September 21, 2009 12:00 PM

When Jaycee Dugard came home after 18 years, she didn’t just bring joy to her own family, she gave hope to parents of other missing children. “To think Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck and Jaycee Dugard are the total of long-term missing children out there is foolish,” says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, who points out that there are nearly 800 unsolved stranger-abduction cases. Most kids who are rescued are located within a matter of hours or days. But below are seven missing children whose cases are still open—and who may be alive. Allen urges people to study the age-progressed photos and call 1-800-THE-LOST if they recognize the victims. “Somebody out there knows what happened to these children,” he says. Adds Jaycee’s aunt Tina Dugard: “It’s a happiness you don’t expect. I want people to know there is hope.”


Alma, Ark., June 9, 1995


Age progressed

Morgan Nick was only 6 years old when she vanished from a Little League game. Colleen Nick, 44, her mother, has moved into a new house since then but still has a room waiting for her daughter. “Over the door is painted, ‘Each heart is whispering home, home at last,'” she says.


Harlem, May 18, 1989


Age progressed

Christopher Dansby was barely 2 years old when he vanished from a playground. His mother, Allison Dansby, 46, believes someone took her child and sold him. “I hope he was raised by someone who loved him, who took care of him and didn’t abuse him,” she says. “I hope he comes back.”


Tucson, Jan. 11, 1996


Age progressed

The day she vanished without a trace, 7-year-old Karen Grajeda went roller-skating in the courtyard of her apartment building. She took her skates home about 6 p.m., then went back out to play. “I believe she’s alive,” her mother, Rosalba Lozoya, told the Tucson Citizen in 1999.


Valrico, Fla., Nov. 24, 1997


Age progressed

Steve Aisenberg remembers putting his 4-month-old daughter Sabrina to bed in her crib. The next morning she was gone. The Aisenbergs believe the kidnapper wanted a child of his or her own. “We hope someday Sabrina sees her picture and wonders if this is her,” says Aisenberg, 46.


St. Joseph, Minn., Oct. 22, 1989


Age progressed

Patty Wetterling, 59, still dreams about how she and her son Jacob will bond if he ever comes home. “For me it’s on a beach in Europe,” she says. “It’s just us building that bridge.” Jacob was 11 when he was abducted by a masked gunman while on his way home with friends.


Del Haven, N.J., Nov. 25, 1991


Age progressed

Maureen Himebaugh, 57, lives in the same house as she did when her 11-year-old son Mark was abducted after he went to watch a nearby fire. Police found his left shoe about 75 yards from his home. “I won’t move,” she says, “because I still have that dream that Mark could walk through that door.”



Hayward, Calif., Nov. 19, 1988


Age progressed

Police say Phillip Garrido is a possible suspect in the disappearance of Michaela Garecht, who was abducted outside a Hayward, Calif., grocery store in 1988. Like Jaycee Dugard, Michaela, 9, was snatched off the street. She also bears an uncanny resemblance to Jaycee, whose return has stirred up mixed emotions in Michaela’s mother, Sharon Murch, 55. “I am so happy for her and her family,” says Murch, “but I just scream in my heart, ‘Why couldn’t it have been Michaela?'”

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