In Colorado, a 17-year-old boy is charged with the kidnapping and brutal murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.
In New Jersey, two teen brothers are charged with luring 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale to their home where they allegedly killed her for her BMX bicycle.
And here in Ogden, prosecutors plan to try an Idaho inmate in the abduction and murder of 11-year-old Rebecca Lemberger 29 years ago when the suspect was 15.
These recent high-profile cases illustrate how serious the matter of teens kidnapping and killing young girls has become. That's why the so-called prank involving three Syracuse High students who offered candy to three 10-year-old girls to get them into their vehicle is no laughing matter.
The girls were near the playground at Lakeside Elementary School in West Point around 12:30 p.m. Dec. 7, when three boys pulled up in a truck next to the fence and offered them candy to get in the vehicle.
The frightened girls ran back inside the school and notified officials, who contacted the sheriff's office.
Deputies quickly located the suspects based on descriptions, provided by the girls, of the truck and the boys. They interviewed the 16-year-old boys and determined they never intended to kidnap the girls.
Karie Solomon, the mother of one of the girls, wants the Davis County Attorney's Office to file criminal charges against the three boys. However, the sheriff's office recommended no charges be filed because the incident was a prank. On Tuesday, County Attorney Troy Rawlings said his office has no plans to file charges at this time.
A prank or joke involving the abduction of children has reached a different level in society. It should be treated the same way joking about bringing a bomb onto an airplane or shouting "fire" in a crowded theater is.
If guilty, the boys need to be punished.
They should be charged in juvenile court with a crime serious enough to require some sort of community service as restitution. The boys should not be incarcerated, but they need to be aware of how serious a matter this is and be held accountable for their actions.
That way they may develop empathy for those who knew and loved Jessica Ridgeway, Autumn Pasquale and Rebecca Lemberger.