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The Year in Review 2012: Police search for at least 672 kids missing in the United States

By CAROLINE L. DEBEVEC, United Press International   |   Dec. 27, 2012 at 4:01 AM
As 2012 was drawing to a close, 672 of the 715 children the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had posted as missing on its website had vanished in the United States.

A center spokeswoman said that number was just a small fraction of the 10,628 reports of missing U.S. children it had received during the year. The bulk of the cases weren't posted for a variety of reasons, including that they had been found or information was still being assembled.

A number of the U.S. cases made national news, including the search for California teenager Sierra LaMar.

Sierra disappeared on the morning of March 16 as she made her way to school in Morgan Hill; she was 15 at the time. Antolin Garcia Torres, 21, of Morgan Hill, was charged with kidnapping and murder in the case in May, but Sierra's remains have yet to be found. In October, Sierra's parents celebrated the teenager's 16th birthday.

"We're not in a real celebratory mood," said Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar, told The Fremont Argus. "That's probably going to be the toughest day in terms of missing her."

In South Carolina, Gabrielle Swainson, 15, disappeared from her Northeast Richland home Aug. 18.

The main suspect in the case is Freddie Grant, 52, who was involved in a relationship with Gabrielle's mother, Elvia, The (Columbia) State reported in September. Investigators found Gabrielle's blood on used duct tape in Grant's home and in an old junkyard near his house. He was charged with kidnapping in the case, as well as federal ammunition charges.

In early December, an online petition was started calling for Grant to start talking about the whereabouts of Gabrielle's remains, WOLO-TV, Columbia, reported.

"Many people want to do something, trying to help and I appreciate that. I just don't know how effective it is," Elvia Swainson said.

Search efforts for missing Lisa Irwin, 11 months, who disappeared from her home in Northland, Mo., in October 2011, continued into 2012. In October, Lisa's parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, held a candlelight vigil, saying they will not give up hope that their daughter will be returned to them, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported.

"Lord, we ask again today like we do every day for you to safely return Lisa here to her parents and brothers," said Jeremy Irwin's sister, Ashley Irwin. "You've numbered the hairs on Lisa's head, and Lord we know you are watching after her."

In December, the remains of cousins Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, were discovered in a park about 25 miles north of Evansdale, Iowa, the Iowa medical examiner's office confirmed.

Lyric and Elizabeth had not been seen since they went on a bicycle ride July 13. Their bikes were found near Meyers Lake in Evansdale.

Dylan Redwine, 13, disappeared on Nov. 19, shortly after he arrived in Vallecito, Colo., to visit his father, Mark Redwine, for Thanksgiving, The Denver Post reported. Extensive search efforts to find the teen, who had recently moved to Colorado Springs to live with his brother and mother, Elaine Redwine, have not been successful.

Mark Redwine, who Elaine Redwine accused of being involved in their son's disappearance, hired a criminal lawyer in early December.

"I just want my son back," Redwine told the Post. "I know it's crossing all our minds -- reality is starting to set in that that may not be a possibility."

In the Houston-area, Amsal Dhuka, 9, was abducted in May as he made his way to school. He was found the next day at the Ismaili Center in Sugar Land. Kismat Momin, 34, was arrested and charged with kidnapping, KTRK-TV, Houston, reported.

The body of missing North Carolina teenager Kayla Campbell was found early Dec. 13 in a pond near her home in Mint Hill, police said. Her cellphone, bicycle and helmet were found near the pond earlier that week, police said.

Kayla, 16, disappeared Dec. 9 after she left her home. She told her parents she would be home in a couple of hours. That night her parents reported her missing, police said.

The teenager's family said the pond was one of her favorite hang outs. Police are now investigating what happened to Kayla and what caused her death.

In Cleveland, a grand jury indicted Camilia Terry, 20, in early December on aggravated murder and multiple other charges for the death of her 3-year-old son Emilliano, whom Terry originally reported missing on Nov. 25.

FBI agents discovered Emilliano's body in garbage bags that had been picked up from a trash bin near Terry's home, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury Tuesday charged Terry with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder, two counts of child endangerment, one count of felonious assault, one count of tampering with evidence, one count of making false alarms and one count of gross abuse of a corpse.

Police in Bentonville, Ark., in November found the body of missing 6-year-old Jersey Bridgeman in an abandoned house. She was reported missing on Nov. 20.

Jersey's father, David Bridgeman, made national headlines in 2011 when it was discovered he had chained the girl to a dresser in their home.

He and his wife Jana, Jersey's stepmother, have been in custody since December 2011 on abuse and child abuse charges.

Zachary Holly, 28, of Bentonville was arrested Nov. 26 and charged with capital murder, kidnapping and residential burglary in Jersey's death.

Investigators in Detroit found two bodies that were identified as missing teenagers Jacob Kudla, 18, and Jourdan Bobbish, 17, who vanished after visiting Kudla's uncle in mid-July, The Detroit News reported.

Kudla's car was discovered stripped July 23 on the west side of Detroit

Police said the teens were likely forced to remove their shirts, pants and shoes and were then shot, execution-style.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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