TAZEWELL, VA (WVNS) — Hundreds of thousands of children are reported missing each year across the United States.
The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is joining forces with U.S. Marshals and the FBI to form a Missing Child Unit for Southwest Virginia. Captain Jonathan Hankins was chosen to do the training.
“We trained on how to find children. There’s various ways that you go about their social media, their cell phones. There’s several things you can do to help find these children,” said Cpt. Hankins.
He said the statistics of missing and abducted children is shocking.
“A true child abduction, 77 percent of the children are murdered within 3 hours. That goes up to 88 percent after 24 hours, so it’s imperative that we find these children as quick as possible,” said Cpt. Hankins.
One reason Sheriff Brian Hieatt said they chose to join the unit is because of technology.
“The U.S. Marshals have a lot of equipment and a lot of tracking devices to be able to help track someone down. And they’ve done this for many many years with tracking down wanted people and fugitives. Now, they can use these same ways of tracking people down to help with missing children,” said Sheriff Hieatt.