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October 16, 2009 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Age progression compositing (or forensic composting) is the process of taking a photo of a child and creating a composite image of what they might look like years later. It has been used to great success in the recovery of kidnap victims, and most recently in the case of Jaycee Dugard.
posted by blue_beetle (19 comments total)

 
That first link is the saddest statistically insignificant thing ever. I know that it's very, very uncommon, I know I shouldn't overprotect my kids, but those disappearance stories. God.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:36 AM on October 16, 2009


Agreed stupidsexyFlanders (love the nick). It's sad that these people not only lose a child but this is their only glimpse of seeing them grown up. I can't even imagine. My husband thinks I'm overprotective about not wanting our son to play out in the front of the house (instead of the back yard) but it takes about 10 seconds for someone to take him.
posted by stormpooper at 6:48 AM on October 16, 2009


Front yard, back yard - neither is completely 100% safe. You need to keep that child inside behind locked doors at all times.
posted by squalor at 7:06 AM on October 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't think the age progression photo actually had anything to do with the recovery in the case of Dugard.
Though Dugard and the two children she had with her alleged kidnapper, Philip Garrido, ultimately were rescued thanks more to the quick thinking of a police officer who met the suspect in August than to the image, similar age-progression photos have been instrumental in the recovery of more than 900 missing children.
From Wikipedia:
The parole officer telephoned Garrido and asked him to come in for a parole meeting. Later that day, Garrido arrived at the meeting with his wife, the two girls, and Dugard, still referring to her as "Allissa." After being separated from Garrido for a further interview, the three were discovered to be Dugard and the two children that she had borne. Garrido and his wife were then arrested by local police. An FBI agent put Dugard on the telephone with her mother, Terry Probyn. Dugard retained custody of her children and was soon reunited with her mother.
posted by delmoi at 7:11 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


At first glance, I thought this was about the stages of post-mortem bodily decomposition in children. Thank goodness it's only about those who were kidnapped.
posted by BoatMeme at 7:22 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The stories of people/officers that recognised a child from an age progression photo amaze me, there are so many of those photos around and really, the physical differences between people is not that great. How the heck do they memorise all the photos (while erasing the memory of older photos that are now outdated)?
posted by saucysault at 7:28 AM on October 16, 2009


Stormpooper - Rather than some random person coming by and napping your kid, I think the odds are much higher that you and your husband will divorce and that he will come back and kidnap your kid.

It's what the statistics show, and the apparent poor risk analysis done by parents. A column in the St. Louis Times Dispatch reports that only one in 2,200 childhood abductions or disappearances can be attributed to person's unknown to the child or family. Oh, and 80% of homicides are by people known to the victim.

Odds are better, it seems, that your kid should run to a stranger than to a neighbor or family member if s/he is in trouble.
posted by Man with Lantern at 7:55 AM on October 16, 2009


I admit I have never looked into this too closely, but I wonder what sort of controls there are to see how well this works. If someone were to use this technology on a photo of me at age three, would it look anything like the adult me? The closest I can think of was an old Spy article that compared young actors in age makeup with the actual appearance of the actor later in life. The results were often at odds. Even with computer enhancement now possible, the results are still sometimes discordant.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:58 AM on October 16, 2009


I was pleasantly surprised by one aspect of the second link -- that site not only sells age-progressed photos, they sell age REGRESSED photos. For situations like, "hey, we adopted our daughter from overseas when she was already two, we don't have any baby pictures," or "hey, I had a patchy upbringing in a broken home/a series of foster care homes/other bad luck, and I don't have any baby pictures of myself". They'll even take a stab at "give us a picture of you and we'll take a stab at producting pictures of what your parents may have looked like."

That seemed kind of neat.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:59 AM on October 16, 2009


Yipes. Is it too late to call the wedding off?
posted by monospace at 8:57 AM on October 16, 2009


Front yard, back yard - neither is completely 100% safe. You need to keep that child inside behind locked doors at all times.
posted by squalor at 7:06 AM on October 16 [3 favorites +] [!]


eponysterical
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:08 AM on October 16, 2009


My husband thinks I'm overprotective about not wanting our son to play out in the front of the house (instead of the back yard)

I can't find more recent statistics, but in 1999, only 115 children [in the US] were abducted by strangers with the intent to keep, kill or hold them for ransom. This translates to odds of 1 in 347,000 per year; 74% of stranger abductions are of girls, making your son's odds literally better than one in a million.

For comparison, the number of people injured or killed by lighting in the US per year is estimated at 600, for odds of 1 in 400,000 per year.

Not to minimize how awful any kind of abduction would be, of course, even the majority which are "only" temporary for the purpose of sexual assault. The statistics available for this issue tend to be confusingly stated and often in apparent conflict with each other, but in general it seems that teenage girls are somewhat less safe than I had expected, while everyone else is much, much safer.
posted by ook at 9:11 AM on October 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Phooey; I had intended to use this link which has the same numbers but includes much more detail about how they break down.
posted by ook at 9:13 AM on October 16, 2009


I don't think the age progression photo actually had anything to do with the recovery in the case of Dugard.

Correct. The post doesn't actually say it did, but did imply it too strongly. I think the point is just how accurate that particular example turned out to be, even if it wasn't part of her actual identification.

The closest I can think of was an old Spy article that compared young actors in age makeup with the actual appearance of the actor later in life. The results were often at odds.

I keep thinking back to the TNG episode "Hide and Q" where Wesley was turned into a jock who looks nothing like the grown-up Wil Wheaton (although it could be said that this was what Wesley wished to grow up as).

And hey, that led me to Visible Time, a fan index of age transformation scenes in TV, film, anime, and manga.
posted by dhartung at 9:47 AM on October 16, 2009


Metafilter: forensic composting.
posted by schleppo at 11:01 AM on October 16, 2009


"Mommy, What Will I Look Like?"
posted by themadjuggler at 2:15 PM on October 16, 2009


Comparing the age-progressed image with a current photo of Jaycee Dugard, I think the two images are those of first cousins or maybe sisters, but not those of the same person.
posted by millardsarpy at 2:42 PM on October 16, 2009


They're cousins! Identical cousins!
posted by dhartung at 7:18 PM on October 16, 2009


If the Med-Tek in this universe was as awesome as the one in the Fallout 3 universe we could probably just use a Gene Projector.
posted by closetphilosopher at 1:43 AM on October 17, 2009


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