- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 26, 2001

It has been several years, but Agnes Howard still remembers the feeling when she lost her 5-year-old son at Haines Point.
"I was frantic," recalls the Cheverly resident. "There were so many people there, and I just lost sight of him. I panicked."
She did manage to locate her son minutes later with the help of friends, but Mrs. Howard says she learned a lesson: Don't ever turn away from a tot, not even for a moment.
Yesterday, she and her grand-daughter Sydney, 3, were among the hundreds of people who turned out at an event where parents were issued KidCare ID kits — little booklets packed with information that law enforcement officials say can be invaluable in the search for missing children.
The event was held in the 2500 block of Georgia Avenue NW by the Fraternal Order of Police and Rent-A-Center, a rent-to-own operator. Volunteer police officers helped parents and children enter personal details — like the color of their child's eyes and hair, blood type or identifying birthmarks — into little red-and-blue ID booklets.
They then took head-and-shoulder color photographs of the children that could be pasted in the booklet and made available to the police in case the child ever went missing.
Hundreds of children in the District are reported missing every year, said Lt. Lou Cannon, president of the D.C. Fraternal Order of Police. Those who just wander away are usually found, sooner or later. Those abducted by a divorced or separated parent, or by criminals, are not often found, he said.
"Children can sometimes be more difficult to find than adults, because people don't realize that a child can travel several miles quickly," he said.
By the time the event ended at 2 p.m., more than 500 children had come in to get their kits, Lt. Cannon said.
Some of the interest, he said, could have been because of the publicity surrounding the case of missing former Washington intern Chandra Ann Levy. "The fact that she's a missing person is constantly drummed in and makes parents realize the need to protect their children," he said.
Children also received some expert tips from members of the National Association for Search and Rescue Squad.
"Stay put and don't wander around," Cpl. James E. Williams told some children. "When you move, your body exerts a lot of energy and begins to dehydrate, sending you into a panic."
Squad members also had a chance to actually demonstrate their skills when, toward closing time, a 2-year-old calling himself Darryl was brought in by some policemen after he was found wandering alone around the fair.
Officer Ronald Pope, chairman of the search-and-rescue squad, coaxed information out of the nervous boy until he managed to get the name of an uncle who had brought him to the fair.
A few hours later, after some announcements on the public address system, Darryl was reunited with his uncle.
Officer Pope said Darryl's family had stopped by their booth to get a KidCare ID kit earlier in the day. "Now they know its importance," he said.

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