The colorful paintings and art projects hanging inside the Nashville Children's Alliance give no hint of the hard subjects discussed inside its walls.
It's Lori Myer's job to treat children and teens who've experienced abuse, neglect and traumatic experience. Much like the rest of the nation she watched as the search for Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins continued on.
"As I was watching it progress, I just really hurt for this little girl. I hurt for this family," Myers said.
She said cases like Thomas's happen more frequently than you think. The children and teens more susceptible to outside influence typically have a lot of adverse childhood experiences like abuse.
"At that point we have teenagers who have the need to be loved. They have the need to have feel safe and so sometimes those are the kids that we see that will then seek that out somewhere else, because what they're really just looking for is for someone to provide safety, love and care for them," Myers said.
Who they reach out to may have a devastating impact on their lives.
"Individuals who have targeted young children have grooming tactics, and grooming tactics are being able to pin point what those children need and sometimes what those children need is someone who can come alongside them and say I'm here for you. Nobody else in your life understands you and cares about you, but I'm here for you," explained Myers.
Treatment for cases like that begin with a safe and supportive environment. "Then, from there, helping teenagers and children understand what are safe and healthy relationships, what are safe and healthy banters in their relationships and that they're the boss of their own bodies and their own minds," Myers said.
About one in ten children before the age of 18 experience some type of abuse. One of biggest clues of abuse tends to be a big change in their behavior.