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Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus

I will never forget THAT day six years ago, a day, so rare in the making, so many lives changed so quickly. As I walked to my car January 12, 2007, after completing my nursing shift for the day, my cell phone rang. The reception was dismal that far out from the city and as I answered the phone I could hear my 12-year-old daughter crying on the other end.

She desperately tries to tell me something through her tears, “Mom they found him! They found Ben, the boy you wrote the story about on your missing children website!” she says through her tears.

“Where did they find him?” I ask as my heart starts to ache and I feel like vomiting.

Authorities across Missouri had been searching for William “Ben” Ownby, a thirteen-year-old boy who had vanished within minutes of stepping off his school bus in Beaufort, Missouri on Monday January 8.

“Where did they find him I asked?” as the tears began to fall. What she would tell me next left me speechless.

“Mom, he is alive! He is alright!” she said, “and they found the other boy with him! You know Shawn, I can’t think of his last name but you always talk and write about him?”

She was referring to Shawn Hornbeck, from Richmond Heights Missouri who disappeared October 6, 2002, while riding his bike. Shawn was 11 years old at the time of his disappearance. The media quickly dubbed that day as “Missouri’s Miracle” after law enforcement located the two missing boys in Kirksville, Missouri.

Most people would say it does not get any better than THAT day, and many people would have agreed with that statement until last Monday night. On May 6, 2013, CNN, ABC News, and other National media resources began reporting breaking news involving three women and a six-year-old child who had been rescued from a house on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland Ohio and authorities soon confirmed the identities of the women who were rescued as Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight.

Michelle Knight disappeared August 23, 2002 when she was 20 years old. Amanda Berry disappeared April 21, 2003, at age 16, and Georgina “Gina” DeJesus disappeared April 2, 2004. She was 14. The three girls all lived on Lorain Avenue. Seymour Avenue is less than 5 miles from where they disappeared.

The “Cleveland Miracle” or “Miracle in Cleveland” could lead to other miracles across our nation. Right now, we need to stop and look around where we live. Look at the people living in our neighborhoods. If something seems out of place, do not ignore it, face it and if needed involve the authorities.

Go the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) website, missing kids (one word) dot com. Click on your state, and look closely at the children you see in the photographs. These children live practically in your back yard and they need your help. Each child you see is missing, abducted, or considered an endangered runaway.

Does that girl or boy seem familiar to you or your child? If you believe you know where a missing or abducted child is located, please call authorities immediately. Your information could be the key that brings that child home. Please help.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
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