Fergus Falls is a small town of approximately 13,550 located just off I-94 in West Central Minnesota. It is 180 miles northwest of Minneapolis, 25 miles east of the North Dakota border and 55 miles from Fargo.
In this article from the Daily Journal, Police Chief Tim Brennan discussed the role of the NCMEC. They have not been used historically but he suggests he would not hesitate to utilize their services in the future if the circumstances warranted.
“We’ve had no child abductions in the two years I’ve been here,” Brennan said, “but we’ve had missing children. I’d say we average eight to 12 cases a year where we’ve had to assist locating a child who isn’t where he’s supposed to be.”
Later he explained how cases are approached. It may have been a casual comment but why does there appear to be a magic age children reach that precludes authorities from believing a child is missing or abducted?
When a missing child call comes in to the Fergus Falls Police Department, a search is immediately conducted, Brennan said.The situation and age of the child determines the aggressiveness of the search — a 3-year-old who was playing in the yard and is suddenly gone and can’t be found, despite a thorough search is different than a call on a 13 year-old who may have forgotten to check in at home.
In the November 2006 disappearences of two Red Lake Minnesota children Avery Stately and Tristan White they are believed to be “Endangered Missing”, presumably due to their ages.
Two young brothers missing from Northern Minnesota since November have been found on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.Four-year-old Tristan Anthony White and two-year-old Avery Lee Stately were found encased in ice in a lake about a half-mile from their home on the remote reservation near the Canadian border
There are 837 “Endangered Runaways” listed at the NCMEC. What percentage may have actually been abducted? How would police know it was a simple case of failing to check in at home? Delays might even make it to late to launch an effective search effort. What if there had been no eyewitnesses in the cases of Ben Ownby or Clay Moore? How long do you wait for them to check in?
In Mark Lunsford statements after the opening ceremonies of the John Couey trial he cited these Florida abductions.
A known sex offender admitted to the murder of Sarah Lunde, a 13-year-old girl from Ruskin, in 2005. Eleven-year-old Carlie Brucia of Sarasota was murdered by a man with 13 prior arrests, including kidnapping. Just last week, 13-year-old Clay Thomas was kidnapped from a school bus stop in Parrish. Fortunately, that story had a happy ending – and the rapid response may have been in part due to the efforts of Mark Lunsford. No one takes crimes against children lightly anymore.
An Amber alert has been issued for a 12-year-old Detroit girl. The girl was last seen on her way to a church on Linwood Street on Sunday.She is African-American, weights about 90 pounds, and is four feet 10 inches tall.She was last seen with her hair in a ponytail, wearing a pink blouse, acid-washed blue jeans and a white coat.If you have any information, call Detroit police at 313-596-5700.
State of Washington Amber Alert Criteria
In order for the Interstate AMBER Alert Plan to be activated, law enforcement must be satisfied the following criteria have been met:
All elements 1 through 5 should be satisfied, after considering all the facts and circumstances of the incident, for the incident to qualify as an AMBER Alert.
1. The child is under eighteen (18) years of age and is known to be abducted and is not a runaway or thrownaway from home.
2. The abducted child is believed to be in danger of death or serious bodily injury.
3. The AMBER Alert activation should occur within 4 hours of the event qualifying under the criteria as an AMBER Alert unless circumstances or the timeliness of the information warrant otherwise.
4. There must be enough descriptive information available to believe that an AMBER Alert activation will assist in the recovery of the child. (Must include as much of the following information as possible)
Where the abduction took place;
A specific physical description of the child [can include clothing worn when last seen; height, weight, age, hair and eye color, hair length, any additional distinguishing physical characteristics];
A physical description of the abductor [can include approximate height, weight, hair color/length, eye/skin color, clothing; any distinguishing physical characteristics.]
Place last seen;
Description of the vehicle [can include color, make, model, license number, approximate year (older, newer);]
5. The incident must be reported to and investigated by a law enforcement agency.
Update 03-08-09: Fergus Falls AMBER Alert