Updated May 24, 2021 - 9:54 am
Aleah Scheible left her family’s North Las Vegas home on the morning of Dec. 8.
The 17-year-old’s parents, Ross and Korena, haven’t heard from her since, and they are asking for the public’s help in finding their missing daughter.
“If you see her, if you know where she is, contact the police,” Ross Scheible said. “Let them know. The biggest thing is we’ve got to try to get her medications.”
Aleah is one of 58 children currently reported missing in Nevada, according to the National Center for Missing &Exploited Children, and Tuesday is National Missing Children’s Day. The Scheibles, local law enforcement and child welfare advocates are asking Nevadans this week to view the photos of the missing children in an effort to bring every one of them home.
“All it takes is one person to spot the photo of that child and do the right thing,” said Callahan Walsh, a child advocate for the national center.
May 25 was declared National Missing Children’s Day by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Walsh’s parents, John and Reve, helped start the National Center for Missing &Exploited Children after Walsh’s brother, Adam, was abducted from a Florida shopping center and murdered.
“My parents were quick to realize early on there were few resources available for parents on a local and national level,” Walsh said. “I’ve come to learn over the years that, unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy to bring about meaningful change. The tragedy of my brother, Adam Walsh, really changed the way we look for missing children in this country.”
‘Floating in the wind’
The national center now works with law enforcement across the nation to help find missing kids in part by maintaining a nationwide photo database on its website of kids who are missing. One of them is Aleah. The Scheibles are left to speculate as to whether she is with a boyfriend or if she is getting needed medications.
“We just want to know she is OK,” Ross Scheible said. “No idea. It’s horrible. The uncertainty of what is going on is the worst because you don’t know if you are going to get a phone call the next day that they found her body or if she is going to walk through the front door the next day. You have no idea. Out there floating in the wind.”
At any given time the national center is helping with efforts to find 25,000 to 30,000 missing kids across the country.
“Children go missing in many different ways,” Callahan Walsh said. “We have your non-family abductions, which are the typical stranger abductions most are familiar with. We also have non-custodial family abductions when a parent who doesn’t have custody of a child may take that child. We have children who run away either out of the care of the state or from the family home.”
Sometimes, he said, officials lack sufficient information about how a child went missing.
“What we are seeing is really an increase in the exploitation of children online that’s leading to either many children becoming trafficked or being groomed and lured from the home,” he added.
In Nevada, the nonprofit Nevada Child Seekers works with police and parents to provide services to families of a missing child. Program manager Heather Doto said Tuesday is an important day for Nevada.
“National Missing Children’s Day is the day to remind ourselves that there are children out there who need to be home,” Doto said. “These are not just flyers. This is somebody’s baby who needs to be safe. The streets, especially here in Las Vegas, are not safe for kids, so I think National Missing Children’s Day is a reminder to everybody in the community and the country to recognize that these children need to be brought home.”
Some missing children cases go on for decades and remain unsolved. From the Las Vegas Valley they include:
Cary Sayegh, 6, who was kidnapped from the playground of the Albert Einstein Hebrew School at 1600 E. Oakey Blvd. He was last seen climbing into a car on Oct. 25, 1978. The same afternoon, his parents received a call demanding $500,000. The caller said he would call back in a couple of days to give the details of how the money would be paid. The family waited, but the call never came. Cary is presumed dead. Jerald Burgess, the Las Vegas man long considered a suspect in the kidnapping, was sentenced in 2002 to about 11 years in prison for being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
Randi Evers, 3, who disappeared from his Las Vegas home. Randi was last seen at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 16, 1992, sleeping in the living room of his home.
Karla Rodriguez, 7, disappeared from her Las Vegas neighborhood, on Oct. 20, 1999.
Everlyse Cabrera, 2, disappeared on June 10, 2006. Her foster parents told police the girl let herself out of their North Las Vegas home sometime in the night.
Many other cases don’t make headlines. Advocates say checking out the photos on the website of the National Center for Missing &Exploited Children is an important step anyone can take to help out.
“We can’t overlook any of these flyers,” Doto said.
Doto said anyone interested in helping to find missing children in Nevada also may volunteer for Nevada Child Seekers. They can join the organization’s email and alerts list and share the nonprofit’s child alerts that are posted on its social media spaces. More information may be obtained from Nevada Child Seekers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 702-458-7009.
“Look at your own children and ask yourself: Are you preparing your children for the reality of the world?” Doto said. “It is also about teaching our children safety rules, teaching them how to escape dangerous situations, how to recognize predators and the tricks that predators use to trip up children. Not only is this day about recognizing the children who are missing. It is about putting forward that prevention aspect to keep children from going missing in the first place.”