A 6-year-old boy, Adji Desir, is missing in Immokalee, Fl. An AMBER Alert was not issued because authorities believe he is missing and not abducted.
IMMOKALEE — It is every parent’s worst nightmare.
As the search for 6-year-old Adji Desir entered its 24th hour Sunday, more information about the boy emerged, though officials continue to regard the boy to be missing and not abducted. For that reason, said Collier County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Batten, an Amber Alert has not been issued for the boy.
“We did not put out an Amber Alert because it’s not a confirmed abduction,” said Batten. “He’s missing. He walked out of his house. Nobody saw anyone take him. Nobody saw him get into a car, that we know of.”
Adji, who was described as 3 feet tall, 45 pounds, with short black hair and dark eyes, is developmentally disabled, according to his family. He understands Creole, his family’s dialect, but is nonverbal and has the intellect of a toddler.
His disappearance does not meet the criteria for activating a Florida AMBER Alert even though he is developmentally disabled. Why has the State of Florida legislature spent so much time and effort to implement the Silver Alert to aid local law enforcement in the rescue or recovery of a missing elderly person with dementia but doesn’t include criteria for developmentally disabled children in an AMBER Alert?
Ernie Allen, the president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children had this to say to Naplesnews.com
“I think that for very young children and for persons who are at particular risk because of developmental disabilities, there’s no replacement for supervision,” said Allen. “You have to know where they are at all times. … Parents have a lot going on, there are lots of challenges in their lives, and if they can’t be around because of economic necessity, then they need to make sure there is someone who is.”
Could not the same be said for spouses or caregivers of elderly persons? The Silver Alert is much less restrictive and applies to missing (not abducted) persons meeting the criteria.
FDLE, Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse Silver Alert.
What are the criteria?
1. The missing person must be 60 years or older and there must be a clear indication that the individual has an irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties (i.e., dementia). This must be verified by law enforcement or; under extraordinary circumstances when a person age 18 to 59 has irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties and law enforcement has determined the missing person lacks the capacity to consent, and that the use of dynamic message signs may be the only possible way to rescue the missing person;
2. The law enforcement agency’s investigation must conclude that the disappearance poses a credible threat to the person’s welfare and safety;
3. If a vehicle is involved and the statewide messaging system is requested, there must be a description of the vehicle, and a tag number to display on the Florida Department of Transportation dynamic message signs; and
Local law enforcement must verify vehicle and tag information;
The law enforcement agency must have entered the missing person into the Florida Crime Information Center and issued a statewide BOLO to other law enforcement/911 centers;
4. Local law enforcement has already activated a local or regional Alert by contacting media outlets in theirs and/or surrounding jurisdictions.
In this WFTV article, Highway Silver Alerts May Make Amber Alerts Less Effective, Florida Highway Patrol sergeant Kim Miller is quoted as saying,
“Since October 16th there have been 20 Silver Alerts issued, compared to 11 Amber Alerts for all of 2008. If Silver Alerts continue at this pace, Florida is on track to see roughly 150 by next October”.
Tomorrow on January 13 th communities across the country will observe National AMBER Alert Awareness Day – a day to recognize the collaborative efforts and successes of the AMBER Alert program to assist in the recovery of abducted children. Unfortunately for missing children National Missing Children’s Day isn’t until May 25 th.
Anyone with information regarding this matter should contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 1-239-793-9300, the Tampa FBI office at 1-866-838-1153 (toll free) or the Miami FBI office at 305-944-9101
Update 02-22-09: America’s Most Wanted to profile missing Immokalee boy
IMMOKALEE — The case of Adji Desir, the Immokalee boy who vanished from his grandmother’s Farm Worker Village home on Jan. 10, is slated to get some much-needed national attention.
On Friday, a crew from America’s Most Wanted made the rounds in Immokalee, talking with the family of the developmentally disabled six-year-old and Collier County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tom Smith of the Special Crimes Bureau for a segment scheduled to air on Feb. 28.