WASHINGTON - It was a shock for many people. Three young women, held captive in a Cleveland home after being kidnapped almost a decade ago. But there are thousands of missing children across the country. And the case in Cleveland has raised the alarm for some parents and given hope to others.
"We have so many families who are still looking for their children who are missing and seeing situations like this gives everyone hope," says Michelle Collins, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The center lists five children missing from Washington, D.C., on its searchable online database. More than 300 children are reported missing in Virginia and more than 100 children are reported missing in Maryland, according to the database.
About 2,000 children go missing every day in the United States, the center says.
"It's really important that the American public know that they really are the eyes and ears that are looking for many of these missing children," Collins says.
She says it is important that parents teach their kids to trust their instincts. She says the message can be simple.
"If something feels wrong, make sure you get out of the situation and tell an adult that you trust."
The center offers more tips on its Take 25 program website for parents.
Since its creation in 1984, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has helped locate 183,000 missing children.
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