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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.

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – The Amber Alert for a missing Denver City toddler has been canceled.

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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Somer Thompson will be laid to rest on Tuesday. Her body was discovered at the Chesser Island Landfill in Folkston, Ga last week after she vanished while walking home from school. Her killer has not been caught.

Memorial for Somer, reward money grow

Reward
First Coast Crime Stoppers and the Justice Coalition announced a combined reward of $32,500 for tips leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Call the Sheriff’s Office at (877) 227-6911 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 (845-TIPS) to remain anonymous or e-mail CART@claysheriff.com.

How to contribute
Anyone interested in assisting the family with expenses related to Somer’s death can do so at any area VyStar Credit Union. A bank account has been set up in the name of Somer Thompson with the account number 0702794000. Residents and businesses wishing to donate to the reward should contact the Justice Coalition at (904) 783-6312 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 (845-TIPS). The Justice Coalition also has set up an account, number 3123504437, for people to donate to the reward at two Ameris Bank locations in Jacksonville – 888 Lane Ave. and 4835 Town Center Parkway.

Rally
A rally and fundraiser in support of the family will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Orange Park Town Hall, 2042 Park Ave. There will be an auction, bounce house, bake sale and more.

Funeral
Visitation (open): 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at First Baptist Church of Orange Park, 1140 Kingsley Ave. Memorial service (open): 11 a.m. Tuesday at same location.Graveside service and burial (private): Tuesday, immediately following memorial service, Jacksonville Memory Gardens, 111 Blanding Blvd., Orange Park (procession from Kingsley Avenue to Blanding Boulevard to cemetery property). Reception (private): Tuesday, immediately following burial, First Baptist Church of Orange Park.

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An AMBER Alert has been activated in Denver City, Tx  for 3 years old Mitchell Romer. He is alleged to have been abducted by Mario Romero  , 205lbs., black hair, and brown eyes.

Mario Romero

The suspect, 33-year-old Mario Romero, who is wanted in connection with a murder, was last seen driving a maroon 2004 GMC Yukon with Texas License plate 43WFX6. Mario Romero is accused of killing 29-year-old Veronica Esquivel Romero inside a home on East 10th Street on Friday.

The suspect was last heard from in Denver City, TX. Law enforcement officials believe this child to be in grave or immediate danger.

If you have any information regarding this abduction, call the Denver City Police Department at 806-592-3516.

Update 10-20-09: The AMBER Alert has been canceled. Mitchell remains missing.

Update 11-06-09: Denver City Police Dept. News Release
November 6, 2009

Denver City, Texas – Mitchell Romero, 3 years of age, was killed Wednesday, November 4, 2009 when the vehicle he was in overturned. The accident occurred south of Ojinaga, mesico. The vehicle was driven by family members. No other information is available on the accident or occupants.

Mario Romero, father, is still being sought on murder charges. He is believed to be in Mexico.

Services for Mitchell Romero are pending with Ratliff Funeral Home in Denver City.

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Edenfield found guilty in Christopher Barrios’ murder
Jury now considers whether he should be executed

 

BRUNSWICK — A jury found David Edenfield guilty of murder, cruelty to children, three counts of child molestation and other charges Monday in the death of 6-year-old Christopher Michael Barrios Jr.

Less than an hour after announcing their verdict, the six men and six women were back in the jury box for the separate sentencing phase in which they would decide whether Edenfield, 61, should get the death penalty.

Update 10-07-09: Jury deliberating on death penalty in Edenfield case
DA calls him an animal, defense lawyer reminded jury Edenfield is a human being

Update: Jury recommends death penalty

BRUNSWICK, GA — The jury that found him guilty voted to put David Edenfield to death for the murder and sexually molestation of 6-year-old Christopher Barrios Jr.

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John Couey died of natural causes in prison. Jessica Lunsford, 9-year-old, was buried alive after having been raped, kidnapped and ultimately murdered by him. His privacy is protected, hers was not.

Convicted child killer Couey dies in prison, Florida officials say


(CNN) — A Florida death-row inmate convicted of abducting and murdering 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in 2005 has died, prison officials said Wednesday.

John Evander Couey, 51, died at 11:15 a.m. ET of natural causes, a Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman told CNN. He had been taken to a Jacksonville, Florida, hospital from Florida State Prison in Starke, Florida.

Because of privacy laws, no further information could be released by the Department of Corrections.

A source close to the case told CNN that Couey’s death was not unexpected and he had been ill for some time.

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