Many of us in the Midwest – Missouri, in particular – are shocked and saddened and outraged at the abduction and murder of 10-year-old Hailey Owens. I’m sickened and outraged… and, like many parents I’ve talked with, worried for my own children.
“It has completely shocked this community,” said Joe Bridges, a Springfield resident who has helped organize a weekend vigil in the little girl’s memory. “People can’t believe this would happen. It’s just the fact that she wasn’t far from her home, then instantly, poof, she’s gone.”
– Laura Bauer and Matt Campbell at the Kansas City Star
The suspect who has been arrested was described by friends and family as “nice and polite.”
A nice and polite man… then … poof. She’s gone.
Experts insist that tragedies such as this provide an opportunity for parents to reinforce instructions to children on how to avoid abductions and what they should do if approached or attacked by a stranger.
Tips for talking with kids about abduction dangers:
- Parents should talk to kids in a calm, non-lecturing way
- Avoid using the term “stranger” or “stranger danger”
- Instead, focus on instructing children on how to spot suspicious activity and what to do in particular situations
- Encourage children to travel in groups
- Teach children to not approach vehicles that pull over with drivers who may try to talk with them
- If children are approached or suspicious, they should be taught to run home and draw attention to themselves by yelling and screaming
- Children should be taught to resist if someone does try to abduct them – fighting for their life, kicking, screaming, and clawing at the abductor’s face and eyes
- Be sure to have age-appropriate discussions with your children
I’m still at a loss to be able to express my outrage at this little girl’s murder. Help prevent the next tragedy by talking with your children about these dangers.
- Coach and teacher’s aide charged in slaying of 10-year-old Springfield girl [Laura Bauer and Matt Campbell at The Kansas City Star]
- High-profile abductions can provide teachable moments for parents, kids [Robert A. Cronkleton at KC Star]
© Copyright 2014 Brett A. Emison
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.