The FBI has shared cryptic pictures from inside people’s homes in a desperate plea for tips which it says could help to save child victims of crime.
While not going into detail about the alleged offences involved, the agency says its hopes to find where children ‘are being held’ by sharing the ordinary-looking domestic snaps.
One photo shows a wall decorated with certificates, including a “most improved award” and another from a school, as well as a poster and a clock which both feature cats.
Another one shows a living room with cabinets, a framed picture of a car with its doors opening upwards, similar to the DeLorean from the Back to the Future films, and a door slightly ajar.
Additional photos show a turquoise t-shirt with a cartoon witch on it, a red baseball hat with a ‘C’ on it, and a wall calendar that features images of cars.
The FBI shared more than a dozen pictures taken inside homes or other locations, as they appealed for information from the public.
The agency said: “Law enforcement officials are seeking information about certain images which may help lead to the identification and rescue of child victims.
“The FBI utilises image analysis to identify clues to where a child may be held.
“By recognising these clues and/or sharing additional observations from the backgrounds of these images, you may help first to identify and rescue the child victim(s) and second to capture the perpetrator.
“There is no clue or piece of information too small.”
Anyone who notices something familiar in any of the photos is asked to submit a tip to the FBI via its website.
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The appeal included eleven pages of images in its appeal for the public’s help in recognising decor, clothing and street settings.
In the first, it features a calendar with pictures of cars on it. The second features a red baseball hat with a ‘c’ logo on it.
The third shows a room with a matching green print chair and ottoman and a wooden dresser with a plant on it.
The fourth shows a poolside setting and a street with a table on it outside.
One picture is a close-up of a turquoise t-shirt featuring a cartoon witch.
Another is a photo of a messy room with a 2012 timestamp on the image.
Papers can be seen strewn across the ground in the photo showing a green chair, and the FBI also released an image of a black and blue rubber wrist-band.
The seventh image features a living room containing a white cabinet and chest of drawers.
The eighth shows a stained glass window featuring a dolphin on one of the panes.
Another set of images shows what appears to be a pile of stuffed animals and purses in what looks like a kid’s bedroom, and also features a patterned headboard.
The tenth set of pictures features a person with identifying features cropped out wearing an owl-print hooded sweater along with a multicoloured futon mattress.
The final image features an array of certificates on a bedroom wall.
The note with the image says the administration at Annie Wright Schools and Shepard Magnet Schools did not recognise the certificates, adding the image may be from as far back as 2001.
Tips from the public are key to the FBI’s work and ability to solve crimes and help victims, the agency said as it released the images.
Special Agent Eric Reese, watch commander of the Public Access Center Unit, says in a video: “I think one of the most important things to know about the FBI’s tip line, at www.fbi.gov, is every single piece of information that’s submitted by an individual is reviewed by FBI personnel at FBI Headquarters.
“So there’s nothing that goes unaddressed.
“We basically listen to everything that people want to submit and we give it its due diligence.”