Sheriff dedicates team to child abductions

The aim is to quickly deploy the team to respond to reports of missing
children

By STEVE THOMPSON
September 30, 2005

NEW PORT RICHEY – The Sheriff’s Office says 1.3 kids are likely to be
murdered in Pasco County this year. That’s if statistics from previous
years are any indication.

The number of kids likely to be abducted by family members: 12.5.

By strangers: 10.4.

Of kids who are kidnapped and killed, 75 percent die within three hours
of their abductions.

The Sheriff’s Office rolled out these figures Thursday in support of a
new team, the Missing/Abducted Child team or MAC.

The team will be ready to quickly deploy after reports of missing
children, the Sheriff’s Office says.

A first step in the team’s creation is a new sheriff’s bloodhound,
Copper, who is being trained to sniff out missing kids.

Copper, 61/2 months old, sprawled on the floor of the Sheriff’s Office
during a news conference Thursday morning, his ears flopping, looking
inconsolably bored. With sad howls, he interrupted the speakers, who
included Sheriff Bob White.

Claudine and Don Ryce, whose 9-year-old son was kidnapped at gunpoint,
raped and murdered Sept. 11, 1995, also spoke at the event. Their
organization, the Jimmy Ryce Center, donated Copper to the Sheriff’s
Office.

Claudine Ryce spoke briefly about what happened to her son. A bloodhound,
she said, might have saved him.

She and her husband presented the sheriff with a T-shirt with their son’s
picture. “MAKE THE HUNTER THE HUNTED,” it says on the back.

“I hate to say it but it’s true,” Don Ryce told television cameras. “It’s
only a matter of time before Pasco County has to go through this.”

Sheriff’s officials hope also to equip a van, “a rapid response vehicle,”
for the team with computers, printers and communication equipment. They
say the van will cost about $150,000, and its equipment $50,000. They
hope to find the money through private or corporate contributors and are
looking for sponsors.

© Copyright 2003 St. Petersburg Times

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