New iPhone app helps with missing kid cases

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – What would you do if your children went missing? Would you have all the information police would need to find them? As they say, there's an app for that! The brand new free iPhone application will help parents in the most dire of situations.

This app is the real deal. It was created by the Federal Bureau of Investigations specifically for missing kid cases. Investigators told NBC12 it will help them save their most precious resource: time.

When a child goes missing, it is a race against the clock. It is a race to tell anyone who will listen who and what to look for.

"Minutes count," explained Dorothy Bernstein with Virginia State Police. "Seconds count. We want to get that out to the public so that they can start helping look for that child. So moments are crucial."

Oftentimes there are obstacles to getting the information detectives need in order to start the search.

"It's kind of hard to take a family member, I'm a father myself and I can imagine how emotional I would be if my children were abducted or went missing, someone trying to get the information out of me," explained Youth and Family Crimes Det. Sean Mocello.

The new FBI Child ID app puts all that info in one place. You can upload a recent photo and all the vital statistics including date of birth, height and weight. There's a section to list any identifying characteristics that might distinguish your child.

With just a few clicks you can send the file to police to get the ball rolling.

"That's something that we can then immediately go out make a missing persons flier, start a door to door canvas of the neighborhood," Mocello said. "And it's something that we can give to the media and use the media's help to put that information out there."

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year. If that nightmare becomes your reality, the FBI has included some advice on what to expect.

Right now, the program is only available on the iPhone. You can find it in the app store. The FBI said it plans to make it available for other smart phones in the future.

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