Officials at the San Antonio area's Heidi Search Center say the amazing recovery of three missing girls in Cleveland has a message of hope for everybody---missing children can be found.


  Director Betsy Cooper tells 1200 WOAI's Michael Board that the miraculous story out of Cleveland has raised the spirits of everybody who engages in the sometimes frustrating effort of trying to recover missing children.


  "It tells the world that when there is people missing, you cannot give up hope," Cooper said.


  She points out that relatives in Cleveland had assumed that the girls, who were kidnapped in 2003...had been killed.


  "You need to hang on to the hope that they could be out there in some unusual situation," she said.


  Another lesson from the Cleveland case is that it is critical that the public get actively involved in missing persons cases.  She points out that it was tips from neighbors which alerted the police to potential problems in the home where the young women were being held captive, and when one of them escaped and ran to a neighbor's to call for help, the neighbor had heard of her plight.


  "When you see something strange going on in your neighborhood, and your instincts tell you that something is not quite right, it is worth reporting it," she said.


  The Heidi Search Center was formed in 1990, following the outpouring of local support in the effort to find missing 12 year old Heidi Seeman.  Although her body was found three weeks later, the Center has assisted in the search for thousands of missing children and adults over the past 23 years.