ST. LOUIS — The national attention that surrounded the Gabby Petito disappearance is putting a spotlight on missing person cases across the country.
People have been taking to social media over the last week, acknowledging the attention on the Petito case and wanting to remind the public their loved one is still missing.
“I know everyone is focused on gabby right now. This baby has been missing for a couple years. She was abducted. Can we use this same energy for her?” one Twitter user pleaded while sharing a missing person flier for a 5-year-old girl named Dulce Maria Alavez.
The interest in missing person cases isn’t just trending on Twitter; search for the topic “missing person” has essentially doubled on Google in the past week compared to the week before.
Across Missouri and Illinois, there are hundreds of people missing. Children, teenagers and adults who haven’t been found. Some of the missing person cases date back to the 1960s; some of the children who went missing then would now be in their 70s.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol uses missing person information from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The most current data as of Thursday shows 592 missing adults, with the oldest case dating back to June 1971 in Springfield, Missouri.
The website lists an additional 633 active missing children cases in Missouri, including four new cases this Thursday alone.
In Illinois, the state uses data from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) for tracking the number of active cases. As of Thursday, there are 142 missing or unidentified children in the state.
The Illinois State Police website lists 14 missing adults.
If you have any information on a missing person, you’re urged to call 911 or your local law enforcement agency. There's also a tool on the NCMEC website to report a missing child. Sightings also can be called in to 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).