The U.S. Department of Justice is hosting the National Amber Alert Training Symposium in Tampa, Florida. Some of the discussions are concerning the success of the AMBER Alert system. But, is the AMBER Alert criteria too strict thus not used often enough?
Earlier this year in Florida, A 6-year-old boy, Adji Desir, went 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.
Last week, in Orange Park, Florida an AMBER Alert was issued for Somer Thompson whose body was later found in a Georgia landfill. The alert was activated the day after she was reported missing. Ironically, like Adji, Nobody saw anyone take her. Nobody saw her get into a car, that we know of. She was last seen running ahead of her siblings on her way home from school.
Amber Alert’s record shows it can make a crucial difference
In Texas, leaders there credit a network of regional communications for its 100 percent success rate. Since 2002, 42 Amber Alerts have been issued; they have all resulted in happy endings, said Al Lowe, a regional Amber Alert coordinator in Texas.
Similarly, in New York since 2000, children in all 25 Amber Alert cases were reunited with their families.
Florida, meanwhile, has issued 147 Amber Alerts since 2000. Investigators successfully resolved 142 of those cases. Hodges took a closer look at the cases and discovered that in 45 of them, people indicated that the system played a direct role in the child’s recovery.
Last week an AMBER Alert was activated and cancelled for Mitchell Romero in Denver City, Texas. There has been no happy ending for him yet.
The Texas Department of Public Safety issued an Amber Alert for 3-year-old Mitchell Romero on Friday. The search was discontinued about 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Officials have not yet located the child.
Though most people would agree the AMBER Alert can be an instrumental tool in finding missing children, there still is much debate as to whether the criteria to activate them is too strict. There are 342 missing children listed at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for Florida,202 for Texas and 112 for New York. Most of them did not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert to be activated.
According to a Washington State, 2006 Child Abduction Murder Study, time is of the essence when a child goes missing.
In 76 percent of the missing children homicide cases studied, the child was dead within three hours of the abduction–and in 88.5 percent of the cases the child was dead within 24 hours.
It would be interesting to know the average time it takes for law enforcement to activate an AMBER Alert.
Related Post: AMBER Alert time between missing and recovery
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