On National Missing Children’s Day Sunday, communities gathered to remember missing Northwest children, including Sky Metalwala and Kyron Horman, and officials offered tips for parents to protect their kids.
In Tumwater, 29 agences from seven counties shared prevention education with parents, programs that can help reduc crimes against children, information about services like DNA swabs, fingerprinting and child ID kits.
Emergency medical services, Washington State Patrol, the Thurston County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies were available inside the Tumwater Walmart. In addition, local politicians, advocacy groups, and families representing their missing children attended the event.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said thousands of children disappear in America every year.
“Shaina Kirkpatrick and her sister Shausha Henson went missing on April 4, 2001. Khoi Vu vanished on April 7, 2007. Kyron Horman disappeared on June 4, 2010. These children – all from the Pacific Northwest – remain missing today,” said Beth Ann Steele of the FBI.
PHOTOS: Washington's Missing Children
In Tumwater, Solomon Metawala joined the families who had brought photos and flyers. Metawala has been looking for his son, Sky, since the little boy’s mother reported him missing in Bellevue 2 1/2 years ago.
"The police are doing their job. They say that the case is still open and I'm doing my job as a dad to make awareness and to let people know that please be a lookout, my son is missing,” he said.
Four trucks featured a different missing child to raise awareness in Tumwater: Danica Childs, Kayla Croft-Payne, Teekah Lewis and Lindsey Baum.
Thomas Payne, whose daughter Kayla is missing from Chehalis, also attended the event.
"I have been searching for her for the past four years now," he told KING 5.
The FBI also encourages families to take steps to protect their children, according to Steele.
The free Child ID App allows parents to create profiles for their children and upload recent photos. If their child disappears, parents can then easily show police what the child looked like and what they were wearing.
Steele also warned that child sex trafficking is a national problem and parents should be aware about the dangers of sex trafficking crimes.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25 to be National Missing Children's Day.
Sara Roth of KGW.com also contributed to this report.