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The Big Search KC: Group of volunteers who seek out missing children has recovered 8 this year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A grassroots search for missing children in Kansas City is getting results.

The Big Search KC has found eight missing children, and there are more leads coming in.

Volunteers said they hope their outreach efforts lead to more kids going home safe.

From casinos, to the KC Streetcar, to businesses in Kansas and Missouri, volunteers handed out flyers around the area on Friday, Oct. 18. Some teams focused on chasing down leads, while others focused on outreach.

With photos of missing children in hand, a group of women went to a local casino and businesses near the airport to share the pictures and stories of those who are missing.

“With what we know about the trafficking problem, this is a few hours we could spend and maybe do some good,” said Jenny Riggs, volunteer.

Riggs and co-workers from family court said they see firsthand that some children in the community are in vulnerable situations.

“This is right here in our backyard,” Riggs said.

“It’s eye-opening,” said Justin Smith, volunteer. “It puts things in perspective.”

Just hours earlier, a group of UMKC criminology students focused their efforts to raise awareness by handing out flyers at hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, and tattoo shops in downtown Kansas City.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Smith said. “It’s heartbreaking to hear. It’s also very important to be informed.”

Smith said he hopes to one day be a Kansas City police officer. He said the number of young people found through this program is remarkable.

“It’s uplifting,” Smith said. “It’s empowering. I’m very glad to know those children were found. They are safe.”

“Eight — yes, that’s great,” Riggs said. “That’s very encouraging.”

Volunteers were back out Saturday, Oct. 19 for another day of searching and canvassing, and planned to be at the KC Marathon Saturday — spreading out in teams around the area.

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