Friday, February 20, 2009

CareTrak . . . it's worth repeating . . .

By Lonnie Cruse

Little Adji Dessir went missing on January 10, 2009 and no one seems to know what happened to the mentally disabled six year old since then. Authorities have have been forced to discontinue the massive ground search but are still working on the case. I follow the case on Nancy Grace when she gives updates, and I pray for him every day.

Adji has the mentality of a two year old and can not communicate. However, he lives on a large migrant worker farm where at least the close neighbors are familiar with his situation. Yet no one saw him disappear from his yard in broad daylight. My personal fear is that he was somehow kidnapped since if he'd wandered off, you'd think someone would have found him within a few hours. How I wish Adji had been wearing a CareTrak bracelet.

The CareTrak company is located in Murphysboro, Illinois, a small town you've likely never heard of. But I believe everyone in this country, maybe even the world needs to be aware of CareTrak. And I'd like to see every care giver and/or law enforcement agency throughout our country using this equipment.

I learned about this wonderful technology a few years back through the Metropolis Planet newspaper when a local group made a donation to the Massac County Sheriff's department for more CareTrak equipment. After researching the technology I used it in my third Metropolis Mystery book, MARRIED IN METROPOLIS, to try to get the word out, and I've donated proceeds from the book to the local sheriff's department to help them in acquiring more equipment.

CareTrak is a small transmitter worn as an extremely durable bracelet on the arm or ankle of anyone who is mentally challenged and likely to wander away. A tracking perimiter is set anywhere from fifty feet to four hundred feet. During the day the perimiter can be expanded to allow a child or adult to enjoy the outdoors, and at night it can be shortened, in case the wearer tries to leave the house. If the wearer wanders beyond the perimiter, an alarm sounds to warn the caregiver. Either the caregiver or local law enforcement officials can keep the tracking mechanism to quickly locate the wanderer. To date the CareTrak technology has been responsible for over TWO THOUSAND rescues.

I doubt Adji's family could afford the cost of the unit, but law enforcement agencies can donate the wearer's unit IF they have enough donations to help.

Back to Adji. Had he worn a bracelet and simply wandered off, likely he'd have been found within thirty minutes, which is about the average find time. And IF he was indeed kidnapped and the kidnapper somehow figured out how to remove the bracelet and toss it, that would have at least given authorities two important facts, (a) that he WAS taken and (b) where he last had the bracelet on him. Time spent searching for a wandering child could have been spent on locating a suspicious vehicle.

How often do we hear of a mentally challenged adult or child wandering off, with tragic results? Far too often. With CareTrak, the find and rescue statistics are nothing short of magnificent. If you know someone who needs CareTrak, please check the link below for more information. And if there is anything you can do to help connect those who need it with this technology, please do it. Let's try to prevent any more stories like Adji's.

(Well, fooey, for some reason, I can't get this link to go "live" so you can just click on it. Please copy and paste into your browser. Or do a search. Sigh.)


Sandra Parshall said...

What a great idea, Lonnie. It would be good to have something like this for small children too, regardless of their mental status, because they're so very vulnerable to harm and helpless when they're lost or abducted.

Julia Buckley said...

A great point, Lonnie--and how generous of you to donate your book proceeds to the cause.

I hope that they find the boy you spoke of--we can always wish for that explanation that defies reality--that somehow the child was all right and with a loved one.