In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th as National Missing Children's Day in memory of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared from a New York City street corner on May 25, 1979. This day shines a spotlight on child safety and honors the professionals dedicated to protecting children around the country.
Today, the Department announced the winners of the 2021 National Missing Children’s Day awards. The recipients were recognized for their extraordinary efforts to find missing children, protect children from harm, and bring perpetrators to justice. They include:
- Attorney General's Special Commendation
- Missing Children's Child Protection Award
- Missing Children's Citizen Award
- Missing Children's Law Enforcement Award
The Department recognized a sergeant and four detectives from Fresno, California; a sergeant from Addison, Illinois; a United States Postal Service employee from Columbia, Maryland; and two coordinators of the Missing Child Center-Hawaii. The Department also declared Kansas fifth-grader Heidy Jimena Perez Veleta the winner of this year's poster contest.
"The artwork Heidy created is a heartfelt depiction of the love, and sadness, families feel when their child goes missing," said OJJDP Acting Administrator Chyrl Jones. “We congratulate Heidy and all the contest participants for continuing the conversation of child safety in communities across the country."
In lieu of an in-person ceremony, OJJDP will commemorate National Missing Children’s Day virtually through a website featuring remarks from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, and other Department officials. Visit the website for additional information about the awardees, poster contest winner, and related resources.