HOUSTON (KIAH) — In 1983, President Ronald Reagan established May 25 as National Missing Children’s Day.
On the 40th anniversary last Thursday, the Texas Center for the Missing, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and others held a ceremony to unveil electronic billboard messages calling attention to two missing Houston girls.
The family of one of the girls, eight-year-old Rebecca Williams Atiles, was there including her father.
“I know that she’s not in school for this long, and she really needs to be getting a proper education and the care that she needs,” David Atiles said. “I’m concerned about her medical care — if she’s getting any. Just a whole lot of different concerns there.”
Atiles says a court granted him sole custody of Rebecca in November, but her non-custodial mother and grandmother took off with her the next month.
He says he’s seen on YouTube that they’ve changed her hair and otherwise altered her appearance in hopes of staying hidden.
Atiles is hopeful that the billboard announcing her disappearance and asking for tips on her whereabouts helps reunite him with his daughter.
“I just felt like it was a really good blessing,” he said about his daughter’s case being selected to go on the billboard. “And so I really appreciate everything, and I’ll take the opportunity to do whatever I can.”
Clear Channel Outdoor is allowing the Texas Center for the Missing to run the billboard ads for free for a month.
They’re also featuring Alyssa Williams, a Houston girl who’s been missing since November.
Anyone with any information that could help reunite either child with her family is urged to call 832-394-1840.
“Rebecca, I want you back soon, and I know it won’t be too long,” Atiles said.