Entrepreneur says Lassy Project App can help prevent child abduction cases

SAN DIEGO - Horrific cases of child abductions inspired one entrepreneur to create a smartphone app that he says will help keep kids safe.

Team 10 spoke with the creator of the Lassy Project App to learn how it works and how it could become the next tool to prevent child abductions.

John Guydon, an entrepreneur and father of three, said he was shaken and saddened by recent high-profile, kidnapping cases.

Lakeside teen Hannah Anderson's abduction gained national attention in August when she was taken by James DiMaggio after cheerleading practice and brought to the Idaho wilderness.

In 2010 Poway High School senior Chelsea King went out on a run and disappeared. And just last October, 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway was abducted and murdered in Colorado. Police said she was kidnapped while walking to school and her remains were found five days later.

"It really hit home with me -- it shook me to the core," Guydon said. "It's one of those things where you set out to find a solution."

Guydon said he could not find anything in the market that allowed him to track his children and get notified if they did not make it to their destination.

So he decided to create an app that can do just that. He was recently in Southern California promoting it.

The Lassy Project App lets parents track their kids by mapping out the route to their children's usual hangouts.

For example, it maps out a child's route to school. If the child goes off course, a parent or other relative receives an alert. If the child is reported missing to police, a picture of him or her and description will be sent out to everyone in the area who signed up for the app. Those users are known as "villagers."

"Our goal is to be … to have the largest search and rescue teams in the world," said Guydon.

The app was unveiled in October, exactly one year after Ridgeway's abduction. Her mother told 10News that she was touched by Guydon's effort.

"It was inspiring that for somebody [Jessica's] never met, inspired him to do great things and make sure kids don't go missing or parents don't have to go through what we did," she said.

Guydon said the more people use the app, the more we will be on the lookout for missing kids.

"The bigger the village gets, the bigger this thing becomes and the safer kids are," he said.

The app is currently free, but there will be a fee starting January 2014.

Also, for the app to work, children must carry a smartphone for tracking. Guydon is working to change that so parents can attach a GPS tracker onto a child's backpack.

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