Officials Urge Parents To Establish “Code Word” With Their Kids

kids playing 6Northwest Iowa — With the arrival of spring, more children will be spending time outside, and the officials at the Iowa Department of Public Safety are urging people to be wary of suspicious activity.

Iowa public safety officials say they make about five arrests each year for attempted child abductions. Last year the Iowa Department of Public Safety formed a “Child Abduction Response Team” after children in Evansdale and Dayton were kidnapped, then murdered. Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan says Iowa authorities field about 15 to 20 reports of attempted kidnappings, statewide, each year.

The state’s new response team has not dealt with a kidnapping in its first year, but has responded to two reports of missing children. Ryan suggests families should set up a “code word” for their kids.

In 2013, Kathlynn Shepard and a friend were picked up by someone they knew at a bus stop in Dayton. One girl escaped, but Shepard was killed. Cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey were kidnapped in Evansdale in July of 2012. Their bodies were found six months later, in Bremer County.

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