International Missing Children’s Day 2024: commemorating those who came home, remembering the victims, continuing the search

This International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD), the AFP is releasing information about eight Australian children who never came home in the hope of unlocking a vital clue that could help reunite a family.

One of those children is Sherrlynn Mitchell who was 16 when she went to meet a friend at a bus stop in Ballarat in 1973. Sherrlynn hasn’t been seen since, leaving her family with questions that have never been answered.

Her brother Gerrard Mitchell, speaking on behalf of himself and his other sister, said their mother died not knowing what happened to her daughter.

“We were close when we were children – she was a loving sister,” Mr Mitchell said.

“We would like her to come back as we miss her greatly.

“It has impacted our lives as we think of her often. I want to know what happened to her.”

The eight children are featured with their picture and details on their disappearance on a poster being released today for IMCD by the AFP-led National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC).

Nearly 37,000 children were reported missing in Australia in 2023 and IMCD commemorates the more than one million children globally who are reported missing each year.

In Australia, most children are found safely within 24 hours of being reported missing but hundreds of Australian families are still searching for their cherished loved ones.

The NMPCC poster features missing children from across Australia to spread awareness and encourage members of the public to share any information they may have about the children.

AFP Commander Joanne Cameron said the faces and stories of the missing children were a reminder that every missing child is loved, and has left behind a family seeking answers.

“I encourage all of us to take the time today to commemorate the missing children who have found their way home, remember those who have been victims of crime, and continue efforts to find those who are still missing,” Commander Cameron said.

“We hope the poster can lead to someone coming forward with information that could help us locate the child and end a family’s trauma.

“Every piece of information is vital in a missing persons investigation, so I urge anyone with information on the whereabouts of a missing child to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

The NMPCC coordinates a national response to missing persons in Australia and complements the work of state and territory police services.

Visit the NMPCC website to find out more about Sherrlynn’s story and the work the NMPCC is doing to locate other missing Australians. The NMPCC Facebook and Instagram pages have more information on the children featured in the poster.

The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children website also has more information on the coordinated, global effort to help children find their way home.

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