President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25, 1983, the first 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. Etan's killer was convicted in February 2017, but the case remains active because his body was never found. Each year, the Department of Justice commemorates Missing Children's Day by honoring the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.
Read about the impact of Etan Patz's story and the work of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in a blog from the Office of Justice Programs.
National Missing Children's Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. The commemoration serves as a reminder to continue our efforts to reunite missing children with their families and an occasion to honor those dedicated to this cause.