News Release For Immediate Release
July 2, 2003
Everett, Washington – They are wrapping around shopping malls in block long lines. They are filling parks at sponsored fairs across the country, and even heading to their local car dealership to pick up this vital product. ‘They’? are parents, grandparents and guardians concerned about the ever-increasing number of missing children in this country. And the product they are after? A free Child Identification Kit. In addition to the millions of free packets distributed, tens of millions of more elaborate Child ID Kits containing everything from DNA records to fingerprinting strips and shoe labels have been sold nationwide.
Now, there is something brand new to add to their child’s identification records in the event the child is lost, missing or abducted. It will also aid law enforcement in making a positive identification when a missing child is located.
It’s called “Toothprints®.” Participating members of the Crown Council of Dentists are offering this state-of-the-art toothprinting technique, developed by a pediatric dentist.
While the Toothprints procedure takes less than two minutes, the child’s tooth characteristics recorded on a new thermoplastic material will last indefinitely, when properly stored. And according to the Crown Council, “Samples of the child’s DNA and scent contained in saliva are also captured by Toothprints.” The Toothprints are given to the parent or guardian to add to their child’s ID records.
Dr. Joe Albert, a participating Edmonds, WA. Crown Council dentist said, “I am excited to bring Toothprints, an important new child identification method, to our community. We hope no parent has the need for Toothprints, but it is important to have identification records for our children.”
In a generous gesture to the community, Dr. Albert is offering the Toothprints procedure free to the first 100 parents who call his office after July 15 at 425-771-3266 for an appointment. Thereafter, a nominal $5.00 cost per child will apply.
Dr. Albert added, “We recommend that the first impression be taken after all the primary teeth have come in, (around 3 years of age), then again around age 7 or 8 after the front four permanent teeth and molars have come in. The last impression would be taken around age 12-13, after all permanent teeth have come in.”
Parents and guardians living in other parts of the country can find a participating member-dentist in their area by visiting the Crown Council Website at www.crowncouncil.com .
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over 800,000 children (more than 2000 per day, which is equivalent to a rate of 11.4 children per 1,000 in America), are reported missing each year either through family or stranger abductions, runaways, and thrownway incidences.
Of the new identification process, Melody Gibson, executive director of OPERATION LOOKOUT® National Center for Missing Youth, said, “No parent wants to think that their child could become missing. And yet, we talk to them everyday. Toothprints is one of the most resourceful tools I have heard of, since dental records and DNA are the best methods used in identifying children. Toothprints supplies both.”
Founded in 1984, Operation Lookout, a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has helped more than 13,000 missing children and their families, always without charge, and overall, has an 82 percent resolution rate. Operation Lookout assists law enforcement worldwide, and serves as both advocate and liaison with government and private agencies involved in the field of missing children. For more information about Operation Lookout, call 800-782-7335 or visit the Website at www.operationlookout.org.