Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Kansas Bureau of Investigation Director Kirk Thompson announced Dodge City fifth-grader; Heidy Perez Veleta of Sunnyside Elementary School won the 2021 National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest on May 25.
The annual contest is held to recognize National Missing Children’s Day, which has been observed on May 25 since 1983 when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed it. The national winner is chosen by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Heidy Perez-Veleta was previously announced as the Kansas state winner, which qualified her for the national competition and her entry was among 800 others this year from 27 states.
Students all across the country entered artwork representing the theme, “Bringing Our Missing Children Home.”
The poster contest provides an opportunity for schools, law enforcement and child advocates to discuss the issue of missing and exploited children with youth, parents and guardians and to promote child safety, while bringing attention to the united goal of bringing missing children home safely.
“Communication is key to ensuring our children have the tools they need to stay safe,” said Schmidt. “It’s important for parents to put a safety plan in place and regularly take time to review it with your kids. National Missing Children’s Day is a good reminder to have those important conversations, and I encourage all Kansans to do so.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) maintains a list of children missing from Kansas, which can be accessed at www.missingkids.org.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of any of these missing persons should contact a law enforcement agency or call 1-800-KS-CRIME.
Information about missing children also can be reported to NCMEC at 1 (800) THE-LOST (800-843-5678).
The NCMEC list currently includes the names, photographs and other information about 76 children missing from Kansas.
Schmidt represents the National Association of Attorneys General as a member of NCMEC’s Law Enforcement Advisory Council.
Schmidt also reminded parents of the importance of keeping identifying information on children up-to-date in the event a child does go missing.
Having an identity kit with the child’s fingerprints, height, weight, and a current photo can make it easier to quickly locate a missing child.
To access the list of the 76 missing children from Kansas, go to www.missingkids.org/search.