There are 1,019 missing people in Missouri — 398 of them are children. Sgt. Eric Eidson heads up a staff of one in the state’s Missing Persons Clearinghouse. He says the patrol maintains a database of pictures and information, but works with local law enforcement departments to head up the investigations. But he says the database is being constantly updated, sometimes on a daily basis.

He says family abductions are very common, as are cases where people just run away and aren’t endangered but simply do not want to be found. Such was the case of a woman in the Florida Keys who had gone missing in Pennsylvania years before. Read the full story about Brenda Heist HERE.

Eidson says instances where children or adults are abducted on the side of the street are rare, but it does happen. He doesn’t know the percentage of how many children of the thousands reported missing that actually happens to, but says it’s a small one. The topic has received national concern after three young girls were found in Ohio after being abducted nearly a decade ago. Read about finding Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight HERE. That story hearkened an older story about a Missouri boy, Shawn Hornbeck, who was abducted and held captive in St. Louis for five years. Hornbeck has since focuses on outreach for families with missing children, and as a spokesman to the public to never give up hope. Fine more HERE.

Eidson says when missing children are found, it’s always a good day for the investigators leading the cases. He says the database contains information on missing persons in Missouri all the way back to the early 1950s, and Eidson encourages folks to look at people posted in the database. He says you don’t know what you might know and be able to help find someone.

Eidson is a one-man staff for the patrol’s Missing Persons Unit, and he says he does all he can, keeping up the database and communicating with law enforcement agencies from throughout the state as investigations evolve. He says that’s one contributing factor to the difference in information listed with each case on the patrol’s website. Some might have details, photos, even age-progressed posters. Eidson says it just all depends on how much information the family contributes and what law enforcement officers are able to gather and then turn in to the Highway Patrol for the online clearinghouse.

The same is true for Amber Alerts, he says. The Highway Patrol takes the information and disseminates notices, but the local police agency is responsible for conducting the searches and interviews.