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How National Center for Missing Children exploits your fears

By Michael M . . . The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) ostensibly does good work. Their mission, according to their website, is to serve as a resource center for law enforcement, families and the public to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent child victimization. These are all laudable goals, but in order to continue funding their work, NCMEC finds it increasingly necessary to stoke public fears and media hysteria about the largely mythical menace of “stranger danger.”

Take, for example, a recent social media post by NCMEC commemorating the disappearance four years ago of Jacob and Sarah Hoggle, who were two and three years old, respectively, at the time. The Twitter post features a big, bold red headline: “MISSING” and makes note of the fact that the children were last seen on September 7, 2014 in Clarksburg, Maryland. NCMEC also displayed a digitally age-progressed photo of what the children may look like now. They look like happy, healthy, good looking kids.

It’s what NCMEC isn’t telling us about this case that should raise a few eyebrows, however.

First, NCMEC conveniently omits the fact that the mother of the children has always been the only suspect in their disappearance. Their father, Troy Turner, last saw his kids at 2:30 pm on September 7, 2014 when he left them and their mother, 31-year-old Catherine Hoggle, at Catherine’s mother’s home in Gaithersburg, Maryland before going to work. Catherine had a long history of schizoaffective disorder, for which she had been taking medication. According to Catherine’s mother, Catherine later took Jacob – alone – for pizza at 4:00 pm, and returned without him, claiming that he was staying at a friend’s house.  Troy returned home very late from work that night and didn’t notice that Catherine and the two younger children were missing until the following morning.

By the way, NCMEC refers to the boy as both “Jason” and “Jacob” in their post. All other relevant news media accounts and legal documents refer to him as “Jacob.”

Later that same morning, Catherine came home without the children, claiming that she’d left them at a new day care center. At the end of the day, however, the children were nowhere to be found. On their way to the police station, Catherine slipped away from Troy and remained missing for a few days, until she was found wandering the streets of a nearby town. Catherine was charged with misdemeanor parental abduction, neglect, and hindering or obstructing the investigation. She was also judged mentally incompetent to stand trial and placed in a psychiatric hospital, from where she has attempted to escape several times yet remains to this day.

NCMEC also failed to mention another rather salient fact in their postings: A year ago, Catherine Hoggle was indicted for the murders of Jacob and Sarah Hoggle. In Maryland, misdemeanor charges must be dropped if a trial does not take place within three years. A grand jury indicted Catherine Hoggle despite the possibility that she may never be competent to stand trial. Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy explained to reporters that he hopes she can be put on trial once she is restored to competency with the help of medication.

The working presumption of the prosecuting attorney and the father of the children is that Catherine Hoggle murdered Jacob and Sarah. “There has always been a faint hope,” said Troy, “but I know now that Catherine Hoggle killed my babies.”

Those are the facts, as we know them, at this point. Catherine Hoggle has never divulged what happened to the children, nor has she ever given anyone any clues as to where their remains might be found. Troy Turner has been devastated by the loss of his children, and the community at-large remains traumatized by these events and their inability to find any real sense of closure.

By subtly omitting pertinent facts regarding the mother or the murder indictment, they encourage readers to believe that these children were the victims of stranger abduction or sex trafficking, when in fact, no one believes this to be the case.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is now using these children as marketing tools to drum up financial support and to stoke the ongoing media hysteria surrounding child abductions and sex trafficking. By subtly omitting pertinent facts regarding the mother or the murder indictment, they encourage readers to believe that these children were the victims of stranger abduction or sex trafficking, when nothing could be further from the truth.

NCMEC depends on government grants and contracts to the tune of over $30 million per year and an additional $10 million from individual and corporate donations. To accomplish their fund-raising goals, NCMEC strategically and quite purposefully neglects to mention the fact that an overwhelming majority of all child abductions are perpetrated by family members. They gloss over the fact that 86% of children who end up being trafficked are victimized after going missing from government and social services. They hype their activities targeting registrants, but rarely acknowledge the fact that 93% of sexually driven crimes are committed by a family member or someone known to the victim.

Peruse any of their publications, and you might be excused for thinking that the country is experiencing an epidemic of sex crimes and abductions. U.S. Department of Justice statistics show that violent crime victimization has been dropping consistently almost every year from 1993 to 2015. Changes in the DOJ’s data collection methods in 2016 prevent comparisons with previous years but are consistent with the previous trend downward.

NCMEC has a noble purpose and worthy objectives. But their mission should not depend upon the amoral and questionable techniques of fomenting sex offender hysteria or misinforming the public. This tactic exploits the very children NCMEC is supposed to be protecting and it makes our communities less safe by focusing attention where it is least needed.

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Michael M.

Michael M. is the published author of several non-fiction books, a writer/researcher for NARSOL, and the executive editor of The Registry Report. He also assists NARSOL in marketing, social media, and podcasting.

This topic contains 11 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Sandy Rozek Sandy Rozek 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #46267 Reply

    Peter

    Great article! Has the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children been contacted or inquired about this article and a response to it?

    The Walsh’s should have been charged and jailed for neglect and child endangerment for leaving Adam by himself unattended (any other “regular person would have”, of course). The Father should be rotting in jail for perversion of a minor while he himself an adult (google it up, he boasts about it too dating an underage). By the way, it was never a proven fact that Adam was sexually abused or taken by a “Sex Offender”. Side note: I guess is seen as OK or accepted when rich folks/celebrities/connected individuals date very young adults, with very older individuals like Hugh Heffner, Jay-Z, Kutchner and Demi Moore when they were dating and many many many others! But do not let “regular” people even speak of doing/thinking of such natural human behavior because, that makes you a pedophile, abuser, kidnapper, rapist. How?-some of you with sensible & logical minds might ask?…well, I am still trying to find a sensible logical, non-emotional non-fear mongering based answer to that “How?”.

    Megan and Jacob Wetterling, their families have spoken about how the registry was intended for the worst of the worst, if they ever got to leave prison and be under strict requirements and monitoring. Not this manure it has become and so out of whack with a lust/thirst for power and to further diminish individuals’ worth to self and society in order to control.

    Yes, what has happened to these kids, as it has happened to adults too (which no one seems to think of adults, for it is not seen as despicable of an act to adults by society, I get it) or anyone is unfortunate period! Just as things have happened since the existence of all life (meteor crashes, dinosaurs etc.) and specially, humans (you know, “intelligent” life). The question continues to be, when do we act sensibly and logical towards one another and with our human rules/laws. Acting on human emotions & fear can only work and take us for so long before destruction of ourselves personally, internally and as world societies.
    …I worry I will never see such sensibility and logic!

    Thank you Michael, NARSOL and everyone involved in making a difference and for your work. Just like in many places Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina etc. Pennsylvania is dragging their feet and listening to no one, not even the courts. I am a Pre-Sorna 2012 10 years original registrant from a Military Court conviction in 2003. Started PA registry in 2004 and I have still not received any relief under the Muniz PA Supreme Court decision. My case as that of others, does not get any more clear and cut than this and yet, no lawyer I have contacted out of 11 since last year wants to do the right thing of making the PSP review my file immediately and have me removed from this awful communist list by requiring payments to them of quotes between “$2500 to $7500”! Seriously, who as a registered person has that kind of money saved or otherwise available to them generally speaking? When it should have been as automatic as when they added without due process 5 more years retroactively!!! I have had no offenses since (and neither do I plan or wish to). I have had no problems with LEO’s until now. I and many paid their damn dues ten plus fold!!! Is no one listening???

    • #46285 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      Yes, they have been sent a link to the piece and asked for a comment. We are not holding our breaths.

    • #46509 Reply

      Ed

      Thank you. I did not know that John Walsh had illegally dated a minor. That knowledge makes me even more cynical regarding the man. I have long felt that he exploited his son’s tragedy to increase his own celebrity.

      How did Adam Walsh’s murder come to be associated with a sex offense? Police announced in 2008 that Adam was murdered by Ottis Toole, a serial killer and not a sex offender.

  • #46269 Reply

    WC_TN

    It’s sad that NCMEC would intentionally omit such important facts. The sad truth is their existence seems to hinge on the stranger danger myth staying firmly in place. This leads to needless and senseless acts of violence against well-meaning citizens who may see a child straying into danger and try to intervene. What happened in India should be exposed far and wide. I’m referring to the video that had the ending edited out that told viewers the video was simply a DEMONSTRATION of how easily a small child can be snatched.

    • #46491 Reply

      citizen

      What’s even worse, in opinion, is that NCMEC is distracting the publics attention from the real danger. These two young children were not just abducted by an estranged parent. Their lives were in danger, and quite likely ended by their mother who was suffering from mental disorders.
      It seems to be that quite often children are taken by parents, and while their lives may not be in immediate danger, these children are caused to suffer, as well as their families, by these abductions. And, instead of spending time, money and resources on finding these children, this institution and law enforcement have chosen to use these instances as propaganda against social lepers.
      They say our crimes and lives are perverted, and that is why they despise our existence. But how perverted is it to allow innocent helpless children to suffer just so you can attack people you have moral disagreements with?
      The true problem that society needs to wrestle with is that children are still pawns in out fights. No one, and I mean not one governmental or established entity has proved that they truly fight for our children. They only use them for political and social gain.

  • #46621 Reply

    Timothy

    I’m sure NCMEC receives more clicks on FACEBOOK than NARSOL. Their followers are not excluded from the discourse.

    • #46625 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      I contacted them through Twitter asking for a comment. They responded, actually, saying that they did not deliberately mislead the public nor did they subscribe to stranger danger as they knew the actual facts about child sexual abuse. I wrote a response to them, and when I clicked “send,” I got a message that the tweet had been deleted. I have not succeeded in getting another response nor in finding that one.

  • #46675 Reply

    Timothy

    @We used to call that behavior, “plausible deniability.” I know many a parent in custody battles has used NCMEC as a sword against the other parent.

  • #46794 Reply

    Rajendra

    This society has not changed much from the days when women/girls were burnt on a stake on suspicion of being a witch. Here’s a recent news of a man who is accused of sexual crimes, gets a bail, but some self-righteous vigilante/s decides to hack his body and leave outside the door of the judge who approved his bail. Sounded right out of a Hollywood movie.

    Pedophile’s Decapitated Corpse Found On Judge’s Doorstep After Bail Hearing In Aurora, Illinois

    • #46815 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      There has not been a New York Herald since it merged with the Tribune in 1924, and now there is no Tribune either.

      This is total fake, false news that first emerged at least a year ago, and it is fake sites and news such as this one which contributed to our decision to not allow any links, although I see that some are still getting posted.

      When something seems too outrageous to be true, it probably is; please check it out before writing about it on here. Thank you.

      • #46860 Reply

        Tim

        The internet is full of untruth. A registrant did take his own life purposefully near the door to Paul Ryan’s headquarters in Janesville, WI. He was heard by Ryan’s people to be shouting about a lawsuit as reported by the city’s paper The Gazette. Anyone on the list itself would understand why. He was also distraught after the contents of his parents estate was sold at auction. That was the last time I saw him. His case was against his step sister but was very minor but never the less he was made a felon. Wisconsin at work.

  • #47179 Reply

    Eric

    “NCMEC has a noble purpose and worthy objectives.”

    I think that you’re being too charitable with that assessment. NCMEC has been “ignoble” since its founding by Ernie Allen back in the mid-’80s. He was always a liar and was instrumental in creating the sex offender hysteria which is with us to this day. NCMEC was even given quasi-governmental status and authority by the U.S. and has been front-and-center in establishing the system of media indoctrination of the public.

    Another one who appears to be unjustifiably lauded, even by the “reform” voices in our community, is David Finkelhore, another key player in the construction of the witch hunt.

    I think that we need to be less congratulatory of these people and organizations who have played a role in making our country, including its children, less free and more paranoid. There’s nothing honorable or noble about that and we should begin calling them for what they truly are: liars and agents of social and personal destruction.

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