An 8-year-old East Baltimore boy who has been missing since September is being featured on an advertising mailer being shipped to over 54 million homes nationwide, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children announced.
Timothy A. Washington Jr. is believed to have been abducted Sept. 11 from the Lafayette Courts high-rise project, police said. His picture will be circulated on the advertisements in an effort to generate new leads on his whereabouts.
"As the leads available to law enforcement diminish, we try to start them up again," said Ben Ermini, case management director for the missing children center.
"Sometimes exposure of the child in the national media can help us get a vital clue."
The Arlington, Va.-based center identifies missing children for the mailers through requests from police organizations and parents.
Timothy's picture will be shown on the flip side of the advertisement, along with a description and a toll-free number at which to report tips.
A student at Charles Carroll of Carrollton Elementary School, Timothy was last seen playing near his neighborhood in the 1000 block of Orleans St. There has been no word on his whereabouts in recent months, police said.
Three weeks after the boy's disappearance, Baltimore police arrested Keith Garrett, the former boyfriend of Timothy's mother, Anne Green, and charged him with abducting the boy and trying to extort money from the family for his return. Mr. Garrett is not the boy's father, but police said he and Timothy's mother are the parents of a 4-year-old girl who had become the subject of a custody battle.
Police allege that Mr. Garrett called the mother Oct. 1 and said that he had Timothy and wanted to exchange him for visitation or custody of their daughter.
Mr. Garrett, 22, pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to one count of misdemeanor extortion in February and received a suspended 18-month sentence.
The kidnapping charge was dismissed after prosecutors said they didn't want to go to trial on the case.
At the court hearing in front of Judge Mabel H. Hubbard, Mr. Garrett denied his involvement in the kidnapping, saying, "I didn't do it."
Anyone with information about Timothy is asked to call the center's hot line at (800) 843-5678 or the Baltimore homicide unit at 396-2100.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a nonprofit organization that sends posters of missing children to various organizations for publication.
Timothy's mailer, being sent this week, is printed by ADVO Inc., the nation's largest direct-mail marketing company, based in Windsor, Conn.