Saturday, August 11, 2007

Statistics on Child Murders -- Refuting Candace Delong

Recently on a Larry King Live show (Wednesday, August 8), Candace Delong was one of the guests discussing the Madeleine McCann abduction which happened in Portugal while her famiy was on vacation. Delong said:

KING: Candice Delong, is it logical for people to hint blame at the parents?
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, it's certainly not unusual, statistically, Larry. When children of tender years, such as Madeleine is, disappear or are murdered, around 75 percent of the time the person responsible for that is the parents. Now we don't know that she was murdered, but in answer to your question, no, it's not unusual.

We checked, and found these statistics:

Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005 --
31% were killed by fathers
29% were killed by mothers
23% were killed by male acquaintances
7% were killed by other relatives
3% were killed by strangers
Of those children killed by someone other than their parent, 81% were killed by males.
NOTE: Parents includes step parents Source

31 + 29 = 60%. Not 75%.

Why doesn't Delong accurately report the statistics? They are bad enough as it is, why exaggerate them? What purpose does it serve? Does she just pull a number out of her hat and assume that everyone will believe her? Perhaps so, because no one ever questions her statistics when she appears on these shows. She is definitely accepted as an authority.

Larry King should do more to keep his guests honest and accurate.

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