Case of Missing 12-Year-Old Autumn Pasquale Reveals Sad Truth – Parents Are Powerless

missing

An all too familiar headline has crept back into the news today. Police are searching for another missing child girl, this time in Clayton, New Jersey.

Twelve-year-old Autumn Pasquale hasn't been seen or heard from since around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday when she left her father's house and rode her white BMX bike to a friend's place. She never made it there.

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Her mother Jenn Cornwall said that Autumn had phoned her 15 minutes after she left home but that was the last communication she was known to have. Her alarmed father reported her missing around 9:30 p.m  when he realized Autumn never arrived. And both parents shot down any suggestions that she may have run away.

 "When you wake up in the morning and your daughter's still not home, it's time to panic,"  Cornwall said. "I don't know who she was supposed to meet up with. She just left and said she was meeting a friend." While no one has seen her, investigators say a cell phone tower in nearby Williamstown had picked up a signal from her phone. So far, however, they haven't uncovered any other leads.

What's just as frightening as a poor child being snatched off the street, is how common these crimes are these days. I am not sure if they are just getting more coverage or actually happening with more frequency. I remember being so annoyed at my own mother's abduction paranoia some 25 years ago. Even when I hit my teens,  she would make me call her as soon as I arrived to wherever I was headed. I rolled my eyes every time but she was right to be so diligent even back then. Her philosophy was that my brief embarrassment was worth her peace of mind.

Autumn's story, like so many others, should touch a nerve with all parents. It is unbelievable that we live in a world where a 12-year-old can't safely ride her bike to a friend's house. Those days are over and I am not sure they will ever come back. That makes being a parent today that much scarier in this day and age.

All we can do is teach them that this danger is very real and not just something that happens on TV. They need to be leery of even the most harmless-looking strangers and maybe even learn a few self-defense tactics too. We parents have to be hyper-vigilant about knowing their every move and hope and pray all this is enough. Bottom line is, kids just aren't safe anymore – whether you live in a big, bustling city or small, country town.

Have you talked to your kids about child abductions? If so, what did you say?

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