Butler County Times Gazette
  • DNA kits offer identification for kids

  • One mom knows the pain of seeing her child hurt and the constant struggle to ensure the continued safety of that child.
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  • One mom knows the pain of seeing her child hurt and the constant struggle to ensure the continued safety of that child.
    The mother, who will remain anonymous to protect her and her daughter’s identity, said her daughter’s biological father seriously injured her daughter when she was only 10 months old.
    “A very scary individual” she described him as.
    Now for 10 years they have gone through a sealed identity, changed their social security numbers and moved.
    Finally, the mother decided it was time to stop running and come back home, standing up for herself and her daughter.
    She wanted to do something to help not only her daughter, but others.
    She talked to someone with the Kansas Attorney General’s office, stating her case that they need a protection order that lasts longer than a year.
    From her efforts, a House bill was passed in 2012, which received a unanimous vote by the House and the Senate to provide for, if need be, life-time protection order.
    “My little girl and I were the first ones in Kansas to get a life-time stalking order,” she said.
    But that wasn’t enough.
    She went to the KBI and asked what else she could do to protect her child. She talked with a DNA specialist who told her to get DNA on herself and her child and keep it available.
    So she did just that.
    She created what she calls Mom on a Mission with these DNA kits, which she offers for 10 cents each, while other DNA kits can cost as much as $10 to $100.
    The kits include a swab to take a sample inside of the mouth and an envelop in which to store it.
    “Nobody wants to think anything bad will happen to their family members,” she said. “My hope is to save someone. Worse case scenario it will help identify, but we don’t want to go that route. I want to believe it will help save someone who is abducted.”
    Since she has created these kits, she has been in contact with area police departments and sheriff’s offices, including the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
    “They have been absolutely wonderful,” she said of the sheriff’s office. “I can’t brag enough about them.”
    Sgt. Phil Wickwire has been working with this mom to help get the kits out to parents.
    In addition to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office purchasing 1,000 kits, she also donated 1,000 to them.
    Page 2 of 3 - “We opted to go with this as our old ident-a-kid we had is getting a little outdated,” Wickwire said.
    “DNA never changes. Fingerprints can expand as you get older and get changed with cuts and scratches. There’s a constant need to update fingerprints with kids as they grow. DNA is the same from the date of birth to the date of death.”
    He also still encouraged people to keep up-to-date photos of their children on hand in case it is needed for an Amber Alert.
    To help get the kits out to the public, Wickwire has been passing them out at any festival or event at which he has the drug trailer.
    Last Saturday he was in Potwin and gave away a little more than 350 kits.
    “There was a great reception by parents,” he said. “They thought it was a great idea. It is easy to do and it lasts a lifetime.”
    All a person has to do is swab the inside of a child’s mouth first thing in the morning before they brush their teeth or rinse their mouth. Wickwire said for people to get two good swabs and allow them to air dry during the day, then in the evening place them in the envelop with the child’s name and seal it. Once the seal is dry it can be placed in the freezer, where it will be good for a lifetime, or in a drawer where it will last for about 15 years.
    Wickwire also will be handing out kits at some upcoming events.
    The first will be the Wesley Hospital Baby Fair and Symposium this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Wesley Cessna Conference Room.
    “We will be passing out the kits there and talking to parents about child safety,” Wickwire said. “It’s just another opportunity for us at the Sheriff’s Office to reach out to the community and serve. Our creed is to protect and serve.”
    Then he will be at the car show in El Dorado Sept. 21 and at the Walnut River Festival on Sept. 28.
    “Butler County is a very passionate, caring community when it comes to caring for their families and children,” the mother said. “I’m really grateful.”
    She has donated more than 21,000 kits since January of this year.
    They also are being given out by the Andover, Topeka, Goddard, Maize and Derby police departments, as well as Jackson and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s offices. She also is working with hospitals to get the kits sent home with new parents.
    Page 3 of 3 - She is hoping by next year to go out of state with them.
    “It gives us a little more peace,” she said of being home with her daughter. “It’s still a very volatile situation. I guess my DNA kit offers some kind of hope even if this doesn’t help my child, I know somehow it will help someone.”
    She has done a DNA kit for everyone in her family.
    “It gives me some sense of comfort,” she said. “At least I’m hopeful if anything would happen to my child or myself I am hopeful we would be located as quickly as possible.”
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