Annual safety fair remembers Casey Williamson, educates children and parents


VALLEY PARK, MO - The family of a 6-year-old murdered in 2002 remembered her Saturday morning with a children's safety fair in Valley Park, Mo.

"She loved the critters. She used to try to bring frogs in the house."

Budding outdoorswoman Casey Williamson was only six-years old when a family acquaintance killed her sixteen years ago this week.

"There are no words to describe it," said event organizer and Williamson's great aunt, Della Steele, who spoke for the family as the girl's mother was still too emotional to give an interview. "I could say devastating, but it doesn't even come close."

But Saturday morning, another word brought these kids to the Valley Park Safety Fair: empowerment.

"Whether it's in a swimming pool, whether it's by the railroad tracks, or whether it's an encounter with a new person," said Steele, “they’re going to have more knowledge than they had yesterday."

Steele said the family; the community, and the police did everything they could to find her niece alive. But there is one thing she wishes the family had in 2002, the free MoChip child ID program. Grownups sat behind a row of laptops. Little ones sat in front, with their parents giving information like their child’s age, weight, and height.

"They take a digital fingerprint, so there's no ink," said MoChip Team II Coordinator Rodney Kleine. "They're printing out two ID cards. They also have a CD that they burn which has all that information that was just keyed in, so you have it at your fingertips."

MoChip also gave parents their children's pictures, DNA samples, and dental impressions so police can send missing child alerts quickly. Valley Park firefighters helped kids plan their escape from a house fire. And, children got to see officers with the St. Louis County Bomb and Arson Squad show off their really cool robot.

The word of the day was empowerment -- for the kids, but for Williamson’s family too.

"This is my therapy," Steele said. "This has been my therapy for all these years."

To learn more about the free MoChip children's ID kits, visit MoChip.org.

To learn more about upcoming child safety events, visit RememberingCasey.org