A California man whose young daughter was abducted and strangled 19 years ago has dedicated the intervening years to helping find children who go missing.
Marc Klaas operates on the principle that a sustainable search for a missing child depends on the momentum of the loved ones closest to the absent family member.
“Parents are the best advocates for a missing kid,” Marc Klaas said Thursday from Sausalito, Calif. “If the family gives up hope, what hope is there?”
Dylan Redwine, 13, dropped out of sight Nov. 19 while on a court-ordered visit to his father, Mark Redwine, in Vallecito.
The coordinator of the volunteer search teams looking for Dylan Redwine said Friday that community interest in the case remains fairly high.
“This is still a heartache for (the community), and having no answers is scary,” Denise Hess said. “There is very high awareness. I feel (interest) might be waning a little bit. The momentum has definitely slowed down, but it is still pretty high.”
Klaas founded KlaasKids Foundation in 1994 as a result of the kidnapping and murder of his 12-year-old daughter, Polly, the year before. Polly was abducted at knife point at a slumber party on Oct. 1, 1993, and strangled. The killer gave information that led to the discovery of her body about three months later.
KlaasKids promotes child safety. In 2001 he co-founded BeyondMissing Inc., a federally funded nonprofit that distributes information about missing children. He speaks extensively across the country.
It’s up to family members and advocates to keep public attention focused on a missing child, Klaas said. They can use the professional media and social networking, he said.
“I think Facebook now has 1 billion subscribers,” Klaas said. “We can still grab media attention, too.”
Klaas said that despite the arrest of a suspect in the March 16 abduction of Sierra LaMar, 15, while she was waiting for a school bus in Morgan Hill (15 miles south of San Jose), an active search for her continues.
“Eight months after Sierra disappeared, 40 people still turn out every Saturday to search for her,” Klaas said. “But we don’t give out specifics about their activities.”