Alert youngster reunites mother, missing son

Saturday, February 23, 2002

The missing-children posters at Wal-Mart and on other bulletin boards and billboards have become a sad part of the American landscape. There are so many that sometimes it seems useless to take a look.

Not so for Keisha Riegert, a remarkable 8-year-old from Gordonville, Mo.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children distributes the posters to Wal-Mart stores across the country, and Keisha always takes a look as her mother waits in the check-out line.

On Feb. 2, her determined scanning paid off.

She recognized a 4-year-old boy that looked like a child her mother was baby-sitting. She insisted her mother take a look.

And sure enough, there was Abrim Dickey.

According to authorities, Abrim's father, Ronald Dickey, had taken his son from his ex-wife in Louisiana during a visit two weeks earlier. He'd moved to Missouri, taken a job and started using Gail Riegert's day care service.

Ronald Dickey clearly loved his son, and it wasn't easy for the Riegerts to make the call. But they did, and a joyful Tara Dickey drove from Louisiana to be reunited with her son.

Keisha's class at the Gordonville Attendance Center held a "hero party" in her honor. But it could have just as easily been a "role model" party.

Keisha took on a task: searching the posters for someone she knew. And she followed through once she found someone. As a result, a mother was rightfully reunited with her son after weeks of painful separation.

All of us, young and old, can learn a lesson from Keisha. At a bare minimum, we now know there's reason to stop and study those little faces on the posters instead of letting them become a depressing blur.

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