...but this time he's a blue-eyed blond boy. Of course I hope he's found safe and well in the next five minutes. And it's a vital part of the media's role - perhaps the one clean thing they do - to promote awareness of missing children so the public can do their bit to help.
What happens around that role, however, isn't quite so clean and positive. Already, there will be questions being asked.
Why was this child allowed to walk home from somewhere? (Forget the fact that you, me and every single child in the history of the world - working-class, middle-class, everyone - has been allowed to walk home from somewhere on their own at some point in their lives, and I can very clearly remember doing it at six or seven in my own street. That little nugget won't matter when it's time to pass judgment on the parents and decide if THEY WERE TO BLAME. Because when a child goes missing, the media commentators and numbskulls on messageboards alike leap onto the parents and pretends that their offspring have never been unsupervised for a nanosecond ever, what on earth were they doing? So, so easy to pass these kind of judgments when something like this happens.)
Can we blame the parents? (Apart from the supervision, are there things about the lifestyle that we can attack? Perhaps the mother has had more than one child by different fathers - maybe we can say 'that's just not right' and slate her for living her life. Are the parents slightly unorthodox? Let's paint them as weirdos if they are, and say it's no surprise that what has happened has happened, and it's all their fault. If the family are on benefits, we can bash them for being spongers. If the parents happent to be divorced, we can slag them off for being divorced and blame the 'decline of the traditional family' for all of society's ills.)
Are the parents a bit tasty? (If the mum's a bit of a Kate McCann-style milf, then great. Loads of pictures in the paper, before we slag her off for her parenting skills or what we perceive to be the lack of them.)
Is there a stepfather on the scene? (If there is, somehow imply that he's involved, or responsible for the disappearance. Say that 'friends' have always been 'worried' about the children. The same 'friends' who've done bugger all up till now.)
Are the parents middle-class? (If so, then we can drone on and on for weeks about how 'it could have been me' and 'I held my babies close to me tonight' in witless, inane and simpering columns that add absolutely nothing to anyone's understanding or insight in any way whatsoever. If not, then of course let's stick the boot in for them being poor. Even if they are middle-class, we can still stick the boot in; it just comes at a slightly later stage - after the weeks of soul-searching and hand-wringing.)
Can we pretend that this kind of thing never happened in the 'good old days' and that somehow liberal values are to blame? (Forget Brady and Hindley; that sort of thing NEVER HAPPENED when you could leave your back door open and send the kids for 10-mile treks without a single thought. Let's just pretend that there's something about liberal values which have in some way meant that this happened.)
Is there a slightly unorthodox man who lives nearby, perhaps with his mother? (If so, great. Let's shop him to the cops because he's a bit funny and we're hoping to get our sticky little claws on some reward money. We can label him an 'oddball' and get his ex-wife to say "He was always a bit strange, I bet he did it" without any fear of being sued whatsoever.)
Like everyone, I'm hoping this boy is found quickly and it all comes to a happy resolution. But already the tabloids are gearing up, preparing. Will it be a Maddie or a Shannon approach? I really, really hope it's neither.
*edit* And he's been found safe and well, which is great news. I can sense from here the disappointment of those hacks who'd been primed to slag off his family. So that's even better.