Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A toddler named Aaron Russell Steimetz is missing, and you should forward the plea to help find him to everyone you know.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1999]
Origins: In common with the request for prayers for Amanda Bundy and the plea to find little Krystava Patients Schmidt
Aaron Russell Steinmetz was returned to his mother on
There was never any doubt but that little Aaron had been taken by his father and thus was in the care of a parent during the time he was missing. Unlike cases in which the child might be in the hands of a stranger who'd made off with him for God knows what evil purpose, parental kidnappings usually stem from a desire to have the company of the child (he's loved and missed, in other words), to rescue the youngster from the other parent (whom the abductor sees as a bad or dangerous influence), or to get back at the spouse by making off with what that person values most in the world. Whatever the motivation, the child's safety is generally not a critical issue — he might be in the wrong place and with the wrong parent, but he's probably safe. Consequently, though harried police departments do work to try to find the child and return him to the parent deemed to have legal custody, such cases are by necessity lower on the priority scale than an outright kidnapping by an unknown party.
In this case, the Marion County Sherriff's Office had pinned down the whereabouts of the errant dad by early February 1999. Sheriff's officials were initially powerless to make an arrest because although
Michael and Amanda Steinmetz had been feuding over her demand for a divorce, and her husband took off with their son from a wedding all three had attended on
All's well that ends well, right?
Well, not really. As mentioned earlier, the cyber hunt for little Aaron is still on, at least in the minds of those who receive the appeal and who then forward the request to everyone they know. They've no way of knowing the hunt is over.
If you get a cybersolicitation to aid in the search for a missing child, still your natural desire to help long enough to do a bit of investigating of your own. Look to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for information about the child in question. If you don't find the child listed on their pages, call them at
Barbara "missing you(th)" Mikkelson
Last updated: 29 October 2007
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