Thursday, August 15, 2002

Missing kids' photos on Strickland mail

By Malia Rulon
The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON - Mail from Rep. Ted Strickland's office will soon carry more than just the Ohio congressman's return address.

        Mr. Strickland said that starting next month, all envelopes leaving his office will include descriptions and pictures of missing children, such as 14-year-old Heather “Dani” Brown of Cincinnati.

        Heather, who has been missing since Jan. 21, will be featured on the next 5,000 envelopes mailed from Mr. Strickland's office. The 5-feet, 7-inch teenager is believed to be in the Middletown or Lebanon areas. She has brown hair, brown eyes and weighs 135 pounds.

        Each batch of new envelopes will contain information on a different missing child. The office estimates that it sends out 50 to 100 pieces of mail each day.

        “I hope that in some small way, the information included on correspondence from my office will help bring more children home safely,” said Mr. Strickland, a Democrat from Lucasville.

        Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, has included information on missing children on the front of his envelopes since a 1997 child abduction and murder case in his district. He has encouraged other members of Congress to do the same and founded the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, which has 150 members.

        Although members of Congress are prohibited from using their offices to promote nonprofit organizations, the rules allow official mail to contain information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

        Including Mr. Strickland, about 22 of the 435 House members include information about missing children on their official mail, said Abigail Shannon, a spokeswoman for the center.

        Mr. Strickland said he decided to include the information on his envelopes after a recent case in California in which a statewide rapid alert system was used to distribute information on two abducted teenage girls to local law enforcement officers. The girls were later rescued.


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