Deep in debt and low on manpower, the National Center for Missing Adults is on the brink of closure, reports the Arizona Republic. The Arizona-based agency has stopped taking new cases, weakening the ability of local police departments to find the missing, inform the public, and consult the families. Founder Kym Pasqualini is hopeing for Congress to reauthorize Kristen’s Act, which formally established her agency in 2002. At its height, the center fielded about 100 missing-person calls a day, maintained a public database of thousands of cases, conducted training classes for law enforcement, and acted as liaisons between family and police.
The center has created and distributed missing-person fliers for police and has assisted in searches. In 2005, 2,000 law-enforcement agencies across the U.S. requested assistance, and the agency handled more than 23,400 missing-person reports. Its namesake, Kristen Modafferi, was a student at North Carolina State University who went missing from San Francisco in June 1997. Modafferi was there to study for the summer at Berkeley. About 75 percent of the agency’s operating budget comes from government grants, while the remainder comes from donations. Federal assistance has declined from $1.75 million when the center opened in 2002 to $148,000 in 2006, and donations have been scarce.