Thursday, July 30, 2015

Skeletons of four children, reported missing 2 years back, found in a village near Gurgaon

The Gurgaon Police recovered skeletons of four children, who were reported missing two years ago, in the Aravalli foothills on Wednesday evening.

The children - three girls and a boy, all below 10 - had gone missing from their school in Hariyheda village, nearly 18 km from Gurgaon and close to Bhondsi village, on May 16, 2013. Two of the children are siblings – brother and sister.

The children were allegedly killed and buried there by the maternal uncle of the brother and sister duo.
On Tuesday evening, Gurgaon police arrested the accused Devraj (23) who fled the village after committing the crime. During interrogation, Devraj confessed to police he killed his nephew and niece on May 16, 2013, along with two other children of the village, over a fight he had with his brother-in-law. Devraj and his brother-in-law work in the same brick kiln. He also revealed to the police where he buried the bodies.

According to the police, Devraj lured his niece and nephew for a picnic after school to the Aravalli Range near Hariyahera Village and stabbed them to death. He also killed two other girls of the village who accompanied the brother and sister duo.

“The accused was detained for questioning in 2013 after the incident but released later. Soon he was called for another round of investigation, by that time he fled the village. Recently, we received a tip that Devraj would be visiting his village with his wife. The couple had been hiding in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. We arrested him on Tuesday evening,’’ ACP (Crime) Rajesh Kumar Chechi.

“He stabbed to death all the children one by one by taking them behind the bushes and buried the bodies in the foothills. He fled the village later and had been running from one village to another,’’ the ACP added.

On Wednesday, when the accused was taken to the hillock area where he had killed and buried the missing children, he initially refuted the crime and confused the police about the whereabouts of the skeletons. He claimed to have forgotten the area, said the police official.

The police then called nearby villagers to dug the foothills and found the remains of the children after four hours of operation.

Later in the day, the accused was presented before the city court, which sent him to three days police remand.

The police informed that the skeletons would be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Madhuban for DNA tests.


Ohio Community will never get over it: 4-Year-Old with Autism Wanders from Home and Drowns


The community of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, will never forget the moment the body of 4-year-old Sidney Heidrick was pulled from Lake Erie. 

"I don't think anyone is going to get over any of this anytime soon," Mayor Dennis Bring tells PEOPLE. 

Bring, a Sheffield Lake resident since 1958 who is in his fourth year as mayor, says he can't even remember the last time a tragedy like this struck his community, which is home to 9,000 people. 

It's a grief made more unimaginable by how unlikely it seemed, even minutes before Sidney's body was recovered. 

On Friday, the barefoot little boy, who had autism, walked away from his grandparents' house on the lake, Bring says. 

He was spotted around 4:30 p.m. by a passerby – but the man who called police must have hesitated between the sighting and dialing, Bring says. Officers responded to the scene within 30 seconds, according to Bring, but Sidney was already gone. 

By Friday evening, "people were coming from all over" to look for Sidney, scouring the woods and vacant properties, Bring says. Thousands eventually joined in, assisting the FBI, Coast Guard and a myriad of regional agencies in the search efforts. 

The search continued into the next day. Bring says he went home at 2:30 a.m. Saturday, and the town's police chief didn't head home until 4 a.m. 

"I fully expected I'd get a call that night," Bring says. He dreamed his phone rang with the news that the had found Sidney. But he awoke to discover the search was still ongoing. 

The community stayed hopeful, Bring says, telling one another Saturday afternoon to keep their fingers crossed, not knowing their search was minutes from ending. 

Sidney's body was found in Lake Erie around 3:30 p.m. He wasn't more than 60 feet from shore – not even a quarter of a mile from his grandparents' home. 

Sidney probably entered the water soon after he went missing, Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans tells PEOPLE, and he died of an apparent drowning. 

Wandering is one of the greatest risks to children who have autism, officials with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tell PEOPLE, and nearly half of children with autism will wander

Being able to find these children is complicated further by the fact that they may hide from other people or head straight for water, says Robert Lowery, vice president of NCMEC's missing children division. 

Higher-functioning children have been known to travel several miles with the help of public transportation. 

Water poses a particular danger. From 2009 to 2011, 91 percent of the deaths of children 14 and younger with autism were due to accidental drowning after wandering, Lowery says, citing the National Autism Association

"It's a very frustrating issue," he says. It's the worst during "wandering season," which runs from early spring to fall, when the weather is warm. 

The ripples of grief from Sidney's death touched many. Bring and other officials were visibly emotional at a Saturday news conference soon after Sidney's body was found. 

One dispatcher was particularly overcome by the news. "I said [to her], 'Some things just happen and there's nothing you can do,' " Bring says. 

The police responded as quickly as they could, but it wasn't enough. 

Bring even broke the news to his 5-year-old granddaughter, who asked him if they had found the missing little boy. 

"It's one of those things that you can't believe," he says. 

Bring says he is grateful for the support of the thousands of searchers who volunteered their time. 

GoFundMe page set up for Sidney's family has raised more than $32,000 so far. 

It's during times like these that you learn "what kind of community you have," Bring says. 

To aid the search for missing children with autism, the NCMEC has developed protocols for first responders and law enforcement and will dispatch advanced teams around the country to support officials trying to locate a child, Lowery says. 

"I just feel terrible for those people," Bring says. "They'll never get over it."


MBF Child Safety Matters™ Strategies to Prevent Child Bullying and Abuse:

MBF Child Safety Matters™, powered by Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc. (MBF), was recently shown to be an effective and quality program that empowers children with the knowledge and skills to recognize and respond to unsafe situations, according to an independent study conducted by Florida State University's (FSU) School of Teacher Education. The evaluation took place from January through July 2015 and was approved by the FSU Institutional Review Board.
Specific findings from the independent study of MBF Child Safety Matters™ include:
  • 620 kindergarten through fifth grade students demonstrated 96 percent pre- to post-test gains on student assessments, which shows MBF Child Safety Matters™ is successfully educating participants with strategies to prevent all types of child abuse, bullying, cyberbullying and digital abuse.
  • Procedural fidelity to the prescribed MBF Child Safety Matters™ curriculum exceeds 90 percent by its facilitators, typically school counselors.  This includes adherence to lesson plans, general guidelines and program language.
  • Children respond well to MBF Child Safety Matters™ and facilitators are enthusiastic about using the program.
  • Facilitators believe MBF Child Safety Matters™ topics are explained appropriately in the scripts, lesson PowerPoints and other materials, rating average topic coverage and appropriateness at a 4.7 on a scale of 5.
"The program is successful in educating elementary students with strategies to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, digital abuse and all types of child abuse," concluded the researchers in the executive summary of the final report.
Offered at no cost to Florida's public schools, MBF Child Safety Matters™ is a program based on polyvictimization research and best practices, which states, "Implementing a single comprehensive program that teaches universal rules and strategies for preventing all types of victimization is more effective than implementing numerous single-topic programs."  MBF Child Safety Matters™ is designed to address these issues in an age-appropriate manner and with easy and practical lessons and reinforcement materials.
Noted polyvictimization researcher, David Finkelhor, Ph.D., Director, Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, recently praised the MBF Child Safety Matters™ program and said, "The program is impressive. The important information is well formulated and well presented, developmentally appropriate, and based on good understanding of literature."
The curriculum is designed for students in kindergarten through sixth grades, and will soon expand to include the seventh and eighth grades.  MBF Child Safety Matters™ is supported by state and national experts, leaders and agencies in the education and prevention fields, in addition to aligning with numerous Florida Education Standards, the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Anti-Bullying Act, and Florida Statute 39.
MBF Child Safety Matters is currently approved in 56 of 67 counties in Florida and has trained more than 1,300 school facilitators, reaching more than 1 million students since its inception, however we need to reach more. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, one in four children attending school has been, or will be, exposed to a traumatic event that can affect learning or school behavior.  Childhood trauma is associated with lower grade point averages, higher school absence rates, increased drop-out rates, suspensions and expulsions, as well as reading difficulties.
"The Monique Burr Foundation for Children believes that all children have the right to be safe," said Lynn Layton, executive director of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children.  "The validation that MBF Child Safety Matters™ has received from the Florida State University evaluation, in addition to other credible professional sources, is very exciting and is an affirmation that our program is positively impacting youth. This program should be in every school, because every child deserves to be safe!"
For more information about this critical safety program focusing on bullying and child abuse prevention,
About the MBF Child Safety Matters program, powered by the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc. (MBF)
The MBF Child Safety Matters program, powered by the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc., is a research-based, primary prevention education program, designed to educate and empower elementary and middle school students and all relevant adults with information and strategies to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, digital abuse and all types of child abuse and exploitation. In 2015,Florida State University's School of Teacher Education conducted an independent study of the MBF Child Safety Matters  program. The study validated that the program's prevention curriculum is effective with 96 percent of students showing a gain in knowledge from the pre- to post-test. The MBF Child Safety Matters program is approved for use in 56 out of 67 Florida counties, is provided at no cost to the Florida public schools and is aligned with Florida Education Standards, meets the qualifications of the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Anti-Bullying Act and Florida Statute 39.
Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc., has trained more than 1,300 facilitators to implement the program, and its safety lessons have reached more than 1 million children.  Every child deserves to be safe.
For more information about the MBF Child Safety Matters program, powered by the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc., call (904) 642-0210 or visit


Shreveport, Caddo officers still unable to enforce child safety law:

Bossier City police write tickets for cell phone use in school zones when their Shreveport counterparts cannot

By Sara Machi
Shreveport Police's Troy Flores joined traffic patrol because he was run over by a distracted driver as a child
Shreveport Police's Troy Flores joined traffic patrol because he was run over by a distracted driver as a child
Shreveport Police's Troy Flores takes his job in SPD's traffic unit seriously because he knows what can happen if he doesn't.
"When I was 9 years old, I was run over by a car."
Now a corporal, Flores spent a year re-learning how to walk and eventually headed toward a life in law enforcement. Yet when Flores and his fellow traffic officers  post up in school zones for traffic enforcement on the first day of school Aug. 11, there's a Louisiana law he has no choice but to ignore.
"They already know it's illegal," Flores said. "Sometimes they need a little reminder that 'Hey, put the cell phone down. It's not that important.'"
Previous article: Cell phones in school zones
Shreveport school zones have speed limit warnings, but no signs about the law banning cell phones in these special areas. Those missing markers are the problem.
The law requires specific signage warning motorists of the ban, and without them an officer's hands are tied, even though this will be the second school year since legislators banned hand-held devices behind the wheel. 
While SPD can't enforce the ban, Bossier City police rolled out their "hands-free zone" signs during the 2014 fall semester.
"We make signs all the time -- street signs -- so when you look at the grand scheme of things, the cost is minimal," Bossier City spokesperson Mark Natale said.
BCPD's only written a handful of tickets for cell phones behind the wheel. Natale attributes the low numbers to officers giving warnings and to awareness.
"We want motorists to pay attention to what they're doing and that's operating a motor vehicle."
Funding is behind most of the cell phone zone confusion. Louisiana DOTD only put up hands-free signs on state roads. Everything else, they left up to individual municipalities.
Bossier City fronted their costs. Bossier Parish Schools and then-Rep. Jeff Thompson, who wrote the bill, split the cost for school zones outside city limits.
When KTBS 3 News contacted Shreveport and Caddo authorities about their missing signs, most people thought the law was being enforced or didn't realize the need for special warning plaques.
City of Shreveport authorities are still getting back to us about whether or not they will pay for the signs. Caddo Commissioners Lyndon Johnson and Matthew Linn indicated they would look into putting sign funds on the next agenda.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Child safety advocate Marc Klaas on Madyson Middleton:

Child safety advocate Marc Klaas of the Klaas Kids Foundation spoke to Pam Moore about the Madyson Middleton case and how to protect your kids.
Klaas spoke about the reaction of Madysons’ mother and what he thought about her reaction. Klass also mentions how authorities assess the effort to find her after that first 24 hours.
Klaas also mentions what parents can teach their kids about protecting their children if they find themselves in a situation where they are alone or lost.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Connecticut Child Advocate Finds Urgent Safety Problems At Juvenile Detention Facilities:

The Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown, Connecticut


Boys and girls in Connecticut's juvenile detention facilities have been subjected to unlawful and repeated use of isolation and restraints, while officials haven't adequately prevented youths from attempting suicide or injuring themselves, according to a report released Wednesday by the state child advocate.

The months-long investigation by Child Advocate Sarah Eagan's office, which was sparked by whistleblower complaints, found what the report called urgent safety problems at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for boys and the neighboring Pueblo Unit for girls in Middletown, which are both run by the state Department of Children and Families.

"Right now, conditions at CJTS and Pueblo place many youth at risk of physical and emotional harm,'' the report says.

The report found that isolation and restraints were repeatedly used unlawfully, staff didn't adequately prevent suicide attempts and self-injury, and officials did not meet the needs of youths with significant mental health disorders.

One finding by the investigation was that there were at least 225 documented incidents of isolating juveniles for four hours or longer at the two facilities over one six-month period, including nearly 100 lasting eight hours or longer.

The child advocate's office says national standards for juvenile correctional facilities limit isolation to four hours or less.

The findings are similar to ones noted in a recent report by a juvenile justice expert hired by DCF to review the two juvenile facilities.

DCF, in response to the expert's findings, already has pledged to make a number of improvements, including improving suicide prevention training, eliminating unlawful restraint and seclusion, and improving treatment for juveniles with mental health problems, which also are among the recommendation made by the child advocate's office.

"The priority of DCF remains the well-being of the children in our care,'' the agency said in a statement Wednesday. "We have had a great degree of success and have made progress over the last five years, but we know there is still more work to be done to make sure every child in our care gets the service they need.''

The 135-bed Connecticut Juvenile Training School is the state's only secure facility for boys who have been deemed delinquent and committed to DCF. The 12-bed Pueblo Unit is the state's only detention center for delinquent juvenile girls.

The child advocate's office found a total of more than two dozen documented acts of youths trying to injure or kill themselves at the two centers between June 2014 and February 2015. Agency officials believe there are many more self-harming incidents that are not clearly documented.

For the yearlong period ending July 1 of this year, there were at least 532 physical restraints and 134 uses of mechanical restraints such as handcuffs and shackles, the child advocate's office found.

The child advocate's office said state law requires that restraints be used only to prevent immediate or imminent injury to the person or others, but video tapes and incident reports showed that restraints were repeatedly used for behavior management.


A year later, child safety seems to be a forgotten issue - Bengaluru (Bangalore), India

Managements have increased fees citing expenditure on CCTV cameras, installing GPS in school buses and other safety measures, but parents feel that safety measures are not up to the mark.

Schools prefer to wait for the child protection policy before “investing” in safety

Exactly a year ago, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) formulated guidelines to be implemented in schools following a spate of sexual assaults on children. However, the situation on the ground has not changed much, as most schools are yet to implement all the guidelines.
Significantly, the comprehensive child protection policy (CPP), which was formulated to collate guidelines issued by multiple departments, is yet to get the government’s nod. A high-level committee under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary V. Umesh was formed to look into child safety and the policy. The policy has been placed before the cabinet, but was sent back several times for corrections, sources said.
Managements have increased fees citing expenditure on CCTV cameras, installing GPS in school buses and other safety measures, but parents feel that safety measures are not up to the mark.
The managements’ defence is that there are multiple guidelines and they would rather wait for the CPP to be finalised before “investing” in safety.
D. Shashikumar, General Secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said, “The guidelines issued by the police are in the High Court. Besides this, guidelines have been issued by DPI and the Transport Department. However, multiple guidelines tend to be confusing. We would rather wait for the CPP to be finalised.”
In the tussle between managements and the government, parents feel that their child’s safety is forgotten. Parimala S., a parent, feels that most schools have not even done basic things such as setting up parent teacher associations, installation of CCTV cameras in the premises and hiring support staff to accompany children in buses.
The worst of the lot are government schools which have not even issued identity cards for parents, let alone installation of cameras, due to paucity of funds. “Some government schools, which have found donors, have implemented some guidelines but a majority have not initiated any measures,” a teacher from a government school said.