In today's troubling times, the nighmare of having one's child kidnapped or abducted has become a harsh and brutal reality throughout North America. The possibility of such an event occuring terrifys not only parents, but day-care centers, nursery schools, hospitals, and every institution which serves as a caregiver or home for children.
In response to an overwhelming and pervasive outpouring of concern regarding the dramatic rise in numbers of kidnapped and missing children, a New York Private Investigator with a long history of involvement in community and Jewish causes has formed the "Bureau of Missing Persons, Inc.", a non-profit agency which provides Private Investigators and attorneys to families of missing, kidnapped or abducted children.
The Bureau of Missing Person's founder is Steven Rambam, a Private Investigator for the past eleven years, whose long experience in the missing-persons field of detective work has caused him to cross paths with parents left heartbroken and without hope after their child's dissappearance, who have discovered that they do not have the financial ability to hire Private Investigators - the average bill for a missing person investigation is $15,000 - and who are then, tragically, left at the mercy of the police, whose immediate priorities are the solving of violent crimes, and not finding missing children.
That Rambam considers service to the community to be his priority is no secret to anyone.... "What makes the Bureau special", says Rambam, "is that for the past eighteen months we've been then only investigative 'foundation' in the country that provides Investigators or attorneys to people who otherwise couldn't afford to have a professional Investigator looking for their missing family member".
Rambam tells of another feature of the "Bureau" which is truly special: "We have been able to focus a majority of the Bureau's attention in New York on missing or runaway children, and have been able to match volunteer Investigators...with ...parents needing help".
Through Rambam's numerous contacts in the Investigative field, a "resource list" of nearly 800 Investigators and attorneys nationwide has been compiled , each of whom have agreed to donate at least 20 hours a year to the Bureau. Rambam's reputation hasn't hurt the Bureau's recruiting efforts either. According to Stanley Lumpkin, a prominent N.Y.C. attorney and the former N.Y.C. Commissioner of Investigations: "In the instinces where we've needed Steve Rambam's help in locating witnesses or missing persons, he has demonstrated a remarkable level of success in locating persons who we've assumed would be difficult or impossible to find".
Rambam, who sits on the Executive Board of the National Association of Investigative Specialists, the largest association of Private Investigators in the U.S., and who lectures for the N.C.I.S.S., another large association of Investigators, has now been able to expand the Bureau's resources to the point where he, and other Bureau volunteers, are in the process of opening a Bureau headquarters in New York City. Arrangements have already been made for 24-hour "toll-free" telephone lines to be installed in this new office, and for the establishment of a national computer "Bulletin Board" system which will link the Bureau's, and other, Private Investigators in the first electronic link-up of its kind.
"Once this office is opened this summer", says Rambam, "parents will be able to contact us literally at any time, and we will be able to match these familys with a volunteer Investigator, hopefully within hours. I'm very excited about this, because in many missing person cases, time is a truly critical factor."
J.B. Tucker Investigations, a Los Angeles based investigative agency, has donated dozens of hours to the Bureau. J.B. Tucker's President, Jan Tucker, describes Steve Rambam as "the primary motivation" behind the Bureau of Missing Persons, and says that his experinces in investigative work with Rambam have been "never less than extraordinary".
Tucker and Rambam recently worked together on locating a 13 year old Orthodox Jewish girl, and returning her to her family in Brooklyn. "In just hours", says Tucker, "Rambam and his people in New York determined that the girl was heading for L.A. on a greyhound bus". "They had been able to find a cabdriver who drove her to the NYC Port Authority, and who remembered that she might have said something about heading to California. Then Steve found someone else at the Port Authority terminal who said that she had mentioned L.A. To make a long story short, we were able, along with the L.A.P.D., to watch all buses from NYC, and when we spotted the girl - Steve had faxed us the picture - the L.A.P.D. and our men were able to take her off the bus two blocks before the terminal, and return her to her family who quickly flew to L.A."
"They were a really nice Orthodox Jewish family", adds Rambam, "and we were glad to be able to help them". (A footnote: girl and family are doing well.)
Rambam, who claims that his "day job" as the Director of Pallorium Investigations already keeps him busy with "more than enough missing person cases", fervently hopes that the phones at the Bureau of Missing Persons' N.Y. offices are as busy as the Maytag repairman's phone. But if they are not, the Bureau is ready to provide help to any parent who calls - possibly the only help they may be able to get.