It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.
Your child is missing and may have been abducted. Police have a suspect and discover fingerprints in a residence. But the authorities have no prints of the missing child to see if there might be a match.
This exact scenario is why Mark J. Bott says he created Operation Kidsafe International 15 years ago.
“What law enforcement will tell you is that when they go to a scene where there has been a missing child, time is of the essence,” Bott said from his home in Springfield, Ill., where Operation Kidsafe is based. “Most parents have not taken preparatory measures. We wanted to create something that parents would get to keep and have for law enforcement that could safeguard their child.”
Bott calls his creation a “lifetime safety bio document” that includes a photograph of the child and 10 fingerprints.
Parents in Manatee County can get a free bio document on their child from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at Gettel Hyundai of Lakewood, 5921 State Road 64, said Pam Hough, an Operation Kidsafe spokeswoman.
During Operation Kidsafe Regional Child Safety Days, specialized digital equipment will be used to capture the child’s picture and fingerprints.
The program is available for children age 1 and older, said Bott, who was a confidant of John Walsh, creator of “America’s Most Wanted.” Walsh’s young son, Adam, was abducted from a Hollywood, Fla., mall and murdered in 1981.
“It creates an ink-less digital fingerprint, which is exactly the kind used by the FBI,” Bott said. “I want to stress that this is free and private. We don’t track this. We have never taken the name of a child.”
A test drive at Gettel is not a requirement to get the bio document, Bott said.
“This is not a sales curve,” Bott added. “This is simply Gettel employees donating their time. We have trained them to use the digital equipment. Local folks helping local folks. Gettel gives a lot back to the community.”
If parents do have to use the bio sheet, their child’s fingerprints will be placed in the National Crime and Information Computer, where they can be accessed, Bott said.