Missing children campaign begins in San Antonio as thousands of kids remain missing in Texas

Clear Channel billboards will display two of the children missing throughout the next month.

SAN ANTONIO — Thousands of Texas children are missing. 

Of the over 47,000 people reported missing last year to the Texas Department of Public Safety, most of them are under the age of 18, including at least two from San Antonio.

A month long campaign began on Thursday across the San Antonio area to help generate leads in missing cases, but specifically for two missing children: Matthew Montanez and Ava Baldwin. 

“A year-and-a-half. He’s changed a lot. I’m sure either he’s lost weight or he’s gained weight or he’s done something different with his hair,” said Monica Selvera whose 16-year son Matthew has been missing since January of last year. She says her life is nowhere close to what it was before. Selvera told us, “I’m out and about and I see somebody that looks like him. We have a lot of homeless people around. Teenagers. I literally just stop what I’m doing just to try to get focus and be like, ‘Is that Matthew?'” 

On top of having mental health problems which were already a worry for his mother, he was also pre-diabetic at the time he went missing. Selvera added, “We had his appointments, you know, dental, physical appointments, things going on. And I can’t imagine what he’s feeling, what his body feels like now.”

Luis Delatorre, the Local President of Clear Channel Outdoor said, “I think the reality is we’ve been a part of two or three here, local families getting reunited. So no matter how challenging it is, it’s important, I think, to keep pushing through it because there’s results.”  

The Texas Department of Public Safety Missing Persons Clearinghouse received over 47,000 missing persons reports in 2022, with about ¾ of them being children. This month long service campaign with Clear Channel Outdoor, the Texas Center For the Missing, as well as the San Antonio Police Department will take place for one month, not just in San Antonio, but Houston and Dallas as well.”

William McManus, The San Antonio Department Police Chief told us, “The San Antonio Police Department has approximately 1,400 entered missing persons cases and has cleared approximately 1,300 of them. 1,300 out of 1,400 is not a bad record. Still, that leaves a lot more out there that are missing.”  

Selvera added, “Matthew, if you’re watching, you know, we love you. Your sister misses you like crazy. You’re about to become an uncle again on your birthday. I love you, son.”

Ava Baldwin has been missing since September of 2015 when she was 5- years-old. She might be with her mother Kathryn Baldwin in Chicago.

Ava and Matthew’s photos are being broadcast on digital billboards for the next month. 

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