Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation recently honored the 2018 winner of the Kansas Missing Children’s Poster Contest, an art competition for Kansas fifth graders that encourages child safety and creates awareness for children who remain missing.

The annual national poster contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The winner of this year’s Kansas poster contest was 11-year-old Emma Johnson of Colby, who attends Sacred Heart Catholic School. Johnson’s poster represented the state of Kansas in the national poster contest.

Johnson’s parents and her younger brother recently attended a day of events honoring her selection as the 2018 contest winner. Johnson and her family met Attorney General Derek Schmidt, KBI Director Kirk Thompson, and learned about KBI investigations through fingerprinting and crime scene simulations.

The group also visited the Capitol for a ceremony where Gov. Jeff Colyer proclaimed May 25, 2018 as Kansas Missing Children’s Day. Both the contest and the observation of Missing Children’s Day are intended to raise awareness of the risks of child abduction and provide valuable information to students to encourage their safety.

Each year in Kansas an average of 4,325 children are reported missing to the KBI’s Missing Persons Clearinghouse, and last year over 465,000 children nationwide were declared missing by law enforcement. The majority of those reports are for runaways, which are known to frequently reoccur. Fortunately, most missing children’s cases are resolved a short time after being reported.

The Governor’s proclamation of Missing Children’s Day calls on “all Kansans to join together in remembering the many children who remain missing, and to not waver in efforts to reunite them with their families. The citizens of the State of Kansas are urged to stand vigilant when a child goes missing and remain committed to reducing the tragic incidents of missing children.”