This week brought attention to one tragically missing young girl who is, of course, just an example of the estimated 2,185 young Americans reported each day. Her disappearance is a harrowing tale of a sudden, and unexpected disappearance — an experience thousands of families unfortunately must face every day.
Tiffany Daniels, age 25, was recently reported missing after her car was found abandoned on Tuesday near Fort Pickens, nine days after she failed to return home to her residence in Pensacola. Police confirmed that a Toyota 4Runner that belonged to Daniels was recently identified, but police have yet to find her.
Daniels's sister Angela explained that her disappearance occurred without any warnings. "She has a heart the size of Texas and even bigger spirit," she explained, saying, "She is an amazing person, and we just want to find her and bring her home." Daniels had been working in the theater department at Pensacola State College. After Daniels was declared missing, friends and family began posting her information and photo on Facebook.
As is so often the case, family members have said that it would be entirely out of character for Daniels to disappear for an extended period of time without notifying others. She is described as a white female, five feet, seven inches tall, with a slender build, blonde hair, and blue eyes. While she enjoys nature, family and friends insist she would not have wandered off intentionally. The Pensacola Police Department is responsible for the case, with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office is assisting.
Unfortunately her tale that is not uncommon. While Daniels' tragic story has gained some media traction this week, a number of cases have raged on beyond the spotlight. The Black and Missing Foundation, for example, has worked to broadcast the stories of some of the under-addressed cases of African-American children, who tend to gain less media attention. The foundation works to bring awareness to missing persons of color, including Hispanic children. They also provide important resources and tools to mission person's families to help educate the minority community on safety. Spotlights on many of these cases are available here, on the foundation's site.
According to Department of Justice statistics, more than 797,500 children were reported missing last year. 203,900 of these are victims of family abductions, whereas around 58,000 are victims of non-family abductions. Females aged 11-17 are most likely to be victimized. Daniels's story should help highlight an issue that is rampant in the country. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been working to drive these numbers down by, for example, recently publishing a special guide to summer safety, and has established a hot-line for tips on missing persons cases (1-800-THELOST).