The center has made age-progression portraits for children in many high profile cases including Sean Hornbeck, the boy who was found in 2007 after he was abducted five years earlier, and Maddy McCann, the British girl who went missing in Portugal in 2007.
Some of the technology used in creating aged-progression images is the same forensic artists use to create facial reconstructions from skeletal remains.
The younger the child was at the time of the abduction, the more difficult it is to create an age-progression image, making the recovery of Aric Austin one of the most remarkable recoveries aided by digital imaging.
Austin was abducted by his non-custodial father when he was just shy of 2 months old from his mother in Vancouver, Wash. in 1981.
Twenty-one years later, a U.S. Department of Education investigator working on a case involving fraudulent birth certificates recognized Austin's driver's license photo from an age-progression image.
In 2003, when he was 22 years old, Austin was reunited with his mother.
Age-progression technology also was instrumental in the recovery of Sara Eghbal-Brin, a three-year-old girl abducted from her mother at knife point in France in 1999 and found in Canada three years later.
French authorities contacted the NCMEC and said they believed the girl was somewhere in North America. In February 2002, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer pulled over a car and recognized the girl in back seat.
Dissemination of images to the public was critical in the recovery of Joseph Carson, who went missing in Phoenix in 1998 when he was 3 years old.
A customer at a local auto parts store recognized the age-progression image that was being shown on a screen in the shop that featured missing children and contacted authorities.
In 2003, when he was 9, Joseph was reunited with his mother.
"The goal of using this technology is to keep the case alive and provide hope to the families," Allen said. "The world forgets, police run out of leads, the media spotlight fades, but with enough science and persistence we hope to stimulate the public and that they'll call us with information."