National organization celebrates hope for missing children

Approximately 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported missing since 1999, that's according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

May 25 is a day designated to remember and bring awareness to the thousands of children who have gone missing across the nation.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children challenges parents to take part in the national child safety campaign, Take 25, to talk safety with their children.

"Just be aware of what you see and your surroundings," said Special Crimes Coordinator Lt. Eric Bohannon. "If your kids start wondering off, maybe somebody has called them over, and you don't know that person, surely put a stop it that."

Other tips include teaching your child identification information as well as how and when to use 911.

Talking with your kids can prevent cases such as one of Amarillo's biggest and well known cold cases, Dorien Thomas who went missing in 1998, when he was only 9 years old.

"It was a huge investigation from the get-go.," said Bohannon. "We had all kinds of officers helping out looking for him. People in the community were looking for him and here we are so many years later and we really don't have any good leads."

Though Dorien's case has yet to be solved, Bohannon said local authorities follow standard protocols in order to find those missing.

"There is an extensive search that is begun. There are protocols in place that we follow. A lot of these protocols are in line with the state and national accepted protocols," said Bohannon.

The first three hours are the most crucial in finding the missing and the advancement of technology has increased the recovery rate.

"Information is much quicker now getting out. We have our Nixel system that people can sign up for, that gives crime updates," said Bohannon.

According to the NCMEC, since 1990 the recovery rate has increased from 62 to 97 percent today.

APD said they continue to look for information on Thomas. Anyone with information regarding his case or any missing person can contact local authorities or the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST.