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Without A Trace – The Original Movie

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They Find Horses, Don’t They? What about Children?

National resources for missing children began in the mid 1980’s. The formation of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children was conceived and created following some high profile child abductions.

Approximately 33 years ago, 6 year old Etan Patz was abducted from New York City from a Manhattan street on his way to the school bus. Thirty years later in 2012, his abductor, a former stock clerk living in his neighborhood was finally identified and arrested for the kidnapping–murder. These missing children preceded the founding of the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for Missing Persons ~ 21 years ago.

In 1981, the abduction and murder of 6 year-old Adam Walsh from a shopping mall in Hollywood, Florida was the next in a series of abductions to really bring this issue to the forefront of the American public with his parents starting a wave of national publicity and advocacy for the rights of children.

Can you imagine that prior to these horrific incidents, police had the ability to record and track information about stolen cars, stolen guns, and even stolen horses with the FBI’s technology at the time… but nothing for child abductions!

In 1984, the U.S. Congress passed the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, establishing a National Resource Center and Clearinghouse on Missing & Exploited Children. On June 13, 1984, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children was formed by President Ronald Reagan in order to maintain those resources. A national 24-hour toll-free hotline was also initiated at that time -1-800-THE-LOST.

The reason I raise this issue, is my great fondness for a former movie, filmed in Canada in 1983 which likely was written to closely illustrate the abduction of Ethan. This film, (unrelated to the former TV show) was called “Without a Trace.” It starred Judd Hirsch as the caring and persevering detective and Kate Nelligan as Alex Selky’s mother, separated from her husband.

I have not seen this movie in years, but it always stuck with me for the quality of the acting, and the pull on my heartstrings.  When I compare it with the advanced resources and technology of today, well, there simply is no comparison.

Using the telephone as a resource and “waiting sufficient time to act” in those days just increased the anguish of all parents. This story took place in New York City and the abductor was finally located in Bridgeport, CT.  It has a heart tugging and amazing ending with regard to rescue efforts, resolution and the incredible reason for the abduction in the first place!  Beyond that, I will not reveal details, in this blog.

However, it is a mystery, why this movie is such a “hot property.” On Amazon.com, you can find very few DVD copies for about $75.00 each!  (What?) (All 5 starreviews , irrespective of unavailability.)  I did just locate one for $19.95 from Movie Night DVD.com

Do grab hold of this movie if you get the opportunity! It is well worth a spot in your most prized collection.

MV5BMTIwMTU5OTM5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTA3MDgyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Nelligan, Judd Hirsch, David Dukes, Stockard Channing, Jacqueline Brookes
  • Directors: Stanley R. Jaffe
  • Writers: Beth Gutcheon
  • Producers: Stanley R. Jaffe, Alice Shure
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: March 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 120 minutes

Additional References; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Center_for_Missing_%26_Exploited_Children

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