Direct mail aids search for Everett boy

By CATHY LOGG

Herald Writer

EVERETT – It seems like every time you open your mailbox, there they are, slipped in among the letters and bills: advertising cards pitching new gutters, carpet cleaning or windshield repairs.

Those slim cards could be the clue needed to bring two missing Everett children home.

On the flip side of the advertisements, black-and-white photos of a child and an adult stare at the recipient beneath the bold-print question, "Have you seen us?"

Saumon Goshtasebi was 7 years old and his sister, Pareesa, only 4 when they disappeared from Everett on March 10, 1997. Authorities suspect that the children’s mother, Kathleen Goshtasebi, who did not have custody, kidnapped the youngsters. Pictures of Saumon and his mother will begin appearing on the advertising cards this week.

Saumon is the first Everett child and only the second Washington state child to appear on the cards in the past several years.

"I can always hope," said Mo Goshtasebi, the children’s father. "And, I have reason to hope because I’m sure this can be effective since so many people have seen the cards. I’ve heard great things about Advo’s program."

In 1985, Advo Inc. began putting missing children on one side of its direct-mail marketing cards, which reach nearly 79 million homes across the United States. It began after the television movie "Adam" was broadcast nationally. The movie told the story of the abduction of John and Reve Walsh’s son, Adam, in Florida. Adam’s kidnapping and murder prompted John Walsh to co-found the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help find missing youngsters.

Vincent Giuliano, Advo’s senior vice president of government services, suggested the company use its advertising vehicle to help. The company works with the missing children’s center as well as the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Justice.

"Somewhere, someone knows where Saumon is," Giuliano said. "We are urging the American public to look for his picture in their mailboxes and to call the national center’s hotline with any information on his whereabouts."

Children appear on the cards in a six-week cycle. The cards may appear first in an area where authorities suspect the child might be, then progress across different regions over the next five weeks, said Robert Croce, Advo’s director of government relations. Saumon’s picture begins appearing this week in the northern United States and also on Advo’s Web site, www.advo.com. Soon, it will reach nearly 2 million homes in Washington state, Croce said.

Advo’s direct-mail cards have resulted in the return of 99 children – roughly one out of seven featured on the cards. The national center helps Advo decide which children to feature on the cards.

When a child vanishes, there is an immediate window for investigators to begin searching, based on the details of each case, Croce said.

"But then, perhaps over time, there may be movement to another part of the country. There may be travel, job relocations," he said. "It really is a strategic decision. Every case is important, and we wish we could feature all of the missing cases."

He declined to discuss specifics of the Goshtasebis’ case or why now seemed a good time to feature the boy. The father couldn’t be reached for comment.

The national center has its own programs for finding missing children. It has worked on more than 73,000 cases and has helped to recover more than 48,000 youngsters since 1984.

"We have never lost hope for the recovery of any child, regardless of how long they have been missing," Croce said. "The power of that picture in someone’s mailbox and subsequently in someone’s hands has been the hallmark of the success of this program."

You can call Herald Writer Cathy Logg at 425-339-3437 or send e-mail to

logg@heraldnet.com.

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