, ‘No!’ and try not to get close to someone they don’t know," Bailey said.

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