1994 'Runaway Train' Music Video That Helped Find Missing Kids Gets High-Tech Update

Soul Asylum’s original hit has been remade by The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with new tech that highlights missing kids in your area.

May 30, 2019
screenshot from Runaway Train video [NCMEC]

Photo by: screenshot from Runaway Train video [NCMEC]

screenshot from Runaway Train video [NCMEC]

By: Mike McPadden

In 1994, a music video for the moving ballad “Runaway Train” by Minneapolis alt-rockers Soul Asylum not only scored a huge hit and a Grammy award for the band, it showcased the images of 36 missing children which led to 21 of those kids being found.

Now, to commemorate the song’s 25th anniversary, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has released a new version of “Runaway Train,” along with an accompanying video that uses geolocation technology that, depending on where you watch the clip, will adjust to show kids who are missing in your specific area.

The new version of the song features artists Jamie N. Collins, Skylar Grey, and Gallant.

Becky Kovar, a NCMEC spokesperson, acknowledged the life-changing impact of the intial “Runaway Train” project by saying, “Because of that video, we know that kids came home as a direct result of that that video playing on MTV.”

Soul Asylum’s original video interspersed photographs and information regarding actual missing kids with vignettes of the ways children disappear (e.g., a baby snatched while a mother is distracted, a predator picking up an underage sex worker).

The new clip also features real missing kids, but the dramatic scenes powerfully dramatize the cruel reality of life on the street for runaway teens and other exploited youths.

In addition, the “Runaway Train 25” video incorporates geotagging technology that automatically adjusts to highlight children who are missing near you — wherever you watch it.

Gallant, who performs on the new track, told People magazine he’s looking forward to the video reaping positive results. He said, “It’s one thing to spread awareness about the overall message, but I think if we can actually, on an exponential scale, bring some of these kids that are missing back to safety and solve some mysteries, that would be the number one priority.”

NCMEC issued the following statement in regard to how the public can help: “Visit RunawayTrain25.com to watch the music video. Using technology, each viewer will see posters of missing children throughout the video who are missing from their unique viewing area. Help us harness the power of social media by sharing this with your friends and followers, using the hashtag #MissingKids. It only takes one person to find a missing child! You could hold the keys to recovering a child in need.”

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