Updated: 1/27/2011 10:10:34 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- We've come a long way since putting pictures of missing children on milk cartons. There's the highly successful Amber Alert, and now, those pictures are being shown on a Comcast On Demand channel.
The public service launched Thursday. Through the On Demand menu, Comcast digital customers can scroll through profiles and read descriptions of missing children.
"We launched 20 profiles," Comcast Corporate Affairs Vice President Mary Beth Schubert said. "They will air for 12 weeks, then we'll rotate them."
This is a newer, nationwide version of Comcast's existing Police Blotter On Demand channel. That channel has helped locate 70 criminals.
An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year. According to the B.C.A. there are 379 actively missing juveniles in Minnesota, as of December 2010.
"That is astronomical. We really believe somebody out there knows something about these children. It's about educating consumers, showing them the faces and how they may have progressed," Schubert said.
Comcast hopes digital technology can help bring some of those children home. Or make cold cases, warm. LeeAnna Warner from Chisholm, MN disappeared in 2003, when she was only 6 years old. LeeAnna is one of the 20 people Comcast is profiling.
"We have millions of customers across the country. We're confident people out there know something about these missing children," Schubert said.
Jacob Wetterling has been missing since 1989. The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center in St. Paul is excited about the on-demand channel. They believe more than police should be keeping an eye out for missing kids.
"I thought it was a very innovative way to help reach out to children that are missing. It's a good use of technology," Molly Cirillo said.
Comcast said they will expand their profiles in the coming months.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are currently 20 unsolved cases of missing children in Minnesota. There are 24 unsolved cases in Wisconsin.
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