A High-Tech Dragnet

A California kidnapping spurs a novel use of the information highway

When children disappear, a fate that has befallen 4,500 American kids in the past year, their faces usually turn up as blurry black-and-white snapshots tacked plaintively on poles around their neighborhood. But the crisp likeness of Polly Klaas, the 12-year-old girl who was kidnapped Oct. 1 from her home in Petaluma, California, has shown up everywhere: on television, on computer networks and on flyers in supermarkets, libraries and hospitals. The explanation for the ubiquity of the girl's image extends beyond a fascination with the brazen nature of the abduction: a knife-wielding bearded stranger intruded on Polly's slumber party. It even transcends...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!