Over the last week, many of us have viewed and shared the news of a missing 12-year-old girl named Adriaunna Horton via Facebook. According to Mail Online, her kidnapper, Bobby D. Bourne Jr. was arrested, though the search for young Adriaunna continued. The search has since ended. CBS reports Adriaunna Horton's body has been found; the cause of death is yet to be released.
Adriaunna was playing in a park near her home, states the MO report. There were a few other girls with her, so she was not alone. Bourne was an acquaintance and had requested help in finding his own daughters. Adriaunna had went ahead of the other girls to assess the situation and disappeared. It would seem Adriaunna took a protective role in this scenario. But who was there to protect her?
According to an article published on CNN, 2,000 children in the United States go missing every day. Some are runaways, some are kidnapped, some are found alive and safe, but a few meet the unfortunate, as did Adriaunna. Her story serves as a reminder that children should be wary of acquaintances who ask them to get into a vehicle. It is also a reminder that sometimes there is not safety in numbers.
While parents often receive criticism for being overprotective of their children, it must be noted that there are reasons for this. Overprotective parents do not just make up tragedies; they live off the memories and lessons of the tragedies they have known in the media and from their own life stories. Of course, we should not go overboard and helicopter them until they are eighteen --that's just embarrassing. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to survive in this world, which requires a loosening of the leash at times, but reminders are good. Playing in a park near a child's home with friends, unsupervised, at the age of twelve is not unheard of, nor is it necessarily the result of bad parenting. So what do we do? We teach. We preach. We teach again: It is not okay to go up to an acquaintance when there is no adult present to protect, and when in doubt, run as fast as you can.
Prayers and well wishes to the family of Adriaunna Horton. If you would like to follow a prayer chain, here is one found on Facebook.
If you have comments or suggestions on how to keep children safe, we would love to hear from you.