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Volunteers say grassroots search for missing children is working

Posted at 2:05 PM, Oct 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-19 15:05:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV/KSMO) -- A grassroots search for missing teens in the metro is getting results.

At last check, Big Search KC has found eight missing teens and there are more leads coming in.

Volunteers hope their outreach efforts lead to more kids going home safe.

From casinos, to the KC Streetcar, to businesses in Kansas and Missouri, volunteers handed out flyers around the metro on Friday. Some teams focused on chasing down leads, while others focused on outreach.

With photos of missing children in hand, some ladies went to a local casino and businesses near the airport to share the pictures and stories of those who are missing.

"With what we know about the trafficking problem, this is a few hours we could spend and maybe do some good," said Jenny Riggs, who is volunteering.

Jenny Riggs and coworkers from family court see firsthand that some children in our community are in vulnerable situations.

"This is right here in our backyard," Riggs said.

"It's eye opening," said Justin Smith, another volunteer. "It puts things in perspective."

Just hours earlier, a group of UMKC criminology students focused their efforts to raise awareness by handing out flyers at hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and tattoo shops in downtown KC.

"It's heartbreaking," Smith said. "It's heartbreaking to hear. It's also very important to be informed."

Smith hopes to one day be a Kansas City police officer. He said the number of teens already found during this year's search is remarkable.

"It's uplifting, it's empowering," Smith said. "I'm very glad to know those children were found. They are safe."

"Eight. Yes, that's great. That's very encouraging," Riggs said.

Volunteers will be back out Saturday for another day of searching and canvassing. They'll be at the KC Marathon and spread out in teams around the metro.