High-profile child kidnappings and abductions have sparked national attention for decades


More than 797,000 children are reported missing each year according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The pictures and information revealed in child kidnapping and abduction cases often stick in people's minds for the years that follow, including cases like the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and Etan Patz -- who was one of the first missing children to ever appear on the side of a milk carton.

Some cases have also sparked major change for the victims, their families and their communities. The kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh in 1981 led to his father, John Walsh, becoming one of the most vocal advocates for victims rights and the host of the long-running criminal justice show, America's Most Wanted.

While the abduction of Elizabeth Smart in Utah helped bring awareness to the need for rapid response to kidnappings and resulted in former President George W. Bush signing a nationwide Amber Alert bill.

​​​​Click through the slideshow above to see more high profile kidnappings from around the world.

See another 'milk carton kid' recall life on the run after her kidnapping: