For over a week newspapers across Canada were filled with news about a missing 3-year child in British Columbia.
3-year-old B.C. boy may have been kidnapped, say police ran the headline in the Toronto Star on September 9. It was an "every parent's nightmare" story. The parents tucked their son into bed at night and when they went to his room the next morning he was gone. Missing.
The child had been known to walk in his sleep but never before had he left the house when doing so.
At the same time a man who had previously served time for violent behaviour was named by the police as a person of interest.
An Amber alert was issued. No one knew where either the man or boy might be. Neighbours took time off work to form search parties. A ferry was called back to the dock and searched after someone thought they saw the boy among the passengers.
On the 9th of September the mother of the "person of interest" publicly called for her son to turn himself in. On the 10th of September the police announced that they considered the boy not lost but abducted. On September 11 the police announced that morning they had received a call informing them that the boy had been returned to his home (which was temporarily empty) sometime during the night. The police rushed to the house where they found the boy asleep on the sofa in the living room. His parents, staying at a house just a few doors away, saw the police cars and rushed to their home wondering what was going on. What they saw was their son. On September 14 the police announced that the man suspected of kidnapping the boy had been located and arrested.
No one knows what happened to the little boy over the days he was missing but he was returned in apparent good health to the arms of his family. As child abduction stories go this is about as "good" as it gets.
Today, the Toronto Star published a much needed PSA, Why Kienan’s abduction was 1 in 10 million, about child abduction. Kienan's case is unusual in many ways. Most children who go missing are killed within a few hours of their abduction. More importantly most children who go missing are not abducted by what the article refers to as "complete" strangers. The person lurking in the woods, the monster checking out the house as they drive slowly by and the predators who hang on in the park. Yes, it was the bogeyman who stole Kienan away in the night but statistics tell us that what parents really need to know is the person to watch for is the angry ex, the baby-sitter and that cousin who only started to spend time at the house after the kids were born.