Recovered Children Tell of the Success of the "Have You Seen Me? Program
Friday, May 28, 2010
Press release from the issuing company
Livonia, Mich. - Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies,shared at a press conference today the stories of recovered children whose lives have been forever changed by the Have You Seen Me? program, marking its 25th anniversary this month. The program is featured on RedPlum products viewed by potentially 9 out of 10 households weekly both online and in print.
Sam Fastow, now a 23-year-old recent college graduate represented the thousands of recovered children and brought hope to the families of missing children by telling his story. Sam was abducted in 1997 from New Jersey at the age of 10. Sam's photo, which arrived in the mail as part of the Have You Seen Me? program, was recognized and authorities called, which eventually led to Sam's recovery in Texas in November of 1998.
Valassis, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) have been reuniting missing children with their families for 25 years. Here are some of the stories from children present at the press conference directly recovered as a result of the Have You Seen Me? program who, with Sam, are proof of the program's success along with a story from a mother whose search continues:
- Chaderia Blue, in the spring of 2006, was featured in an age-progressed photo of what she would look like at age 4. She was abducted in 2001 from Fort Worth, Texas as a toddler and was missing for five years. Someone held onto the photo for two months, trying to piece together information before calling authorities. Chaderia was recovered in Texas and reunited with her family in August of 2006.
- Krystle Bondello was abducted in August of 1993 from Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Two years later after being featured in the Have You Seen Me? program, a photo of Krystle was recognized by area residents and she was recovered in December of 1995 in Riverside, California.
- Daniel Pearsall's recovery was aided, in part, by a Valassis employee - Dan Wiegand, from the Valassis Graphic Print Division, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When Wiegand saw that a local child was to be featured in an upcoming program, he called a local TV station, which featured Daniel's story. NCMEC immediately began receiving leads. Daniel, who was abducted in August of 2005 in Pittsburgh, was recovered in Cancun, Mexico that December.
- Marlene Chestnut is a searching mother whose daughter was abducted from Baltimore, Maryland in October of 1979. Her daughter, Lisa Lambert, is one of the 145 missing children featured in the anniversary edition of this program, distributed to 44 million households the week of May 23. Her photo appears as it did at age 14 when she was abducted and in an age progressed photo of what she would look like today at 44. Inclusion of Lisa is a reminder of one of the program's goals - that no child be forgotten.
"These children's stories strengthen our resolve," said Alan F. Schultz, Valassis Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Their recoveries speak to the reach of this program and of our products. There is also a willingness from the American people to take the time to look at the names and faces of these missing children and then do the right thing. The stories of recovered children also bring much needed hope to families who are still searching."
Each week Valassis distributes pictures and information of missing children to more than 100 million households. Photographs are the No. 1 tool for law enforcement to recover a missing child. The Have You Seen Me? program is featured across the company's RedPlum portfolio in the mail, the newspaper and online at redplum.com and valassis.com.
The Have You Seen Me? program is based on four goals: help find missing children; raise awareness about missing children and sensitivity to the issue of missing and exploited children; serve as a deterrent to would-be abductors; and make sure that no missing child is ever forgotten.
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