Invasion of the Baby Snatchers


Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, right, vanished from Soham, England on Aug. 4; at left, a U.S. freeway sign flashes as part of a special child-alert program

Far too often the photos are the last we see of them: school portraits or family snapshots reproduced on blurry newsprint or flickering TV screens. The parents hold up the pictures at press conferences and tell their sad, familiar stories: one minute the child was there — in a bedroom, a store, a car seat — and then, in an eyeblink, she wasn't. Please help us find her. Call this number. Contact the police. And sometimes it works. Someone recognizes the photo — the ponytail, the freckles, the wide brown eyes — and the stolen child is found and rescued....

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