ATLANTA - While COVID-19 has captured the attention of the U.S. and the entire world, the families of missing and exploited children still need help.
A face of the missing in metro Atlanta is AJ Haszelton. The 16-year-old has been out of touch for two weeks since disappearing from his Decatur home.
"The not knowing is just like eating me up," his mother, Benji Abbey, told FOX5.
Mitch Mann shares that pain. His life has been on hold for ten weeks now. His daughter, Julia, seemingly vanished from Oconee County. The 17-year-old left a single footprint outside her grandparents' home, but no digital one since.
"People see this face on a flyer or a billboard or in a story but don’t know anything about Julia," Mitch Mann told FOX 5's Kaitlyn Pratt. "And I want people to know how funny, and how kind, and how empathetic of a person that Julia is. I’m so proud she’s my daughter. Like any parent, I just want to know she's safe," he added.
Dealing with the unknown is tough on a regular day. But during a health crisis, it's even more frustrating for family members of the missing.
"They're feeling a lot of anxiety. They know COVID-19 is the headline, every day. Everywhere," said Angeline Hartmann with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
So the non-profit is trying different tactics to get information out.
"We've created our own video," Hartmann explained, saying "We’re still here to support our families and law enforcement, especially now. We’re asking everyone to share the video with the hashtag #NeverStop."