Center for missing children opens in Saratoga

The NCMEC local branch won't necessarily be something the public can walk into for information or go in crisis. Instead, it will serve as a base for Kelly to organize and distribute his prevention tools and education materials through programs he coordinates.

"The opening of this office and hiring of John Kelly will bring to fruition a four-year goal we've had to establish a local office to serve the educational needs of children, parents and law enforcement," said Palazzole.

There are already similar offices in Rochester, Buffalo and Utica with NCMEC headquarters in Virginia. Palazzole said the reason a NCMEC office hasn't opened in the Capital Region before now is that nobody made it happen.

"New York State is the most active state in state offices in the country. There's no reason why one was lacking here, it was just nobody took a personal interest," said Palazzole.

Palazzole took a personal interest because of his long-time friendship with John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted" and father of 6-year-old Adam Walsh, who went missing in the '80s and was later found dead.

"It was a combination of our relationship with John and our commitment to the community to never let this happen here," said Palazzole.

A fundraiser has been held since 2007 to raise money for the Saratoga NCMEC office, since its funded completely through private donations. The fourth annual fundraiser will be help on Friday, Oct. 28, at Saratoga National Golf Course and will feature a Halloween masquerade gala.

"All the money we raise stays local," said Palazzole.

In addition to educating in the schools, Kelly will also present prevention programs at community events where a child can get a child ID with fingerprints and pertinent demographic information.

"God forbid they go missing, [parents] will have all the necessary information immediately at their fingertips for law enforcement to activate," said Palazzole.

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