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More Missing Than Just Laci

The disappearance of pregnant Modesto resident Laci Peterson has made national headlines. But thousands of Californians vanish each year, far from the glare of the media spotlight.

As of Dec. 31, 2001, more than 35,000 adults were listed in the state Justice DepartmentĀ“s missing persons database.

About 12 percent of those disappeared under unknown or suspicious circumstances. Additionally, 98,000 children statewide were missing. The vast majority of those were runaways. In Modesto, PetersonĀ“s hometown, at least 10 other women are missing. Child advocate Marc Klaas says the media pays more attention when the missing person is a, quote, “pretty white girl.”

His 12-year-old daughter, Polly, was kidnapped and murdered in 1993.