From DNA evidence to instant media coverage, new technology helps law enforcement bring missing children home. This blessing is also a curse. Police say child predators are using those same advances in technology to lure victims. Much has changed in the way crimes are committed and solved since Morgan Nick went missing 17 years ago.
Six-year-old Morgan Nick was kidnapped from a ball park in Alma in 1995. Today Chief of Police Russell White says investigators still get tips weekly on her case.
"Many times we're asked, 'Well, you know, why do you all keep working this cold case?' Well, it's not a cold case,” said Chief White. “The definition of a cold case is a case that nothing is happening on."
After nearly two decades, Chief White says tips come in weekly about Nick. In the past year, the department hired three detectives to focus only on the case.
"It's made us a better police department, but it's come at a cost," said Chief White.
Since 1995, Chief White says technology has helped tremendously working unsolved cases.
"Sign boards, Amber Alerts, Morgan Nick Alerts here in Arkansas, the willingness for media to work with us as far as putting out alerts," said Chief White.
Just this week, a Fayetteville man was arrested for the murder of Nina Ingram, who was found strangled in her apartment six years ago. His arrest came after a tip.
"All those things that technology does for good, there are people who use it for evil," said Morgan’s mother Colleen Nick.
Deputies arrested a convicted sex offender, accused of murdering 16-year-old Angela Allen from Van Buren after meeting her online. That's why the Morgan Nick Foundation is encouraging parents to talk about safety. Technology can also be used as a tool for predators.
"Not just about their computers, but about their smartphones and their hand held devices and all that kids have access to, so that they're protected and something doesn't happen to them," said Colleen Nick.
Family and friends will release dozens of balloons in honor of Morgan Saturday evening. Their hope is wherever it lands; someone will see the information and bring her home.
“We continue to believe that Morgan’s going to come home. Until someone can prove to me that she’s not, then I believe she’s out there somewhere and is going to come home,” said Colleen Nick.
The night Morgan Nick was kidnapped, she was catching fireflies with friends at the baseball field. Morgan's mother is encouraging parents to catch fireflies for Morgan on Saturday, while talking to their kids about safety.
If you have information that you believe could help solve this case, call Crime Stoppers at (479) 78-CRIME.