The information discussed in this section is not theoretical: every idea, concept and strategy has been field tested under the most stressful and extreme circumstances. As long as the focus remains on finding the missing child multi-disciplinary alliances can be formed and solutions sought that will enhance, not hinder the recovery effort.

Although every case is different, certain universal truths apply. Given adequate information and reminded of their personal commitment to child safety the public welcomes involvement and can be an integral partner in the recovery effort. If law enforcement shares responsibilities not directly related to the investigation, progress can be achieved with greater efficiency. For example, police are better suited to neighborhood canvassing and sex offender interrogations than searching hill and dale. And finally, a responsible media will work with law enforcement and the community to maintain a high profile and distribute timely and accurate information over the long term.

Although success is enhanced by cooperation, not every recovery effort is successful. Despite the best efforts of the family, friends and volunteers, law enforcement and the media, some kidnapped children are not recovered alive and the whereabouts of others remains a mystery to this day. However, since every kidnapped child deserves equal attention hindsight cannot dictate strategy. A good case in point is the mystery surrounding the disappearance of seven-year-old Xiana Fairchild . For the first three days after her disappearance, Xiana’s case remained under the radar screen. But a coordinated effort to raise her profile by drawing from the strengths of community, law enforcement and media made hers one of the best known faces in the San Francisco Bay Area and enhanced and aided law enforcements effort for many months. Alas, although she was not found alive, Xiana sits in heaven knowing that every effort was made to return her to the family and community that sacrificed so very much to affect her safe recovery.

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