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News Just In From Italy: 10 year old American Boy Has Disappeared on a Visit with His Parents to the Vatican Museum

News Just In From Italy: 10 year old American Boy Has Disappeared on a Visit with His Parents to the Vatican Museum

Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 10:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
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"If he'd been lost for a week, this kid would have turned up speaking Italian fluently."

Hopefully not. Because that would have meant that someone was unlawfully holding him-a kidnapper and/or child molester.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 10:56 AM
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Belledame you have certainly shown your age.. .

I wager not many parents would allow a 7 yr old to travel downtown by bus nowadays.

In fact my friend is a police officer, and she just reported a mother to social services. The school complained about a 8 yr old boy who was sent to walk to school ( through a not nice area of town) and left the house each morning at 7 am as mother had to work. School starts at 8:45 so child was expected to walk through a druggie area and arrive at school an hour and a half early when building was still locked and empty. Teachers would arrive to find child alone outside waiting.

Social services considers children 10 and under to be under a different level of care and attention then older children , at least here.
I think putting a 7 yr old on a city bus here alone to go downtown and spend the day would almost be considered neglect.

I grew up in a different era, said good bye to mom in morning and played in neighborhood for hours only to hear my name being called from the porch for dinner ,, parents never really knew where I was, but that I was " around" with the kids in the area. That was normal in the sixties.
Things change.
bozama is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 11:14 AM
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I'll probably be ripped apart for this , but I think this is more an American issue . I see young children riding the tube/metro and buses in London and Paris , going to school or wherever, all the time.
avalon is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 11:29 AM
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yes that is fine since they live there and know the route, but a tourist kid jumping on a bus and leaving his family at the vatican to go to the American Embassy? hmmm
SeaUrchin is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 11:37 AM
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Well, what do all the conspiracy theorists think actually happened to the boy? According to various reports, he either walked to the Via Veneto, asking for directions, or he took a bus there.

But basically, who cares? He got there; nothing happened to him; he was reunited with his parents. End of story.
Zerlina is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 11:51 AM
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Okay here's my personal theory. The entire trip the boy heard his mother exclaim, "Finally were back at our hotel, the only decent bathroom in Rome!"

The parents had also been careful to teach the boy, if he becomes lost, to catch any bus to Via Venetto and ask for directions to the hotel.

The boy just wanted to find a decent bathroom and did what his parents taught him.

Yes, I know that's not the real story but I like it so I'm sticking with it. LOL.
bdjtbenson is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 02:03 PM
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One of the important things I learned from my experience is that what you taught the goes right out their head when they are lost. We had gone over the special meeting place and what to do when you are lost with my son. However he was in such a panic that he forgot all of it including basic info. He said he was so worried that he couldn't think straight. I do think its odd to board a bus, but when lost kids do strange things. Fortunately that was the last time a child of mine was lost. Like others have mentioned, I hold my children's hand in crowded places and try to exercise precautions. My problem was my husband kept on saying he had my son in sight. Now that the kid is 6'3" it is harder to lose him and sometimes with his current teenager attitude we want to lose him . In the end it is just fortunate this boy was found.
itsv is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 02:24 PM
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"One of the important things I learned from my experience is that what you taught the goes right out their head when they are lost." - are you saying my mental age is 10 This would be probably my (re)action too.
FainaAgain is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 03:10 PM
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just another plea not to be judgemental when parents "lose" their kids.

our ADHD son was always getting lost [still does sometimes] - though as he still says, HE knows where he is, just not where everyone else is.

the worst time was at epcot during the fireworks when he was about 10 [like this lad] - one minute he was there, the next...do you have any idea how many 10 year old lads wearing blue jumpers watch the epcot fireworks?

so these parents have my entire sympathy. sometimes, kids will get lost whatever you do.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 03:21 PM
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I have a suggestion, when traveling with children or teens, have closeup digital photo of them on your camera. In case of the unthinkable, you will have some picture ID available quickly for officials to begin their search.

Glad to hear this situation ended well.
enpleinair is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 06:52 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
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"In fact my friend is a police officer, and she just reported a mother to social services. The school complained about a 8 yr old boy who was sent to walk to school ( through a not nice area of town) and left the house each morning at 7 am as mother had to work."

Yeah and where is the father? Bet he's not around nor in any trouble though he should be.
ronnie36 is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 09:02 PM
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Yeah,"everyone makes mistakes" even Jesus.... he pulled the same stunt and got in trouble with his parents...but somehow I don't picture them "spanking" him
hypatia is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 10:08 AM
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Claiming the kid would be held by child molesters is melodramatic. He could easily learn the language simply interacting with people in his wandering. I do.

(My age is 35 as of this past Sunday.) They may have created hysterical laws nowadays, but being sent to the busy city center as a 10 year-old to do research in the public library was hardly neglectful in the '80s. I was a smart kid and I knew what to do and how to ask for help.

Children's capabalities have not diminished since then.
Belledame is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:08 PM
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Many 10 year olds are pretty functional. Its impossible to prepare for every eventuality and helping kids to be resourceful and thinking independently is probably better than managing their every move. The story doesnt answer the basic question but I can think of a couple possible answers - (1) he was heading back to his hotel, or so he thought (2) he was interested in transportation, like a lot of boys and wanted to check out the buses. Im glad it resolved so easily.

When my son was around 14 or so and our family was walking around to our guest house along Hadrian's wall, he decided he wanted to get off the top of the wall and walk back a different way. He has a exceptional good sense of direction and had done a lot of orienteering etc in the scouts. We thought he would have a fairly easy way of it, and let him go. Well, to make a long story short, he didnt appear, night was falling and we had to send out the mounted police (its rather desolate country and they have a local search and rescue team). He eventually surfaced at about 8 pm at an isolated farm - somehow he had gotten distracted taken a wrong turn and I guess the escarpment on which the wall is built is not as prominent a feature as we had thought - at least he didnt fall into a bog or wander into the forest north of there. All's well that ends well, and we never actually feared for his life or eventual safe return, but these things can be very upsetting.

I cant see equipping a whole family with cells for a trip to europe to cover this eventuality.
jjkbrook is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:36 PM
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I think the boy was quite resourceful, as the news item I read said he was on his way to the U.S. Embassy. I suspect his parents told him that was a place to go if you are in trouble.

As for losing kids, my son, an ADHD kid, at the age of 3 disappeared from a mock cable car in the SF Zoo that swarms of kids were climbing on. I was standing right outside watching. After about 2 minutes I realized I could not see him! I called, got on the cable car, ran around, etc. No son. Just as in the case with the tiger mauling recently, I could not find a soul from the zoo to help. My husband rushed off to find a policeman while I stood there in a panic asking people if they had seen him. After about 10 minutes in which I was getting pretty hysterical, here came a man leading son by the hand!

It turned out that he got off the other side of the cable car and set out looking for me. After a little while he decided to go back to the car, which was parked across a major street with a stop light. He was waiting for the green light when the man asked him if he was lost, and he told the story, so the man brought him back. It turns out he knew right where the car was. Now his is 6'4" and hard to lose except that he walks so fast! Now he goes on 10-12 mile hikes alone! (That makes me nervous, too, but he's a grown-up now.)

charnees is offline  
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