FBI stages child kidnapping drills to teach Chicago area cops how to handle the scenario

FRANKFORT, Ill. -- The FBI staged a live action drill in Frankfort on Thursday to teach Chicago area officers how to handle child abduction scenarios. FBI officials said there are only about 100 child abductions a year in the United States, so most police departments don’t ever deal with this kind of crime.

In Thursday's field training exercise, 10-year-old Morgan Signore has gone missing. In the scenario, she was on her way to a tutor’s house and never made it there. Local police have been called and soon the sheriff’s office and FBI arrive along with reporters and camera crews. In the scenario, agents are interviewing family members at the girl’s home, careful not to contaminate a potential crime scene.

Soon police set up road blocks to make sure no one is leaving the area with the missing girl.

Once law enforcement has a detailed description, they print fliers and talk to neighbors to see if anyone witnessed the abduction or may have security cameras that caught anything suspicious. Soon specialists begin to interview the girl’s friends and detectives arrive at their first solid lead—that the girl had been chatting online with someone

Agents say they have a three-hour window, after which the vast majority of abducted children end up dead.

As the search moves into the afternoon, the FBI has set up a command post – at a nearby school clearing house for information, leads and a coordinated response

From interviews and surveillance video from a nearby home, she was seen getting in a car with a man who told her he needed help to find his lost dog. Soon after, agents located the car, arrested the kidnapper and rescued the girl. The exercise was over, but the education continues.

“After 46 years, I’ve learned that you never stop learning, that learning new procedures, protocols and methods is what makes your agency able to handle an incident like this,” Tim McCarthy, Orland Park Police, said.

The south suburban community all pitched in to make the training exercise a success. More than a dozen people took vacation days to open their homes and participate in the training.