9-Year-Old Chicago Boy Who Went Missing Found Safe

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 9, 2019US News
9-Year-Old Chicago Boy Who Went Missing Found Safe
Michael Campbell, a 9-year-old fourth-grader at Harvard Elementary School, was found safe on Jan. 9, 2019. (Chicago Police Department)

A 9-year-old Chicago boy who was reported missing on Jan. 8, reunited with his father on Wednesday.

Family members couldn’t locate Michael Campbell, a fourth-grader, so they reported him missing.

The boy’s father, Chris Campbell, told WGN-TV that the boy was at a friend’s house during the search, which lasted through the night.

Police officers used spotlights and other equipment to search near Campbell’s home, which is about a block away from his school, Harvard Elementary School, in the Englewood neighborhood, reported CBS. Some of his belongings were found in an alley.

The boy went to the friend’s because he was afraid to head home after school on Tuesday after hearing gunshots in the area.

The boy fell asleep after playing video games.

On Wednesday morning, Campbell reunited with his family.

His mother said he usually returned home no later than 4:15 p.m., prompting his parents to see if he was still at school or was at a friend’s house. Thirty minutes later they tried searching for him but called 911 when they still couldn’t locate him.

“He said he didn’t come home last night when he went by his friend’s house because there was gunfire and he asked the kid’s mother can he stay and they told him he could stay,” Chris Campbell, the boy’s father, told WLS. “He fell asleep after they played video games.”

“I knew everything was going to be okay,” added Allison Campbell, the boy’s aunt. “I prayed and prayed before I got in my car last night, I prayed.”

Chris Campbell said that children in the area helped find his boy.

“All this was about kids,” Chris Campbell said. “No adults gave us any tips. This was children under 12 years old that told us everything.”

He also thanked the police department for their help.

Missing Children

There were 464,324 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2017, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement they must be entered into the database. In 2016, there were 465,676 entries.

“This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center noted.

In 2017, the center said it assisted officers and families with the cases of more than 27,000 missing children. In those cases, 91 percent were endangered runaways, and 5 percent were family abductions.

About one in seven children reported missing to the center in 2017 were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Nancy McBride, the executive director of Florida Outreach at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said that most of the runaways involve technology.

“(Technology) has great benefits and some potential risks,” McBride told USA Today in 2017. “It’s important to stay plugged into their lives.”

Tech is utilized by online predators, McBride said, who exploit gaps when the child’s relationship with their parents isn’t strong.

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