I can't tell you how heavy my heart became when I wrote the headline to this story. Let me repeat it with all caps, 54 KIDS ARE CURRENTLY MISSING IN MONTANA. Holy cow. I honestly had no idea the numbers where so high. The breakdown includes 36 girls and 18 boys. The majority of them are between the ages of 14 and 17. Twenty of the missing kids are being investigated in our area by either the Billings Police Department or Yellowstone County Sheriffs Office with the remaining thirty-four cases spread across the state.

These numbers blow my mind. A handful of the missing children cases are around a week or less old. Many of them have been missing for 30+ days and the longest missing Montana child (Patty Melvin of Billings) hasn't been seen for over 1,000 days.

Thanks to the Missing Children Act of 1985, Montana has a centralized clearinghouse for missing children that works as a distribution point of information for law enforcement, parents and national missing persons organizations. It appears to be updated weekly (the numbers quoted in this article are from information updated 5/29/20).

I know teenagers can be troublemakers and perhaps some of these missing kids chose to runaway on their own, for whatever reason. I also know for most parents - including myself - having a kid disappear is one of our biggest nightmares. The anguish experienced by the parents of these missing kids must be enormous. I'm going to start checking the Missing Kids list every week. I might even print out a copy to keep in my car. Remember to keep your eyes open when you're at a gas station, rest area or parking lot. If you see something that doesn't seem right, take note.

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