How this music video could help bring a missing child home

There’s a new music video out that changes every time you watch it, and it hopes to bring missing kids home.

You may remember Soul Asylum’s massive ’90s hit “Runaway Train.” The music video included photos of 36 missing children — 21 of whom were eventually found.

Now, Jamie N Commons, Skylar Grey and Gallant — the last of whom was raised in Columbia, Maryland — have rerecorded the song. The video once again includes the faces of missing kids.

But this time, the photos change depending on where you’re watching. For example, people in D.C. see different photos than people in Maryland.

“It will pull in six missing kids from the user’s location,” said Becky Kovar with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Also, repeated viewings of the video from the same location will bring up a new batch of photos, as long as you clear your browser’s cache.

A scene from the music video “Runaway Train.” (Courtesy National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

About 400,000 kids are reported missing to law enforcement every year, and the group maintains a database of cases.

“Utilizing technology like this, we’re really hoping that every (missing) child has a chance to be featured in this video,” Kovar said.

Thanks to the video, which was released in May, a 16-year-old girl reported missing in Minneapolis is back with her family.

“That child was recovered because somebody saw the video, she was in the video, and encouraged her to return home. She did that, and we hear that she’s doing very well,” Kovar said.

Last week, the video began playing on screens at gas pumps in five states: California, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Texas.

Next up could be an MTV Video Music Award. The video has been nominated in the “Video For Good” category.

The awards will be handed out Aug. 26.

If your child is missing, you’re asked to immediately call your local law enforcement agency and then call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s 24-hour hotline: 1-800-THE-LOST.

You can also call that number if you have a tip about a missing child.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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