SafetyNet bracelet helps find missing child in Florida

GPS bracelet helps Florida deputies find child

It was nearing dusk one Sunday evening last November when Hillsborough County deputies in Tampa, Florida, were notified about a missing 9-year-old child with autism. With weather conditions worsening, deputies could not use an air unit to help search for the child, but a SafetyNet bracelet he was wearing allowed them to pinpoint his location. SafetyNet works by allowing law enforcement agencies access to GPS information from bracelets worn by those with cognitive conditions when they go missing. The child, who was hiding behind an air conditioning unit, was found about 20 minutes after the signal was detected.

Photo of Chinese exchange student being rescued after cyber-scam

Exchange student rescued after online scam

When Chinese exchange student Kai Zhuang was reported missing in December from his host high school in Riverdale, Utah, authorities traced his location by analyzing call data and bank records. Police found the 17-year-old alone in a tent in rural Utah, amid freezing temperatures and with limited food and water, the apparent victim of a cyber-kidnapping scam. Zhuang was unharmed, but the damage was done—his parents in China had already paid “kidnappers” an $80,000 ransom. Zhuang’s case represents a growing type of fraud where cybercriminals target exchange students, particularly Chinese students, tricking them into believing their families are being threatened. They force terrified victims to take photos of themselves bound and gagged, which are then used to coerce the family into paying ransom. The cyber kidnappers continue to extort the family by using photos and voice recordings of the victim that give the impression the kidnappers are with the victim and causing them harm, Riverdale police said. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), experts believe the crimes will continue.

Photo of John Walsh promoting the new "America's Most Wanted" TV series

John Walsh partners with NCMEC, returns to TV

In the aftermath of his son Adam’s kidnapping and murder in 1981, John Walsh became a victim’s rights activist, political lobbyist, and creator of the TV program, “America’s Most Wanted,” which he hosted until 2013. The popular show was credited with helping solve missing child cases, including the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, featured on one of its episodes. In January, Walsh returned to “America’s Most Wanted,” this time with son Callahan Walsh as co-host and co-producer. To help find more missing kids, “America’s Most Wanted” is also working directly with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). “Partnering with NCMEC is so vital to the return of ‘America’s Most Wanted,’” said Callahan, who is also the executive director of NCMEC’s Florida office. “By featuring these cases on the show, we’re putting these missing children in front of a national audience...It’s going to be such a powerful tool to help bring kids home.”