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A: Yes. We just honored an investigator [District Attorney Wayne Cox] in Humboldt County, California. Working with him, we were able to resolve a case of a little boy [Curtis Huntzinger, 14] who was killed 18 years ago and whose body was disposed of in a forest area, but whose mom had never forgotten.

What we were able to do was to revisit the case, look at the files, reassemble the files, conduct some new interviews, and follow up on the prime suspect, who after 18 years, confessed. And in order to find the body of the little boy, [Mr. Cox] and some volunteers had to persuade authorities to clear a part of a forest that had grown up over the 18 years. In using various kinds of in-ground detectors, we were able to locate the child’s remains. So this family was able to bury their child, and this offender, who had been walking free for 18 years, is now being prosecuted and is going to be brought to justice. Those kinds of tools and techniques didn’t exist 25 years ago.

Q: What are some issues that trouble you today?

A: One of the things we’ve seen with the advent of the Internet is the explosion of a problem we thought was under control, and that is child pornography. We have discovered that there are far more people who are attracted to, and consumers of, that kind of content than we ever thought possible. And we are discovering that many of those people don’t just look at the pictures … they offend against real children.

We have a child-identification program and a team of analysts who review 200,000 images and videos of child pornography a week. This staff of analysts have now reviewed about 24 million child-pornography images, trying to place these children somewhere on Planet Earth, so we can work with local law-enforcement agencies… to try to identify the child, give the child help. And by identifying the child, it usually leads you to the perpetrator.

This is a really a daunting task … we are looking at different kinds of challenges than we were looking at 25 years ago.

Q: Switching to the issue of abductions by a family member, do you see anything different?

A: It’s a very difficult problem, because in family abductions, the abductor usually has help … . But the good news over 25 years, I think, is that law enforcement and the courts take the problem far more seriously than ever before. Twenty-five years ago, it wasn’t even a crime to abduct your own child; today it is, and one of the things we grapple with is international family abductions … .

We still encounter the attitude, ‘Well, the kid’s with a parent, how bad can it be?’ Well, it can be pretty bad. And what we have learned over 25 years is that in 80 percent of these cases, the motive for the abduction of a child is not love of a child, it’s anger or revenge directed at the other spouse. So what we’ve tried to do is change the way law enforcement and the courts look at these problems and to view them primarily from the viewpoint of what’s in the best interest of the child … .

Q: And your missing-child recovery rate is …

A: Ninety-seven percent this year. So I think it’s dramatic, and I think it speaks volumes … that there is a system in this country to address these problems.