Learn about the real-life tragedy that inspired the phrase “Don’t take candy from strangers.”
Each year in the United States, upwards of 800,000 children under the age of 18 disappear — and that’s just counting reported missing persons cases.
While these cases often make fine fodder for evening news, for most of history they did not garner popular attention. Indeed, it wasn’t until the disappearance of Etan Patz and later, Adam Walsh, that mass media became a tool to crack the cases as well as pass legislation meant to curb the number of them that end in death. But almost 200 years before Etan Patz and Adam Walsh inspired the concern of millions came a little boy named Charley Ross, who would become the first missing child in American history to make headlines.