Identification program in Pascagoula puts children first

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A missing child is every parent's worst nightmare. On Saturday at Walgreens in Pascagoula some parents and guardians found out how they can help police in the unfortunate event their child goes missing.

It's instinct to keep your little ones safe and teach them safety. Grandparent Belinda Tadlock keeps that in mind whenever she's with her grandchildren.

"When we're at home. You know I tell her not to open the door unless she knows someone. If she goes off with someone make sure she stays with someone and doesn't go off by herself," Tadlock said.

But there are times when teaching just isn't enough. An incident at a Pascagoula Walgreens in December prompted that store to action.

"A child was in a car while a man took off in the car while the child was in the back seat and the mother was very frantic and by the reaction of the mother. They were able to get the child back in a timely manner. And the child was unharmed," Walgreens store manager Robin Truitt said.

It can also take much longer to find a missing child and some are never found. To speed up the search process and create a more positive outcome Pascagoula police teamed up with Walgreens and took the DNA, fingerprints, height and picture of children.

"We don't always get out hands on these children quickly. As you know, out West there have been some kids who have been gone 8, 9, 10 years," Pascagoula Police Department Sgt. Doug Adams said.

He says that's why taking fingerprints is worth it. They don't change and can be used to distinguish whether a child is in the wrong hands.

"This is something that is very important that we take for granted every day. This is something that information that every parent should have," Pascagoula Police Department Sgt. Doug Adams said.

Those who attended went home with a valuable kit they are glad to have, but hope they never have to use.

Approximately 60 children had their identification documented Saturday. And organizers are considering holding the program again sometime in the Fall.

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