Here is some background information about missing children in the United States. There are several different types of missing children: runaways, family abductions, lost or "thrown away," and non-family abductions. Recent advances in technology, communications through public alerts, and greater cooperation from law enforcement have helped solve many cases quickly.
Statistics: An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year. (NCMEC)
A study published by the Department of Justice in 2002 reported that of the 797,500 children reported missing in a one-year period, 203,900 were abducted by family members and 58,200 were abducted by non-relatives. 115 were classified as being taken by a stranger.
AMBER Alert: "AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alerts are emergency messages broadcast when a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger. The broadcasts include information about the child and the abductor, including physical descriptions as well as information about the abductor's vehicle - which could lead to the child's recovery."
Between 1997 and October 2013, the AMBER Alert program has been credited with the safe recovery of 656 children.
All 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have AMBER Alert plans in place to help find missing children in danger.
The AMBER Alert system was named in honor of Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and murdered in 1996.
Notable and Recent Cases: This list represents notable and/or recent cases.
Ayla Reynolds December 17, 2011 - Father Justin DiPietro reports his 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds is missing from their home in Waterville, Maine.
January 28, 2012 - Police reveal that they found blood stains, identified as Reynolds' blood type, in the basement of the DiPietro home.
February 3, 2012 - Divers search two bodies of water near the home of Ayla Reynolds for a second time, but find no sign of her.
Lisa Irwin October 4, 2011 - Ten-month old Lisa is found to be missing from her crib by her father, Jeremy Irwin, when he returns home from work between 3 and 4am. Also missing are the family cell phones.
November 23, 2011 - Command post investigating Lisa's disappearance is shut down. FBI and Kansas City police had been involved; eight Kansas City detectives remain on the case.
Haleigh Cummings February 9-10, 2009 - Five-year-old Haleigh is discovered missing from her trailer home in Satsuma, Florida.
Dylan and Shasta Groene May 16, 2005 - Nine year old Dylan and eight year old Shasta are reported missing from their home after their mother, her boyfriend, and their older brother are found murdered in their Coeur d'Alene, Idaho home.
July 2, 2005 - Shasta is rescued at a Denny's restaurant with her captor, Joseph Edward Duncan III, a convicted sex offender. Duncan is arrested for Shasta and Dylan's kidnapping.
July 10, 2005 - Remains found at a Montana campsite are identified as Dylan's.
July 12, 2005 - Duncan is charged with three counts of first degree murder.
October 16, 2006 - Joseph Edward Duncan pleads guilty to murder and kidnapping and is sentenced to life without parole for the kidnappings. He is still eligible for the death penalty for the three murders.
2008 - Duncan receives three death sentences and six life terms in federal and state courts.
Laura Hobbs and Krystal Tobias May 8, 2005 - Are reported missing from their homes in Zion, Illinois.
May 9, 2005 - Laura's father, Jerry Hobbs, discovers Laura and Krystal's stabbed and beaten bodies in a neighborhood park.
May 10, 2005 - Jerry Hobbs is arrested and charged with the murders.
August 4, 2010 - The murder charges are dropped and Jerry Hobbs is released from prison after DNA links the killings to Jorge Torrez, a man jailed in Virginia.
December 2010 - Torrez is given five consecutive life sentences in Virginia for kidnapping and rape.