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Cora
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PostSubject: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:52 am

Amber Hagerman


8 Minutes in Texas


Amber Hagerman

More than 10 years later, Glenda Whitson recalls each second of the 8 minutes that changed her family's life.

It began with a visit from her grandchildren, Amber Hagerman, 9, and brother Ricky, 5.

They stopped at Whitson's Arlington, Texas, home with their mother, Donna, at about 3 in the afternoon on Saturday, Jan. 12, 1996.

Whitson's husband, Jimmie, was tinkering with a car out front.

He paused to say hello to Amber, an auburn-haired cutie who loved Burger King, Barbie dolls and "America the Beautiful," for the line that mentioned her name: "Amber waves of grain."

Jimmie Whitson kept two bicycles at the house for the grandkids, and Amber and Ricky asked if they could go for a quick ride on the sunny winter day.

"My husband and my daughter said, 'OK, but just go once around the block,'" Glenda Whitson told Crime Library.



Glenda Whitson
They peddled around two corners to the parking lot of a Winn-Dixie grocery store that had been closed for some time. Neighborhood kids enjoyed riding on a ramp there.

As the children went off, no adult gave it a second thought.

The Whitsons had lived there on Highland Drive, in Arlington's Highland Park addition, since 1975. The children's mother had ridden her bicycle on the same streets when she was growing up.

Arlington had changed in those 21 years, of course.

Part of the vast Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, its population had nearly doubled since the Whitsons moved in.

But the parking lot where Amber and Ricky headed was on busy E. Abram Street, just down the block from a vast General Motors plant. The spot was far from isolated, and it was broad daylight.

"They rode over there and went down the ramp," Mrs. Whitson said. "Ricky told his sister, 'I'm going back home because mama told us to just ride around the block.' So he rode back here, and my husband asked him, 'Where's Sissy?' He said she stayed for one more ride on the ramp, so they sent him back for her."

Ricky Hagerman left but returned a minute or two later and said, "I can't find Sissy."

Jimmie Whitson jumped in his truck and sped to the parking lot.

He spotted a police car there and pulled up to it. The officer told Whitson that a man who lived nearby heard screaming and saw a man carry a young girl into a pickup truck. The witness called 911, and the officer raced to the scene just moments later. But all he found was a bicycle.

Jimmie Whitson's heart sank.

He said, "That's my granddaughter's bike."

In recounting this series of events 10 1/2 years later, Jimmie Whitson's wife let out a long sigh.

"That was it," she said. "Eight minutes—eight minutes from the time she rode away on her bicycle until that man called 911. People have to know that this is how fast these things can happen."


Last edited by Cora on Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:57 am

Sad Tableau


Glanda Whitson

The abduction of Amber Hagerman in Arlington was followed by a sad tableau that has become familiar in modern America: loved ones of the girl appeared on television to beg for her safe return.

"Please don't hurt my baby," the children's mother cried. "She's just an innocent child. Please, please bring her home safe. Please."

The media interviewed the lone witness, Jim Kevil, who had phoned 911 after hearing Amber's screams.

"I saw her riding up and down [the vacant lot]," he told reporters. "She was by herself. I saw this pickup. He pulled up, jumped out and grabbed her...When she screamed, I figured the police ought to know about it, so I called them. I wish I had known more. I done all I could do."

Kevil described the man as "not big, but very fast." He was white or Hispanic, and his truck was dark. But he was too far to give much more detail.

Police theorized it was a stranger abduction.

In a typical year, 750,000 American children are reported missing, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited children. The vast majority are runaways or family abductions.


Roughly 100 stranger abductions of children are reported each year—one every three or four days, on average. But stranger abductions are in the most troubling category of missing children because nine out of 10 victims are female, half are sexually assaulted, and three out of four are killed within three hours.
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:58 am

Impetuous Crime?
The truck driven by Amber Hagerman's abductor was seen outside a laundromat near the Winn-Dixie plaza before the girl was snatched.

Police theorized it was an impetuous crime of opportunity since Amber had no established pattern of riding her bicycle there at that time of day.

The man likely watched Amber and Ricky ride into the parking lot together. He pounced on the girl just moments after her brother left to ride back to his grandparents' home.

Eyewitness Kevil said he watched the man drive west out of the parking lot and disappear.

The abduction was front-page news in Texas. Police were hopeful that other witnesses would step forward—perhaps someone who had seen the feisty girl struggling with her abductor as he tried to drive.

Police and the FBI formed a special task force to investigate, and the girl's smiling image became omnipresent in the Dallas Metroplex.

Coincidentally, a local TV station had been working on a story about Donna Hagerman's struggle to get off welfare, and the station released videotape of the girl to other media outlets.

Her image became so widely known during the investigation that the local police chief would later call Amber "Arlington's child."

But the investigation would have no happy ending.

No additional witnesses were found, and the pleas of Amber's loved ones went unheeded.

Four days after the abduction, a man walking his dog spotted Amber's naked body in a creek bed near an apartment complex in north Arlington. The girl's throat had been slit.
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:59 am

Dead-End Probe
Three weeks after the abduction, authorities released a psychological profile, hoping to smoke out the killer.

The profile suggested the man was at least 25 and lived or worked near the spot where he dumped the body. Authorities revealed the girl was alive for two full days after she was abducted, which likely meant there was a crime scene rife with physical evidence somewhere in the Dallas area.

Police theorized that something caused the killer to snap—an argument with a loved one, a rancorous domestic dispute, or the loss of a job. They said the killer's personality or appearance might have changed as a result of the trauma.

As an Arlington police spokesman put it, "Our hope is...someone out there will hear this and will think, 'Gee, this sounds like someone I know.'"

Plenty of people had that reaction. Police pursued some 5,500 leads in the 18 months following the murder.

But none led to the killer.

In the summer of 1997, after investing more than $1 million in the Amber Hagerman investigation, Arlington police disbanded the task force.

The murder remains an open investigation today, but the girl's grandmother said her hope is flagging.

"They don't really have much to go on—a few fibers they found on her body, they tell us," said Glenda Whitson. "They're still working on it, and they call us now and then. They say they'll never give up...After 10 years you lose hope that they'll ever find him, but I still have a little bit of hope."

Mrs. Whitson, 65, said she prays the killer is caught in her lifetime.

"It won't bring her back, but at least we would know that he got what he had coming to him," she said.

In the meantime, Amber's loved ones take solace in her legacy.
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:00 am

Amber Alert
After the murder, a Dallas man asked a common-sense question: When a child is abducted and each minute matters, why can't the police and the media get together to inform the public with the same urgency of, say, a weather warning about a tornado or a hurricane?

Radio and television executives in the Metroplex adopted the idea, and the Dallas Amber Plan was initiated in July 1997. Under the plan, police provide broadcasters with timely information about abductions—including photos and descriptions—so word can be spread immediately to the public.

Sixteen months later, the Amber Plan proved its worth.

Sandra Fallis, a babysitter with a drug problem, disappeared with an 8-week-old child. An alert went out, and Fallis was apprehended within 90 minutes when a driver who heard the alert spotted the woman's truck. The child was safely returned.

Houston set up its own Amber Plan in 2000, and two years later Texas instituted a statewide Amber Alert. That same year the U.S. Justice Department began coordinating the program for states and cities. Today, all 50 states and hundreds of cities have Amber Alert plans.



Amber Alert Stamp

By the federal government's count, some 240 children have been recovered due at least in part to Amber Alerts.

Glenda Whitson says she is always stopped cold when she hears her granddaughter's first name on TV or radio.

"My heart drops down to my shoes," she says, "because I know just what those people (the parents) are going through."

She calls the Amber Alert system "the right legacy" for her granddaughter.

"It feels good when some child is brought home and our baby helped," says Mrs. Whitson. "You just look up to heaven and say, 'You did it again, baby'...Of course I know sometimes it doesn't turn out good, but the Amber Alert gives them something more to go on from the very start."
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:03 am

Alerts That Worked
As more states joined the Amber System over the past decade, the number of children recovered rose sharply—from eight in 1999 to 26 in 2002 to 72 in 2003.

It has turned out that automobile descriptions and license numbers often are the most valuable information in successful Amber Alerts. Among recent examples:



Katron Walker

—In June 2006, two toddlers were taken from their grandparents by the children's father, Katron Walker. An Amber Alert was issued because the man had threatened violence. A citizen who saw the alert on television spotted the suspect's car near a lake and called police. Walker stabbed to death one of his sons, but the other child was safely recovered.



Walker's children

—Mary Winkler, accused of murdering her preacher husband in Tennessee in March 2006, was apprehended two days after the shooting when a police officer in Orange Beach, Ala., identified her van from an Amber Alert. The couple's three children were found unhurt in the van.



The Winkler Family

—In November 2005, an adult sex offender abducted a teenage girl in Hialeah, Fla. An Amber Alert was announced on electronic highway signs in the state, and a motorist who saw the alert spotted the car traveling in front of him. Police stopped the offender, who released the girl before killing himself.

—In January 2004, an adolescent girl was abducted by her uncle in Baltimore. A regional Amber Alert was issued, and three separate motorists called authorities after seeing the suspect's car near Stafford, Va. He was arrested, and the girl was rescued.

—In May 2003, an 11-year-old girl in St. Cloud, Minn., was abducted by a 21-year-old houseguest. An Amber Alert was issued in several states, including Utah, where the man had ties. A Utah state trooper who saw the alert spotted the suspect's car and arrested him. The girl was returned home.
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:52 am

An Old Bugaboo
Amber Alerts have become a small industry, with an annual national convention (this year in Albuquerque) for those who work on the systems, a new "Amber Alert Awareness" postage stamp and a plethora of websites.

But the system is far from perfect.

Different local and state jurisdictions often make varying judgments as to whether an alert is warranted. Some places, for example, have used Amber Alerts to help find Alzheimer's sufferers who wandered off, while others reserve the system for missing children.

Amber Alert overuse has been an issue from the beginning. Six alerts were issued in Dallas during a single month in 1999, and both the media and law enforcers fretted that the public would become numb by the frequent reports.

The federal government now recommends that alerts be limited to cases of children 17 and younger who are believed to be in imminent danger as a result of an abduction. The guidelines also suggest that alerts be issued only in cases where there is sufficient information—a suspect's description or a car's make and model, for example—to enable the public to help recover the child.

But the guidelines force police agencies to make judgments about which missing persons deserve alerts—an old law enforcement bugaboo.

Over the years, the loved ones of dozens of disappeared teenagers have been infuriated by law enforcement's refusal to take a missing-person report before a waiting period of a day or two. The fury becomes even more acute in cases where the child turns up dead or permanently missing.

Police say they cannot drop everything to search for each of the 2,200 Americans reported missing each day. Most of cases are benign—adults with drug or alcohol problems, runaway teenagers, custody disputes or misunderstandings.

Yet Amber Alerts are fraught with inconsistency.

According to one newspaper investigation, one in five of the 233 Amber Alerts issued in 2004 was for a child who was lost, had run away or was reported missing as a result of a hoax or a misunderstanding.

Some states appear particularly quick to issue alerts that do not meet the federal criteria. Missouri, for example, recently issued an Amber Alert after a man took his two sons from their maternal grandmother's home—even though the father had court-mandated access to the children.
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:54 am

Pressure on Police
A number of Amber Alerts have been issued by small police agencies that appeared unaware of the federal guidelines. In other cases, parents of runaways or parties in custody disputes have pressured both the police and the media to issue alerts.

And those are the cases that threaten to bring about what some call "Amber Alert fatigue."

The system was designed for confirmed abductions—a tiny fraction of missing-child cases—not as a tool to help bring home every kid who goes missing.

"It has not ever been meant for missing children, lost children or child custody cases," Dee Anderson, the Fort Worth-area sheriff who helped initiate the first Amber Plan, told that city's Star-Telegram. "Almost at times the plan is a victim of its own success, because now everyone wants it used when a child is missing."



Sheriff Dee Anderson

Some experts also fear that overuse of alerts could cause crime hysteria in the country by giving the impression that abductions are routine, even though they are rare.

But what parent wouldn't demand all the resources available to find a lost child? This visceral instinct often leads to conflicts with law enforcers.

For example, no Amber Alert was issued when Brianna Maitland, 17, went missing in Vermont in 2004.



Brianna Maitland

The girl's father, Bruce, became increasingly critical of the slow-footed, close-mouthed response of police.

Vermont State Police appeared to retaliate with a press conference at which a lieutenant cited Brianna's "very questionable background involving drug use" and "some unhealthy lifestyle choices in her life prior to her disappearance."

Bruce Maitland was stunned.

In an interview last year with Crime Library, he called the press conference "a dirty tactic...to trash Brianna," which eased the pressure to solve the disappearance.

She is still missing.

"The police did not cause Brianna's disappearance," Bruce Maitland said, "but the police might be the reason that she hasn't been found."
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:57 am

Cleveland Case
Parents like Maitland puzzle over the inconsistencies of Amber Alerts.

In the Cleveland area, police agencies have proven willing to issue alerts that are outside the federal guidelines. From 2002 to 2004, more than half of the 17 alerts issued involved custodial abductions.

Yet when Gina DeJesus, 14, went missing in Cleveland in April 2004, police refused to issue an Amber Alert because there was no witness to her abduction or disappearance.



Gina DeJesus

Later, two classmates revealed that they had seen the girl speaking with an older man earlier on the day that she disappeared. And it came to light that another teenager, Amanda Berry, had disappeared the previous spring just six blocks from where Gina DeJesus was last seen.



Amanda Berry

A year after the disappearance, authorities finally released a sketch of the man seen with DeJesus.

An FBI spokesman tried to explain the delay, but he was not convincing.

"This didn't look like a good lead at the time," he said. "It came in shortly after she was abducted. We didn't want people to lock into one person at that time. We had a lot of what we thought were really good leads. We covered those. They were unsuccessful."

Like Bruce Maitland, the girl's mother was left puzzling over judgments by law enforcers and the media when Gina DeJesus disappeared.

"We asked for an Amber Alert when we reported her missing that Friday night," Nancy Ruiz, 46, told Crime Library. "They told us we didn't meet the criteria because there was no description of a car or the person who abducted her."

Ruiz said she and Felix DeJesus, Gina's father, spent the next two days frantically looking for their child while begging the Cleveland media and police to release a photo of the girl.

"We got bounced back and forth," she said. "The police said the media had to make the decision to air her picture, and the media said they couldn't do it until the police gave the OK."

TV stations finally began airing Gina DeJesus' photo on Sunday broadcasts.

"They say every second counts when a girl is abducted, and for 36 hours we got nothing," Ruiz said. "Whoever took my daughter got a 36-hour lead—and all because they wouldn't issue an Amber Alert. He could have had her all the way to Canada by time her picture was on TV."

Like Brianna Maitland, Gina DeJesus has not been found.
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:59 am

Playing Favorites?
Judy Martin, a victim's rights advocate in Cleveland, said Amber Alerts are "underused, too restrictive and too subjective."

"Too many kids get left out and are lost because of arbitrary decisions by law enforcement," said Martin, founder of two support and advocacy groups, Survivors/Victims of Tragedy and Black on Black Crime. "It's unconscionable."

She cited the case of Shakira Johnson, 11, who disappeared from a dance in Cleveland in the fall of 2003. Police declined to issue an Amber Alert, even though witnesses saw the girl get into a red car—a basis for an alert, under the federal guidelines.



Shakira Johnson

The child's dismembered body was found in a vacant lot a month later.

Martin does not buy the "Amber Alert fatigue" argument—that overuse of the system will lead to the same yawning response that people eventually had to the faces of missing child on milk cartons.

"I think that's ridiculous," she said. "It's not like we're going to have 100 Amber Alerts each day in any individual area. Maybe nationwide, but not in any given city or state."

Nancy Ruiz said inconsistent decisions about issuing Amber Alerts have left her with the impression that law enforcers make value judgments about a particular child's worth.

"If Gina had been a police officer's daughter, I have no doubt that she would have gotten an Amber Alert," Ruiz said.

That sort of insider influence has been cited as a factor in a number of questionable alerts.

This summer, the troubled granddaughter of Joe Bruno, a powerful Republican politician in New York state, turned up missing. Without calling it an Amber Alert, the police and the media in New York gave the case the full alert treatment—even though the young woman was 20, had a history of flakiness and had phoned home after her disappearance.



Joe Bruno
Her photo was omnipresent in the media for several days, and she was located in Times Square, walking with a man she had met on the Internet. The state police superintendent twice held press conferences about the young woman, and the media dedicated untold air time and column inches to the case.

Such obvious special treatment for an influential figure confirmed for Ruiz that police are willing to bend missing-person guidelines as needed.
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:08 am

"Bittersweet Thing"
Back in Texas, Glenda Whitson says she sides with those who see and hear too many Amber Alerts.

"I do think it's being overused," she said. "It was just supposed to be used for kids they knew were in danger, in cases where they knew there had been an abduction. Now they use it for runaways all the time, but there are thousands of runaways. You can't use an Amber Alert for a runaway."

Her opinion counts. Mrs. Whitson and her family have become seminal figures in national awareness about missing children.



Donna Norris

Her daughter, Donna Norris, testified before Congress and stood near President Bush when he signed federal Amber Alert legislation into law.



President Bush signs the federal Amber legislation.

"My little girl was abducted and butchered for this bill to even exist," Norris told reporters before the signing ceremony. "But it's saving children's lives. It's just a bittersweet thing."

That sadness is never far from the surface for the family.

Mrs. Whitson broke down during an interview—a recurring theme in her family's life, she said.

Her daughter, like everyone in the family, has what she called "sad days." Amber would have graduated high school this year.

"That was hard for her mother," Mrs. Whitson said. "Right about now Amber would be falling in love, maybe getting ready to get married, giving her mother grandchildren. Donna lost out on all of that."

Ricky Hagerman, now 16, is the focus of the family. He lives in Hurst, north of Arlington, where he plays high school football.

"He's a typical teenager," his grandmother said. "He wants a car, he wants a job so he can have some pocket money. But he's a good kid."

She said the family was opening gifts last Christmas when Ricky broke down.

"He still thinks about her all the time," Whitson said. "She was like his second mother. He says he misses her."

"I Hope They're Safe'

Last year, Arlington officials planted a tree in memory of Amber Hagerman near the scene of her abduction.



Amber's Tree

Jimmie Whitson, her grandfather, helped build a sturdy wrought-iron fence around it, and the family decorates it with pink ribbons, Amber's favorite color.

The Whitsons pass the totem nearly every time they come or go from their home.

Glenda Whitson said she can't look at the tree without thinking of her granddaughter and that brief bicycle trip.

"All the kids still ride bikes around here," she said. "I suppose most of them don't even know what happened 10 years ago in this neighborhood. Maybe some of the parents don't either. Sometimes I see little-bitty young ones go by. I stop and say to myself, 'I hope they're safe.'"



Amber Hargerman montage
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:09 am

Web Links:

Code Amber: The Web's Amber Alert System: www.codeamber.org
Government Amber Alert Site: www.amberalert.gov
Amber Alert Portal: www.amberalert.com
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: www.missingkids.com
Gina DeJesus Website: www.findgeorgina.com


New Amber Alert GPS Helps Track Kids
http://www.amberalertgps.com

Child Offenders Registry
www.protectyourchild.com

Nearly 500,000 Offenders On File
Get Maps, Photos & Offense Info
www.NationalAlertRegister.com

Worldwide Social Network for Police Officers

Police Pulse
www.policepulse.com

http://www.klaaskids.org/pg-amberplan.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:32 am

Our Creed
WE REALIZE THAT OUR SOCIETY OFFERS MORE HOPE TO THE PREDATOR THAN TO THE PROTECTION AND JUSTICE OUR CHILDREN DESPERATLEY DESERVE.

WE REALIZE THAT THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ARE OVER BURDENED AND UNDERFUNDED IN MOST CASES. SO WE OBLIGATE OUR EFFORTS TO WORK IN CONJUNCTION AND TO ASSIST EVERY LEVEL OF LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE PROSECUTION AND REPORTING OF ANY AND ALL CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, FROM SIMPLE ABUSE TO MURDER, ILLEGAL FUND RAISING TO ILLEGITIMATE CAUSES, ALL IN THE NAME OF "HELPING CHILDREN".

WE WILL PROTECT CHILDREN IN EVERY INSTANCE NEEDED, FROM ALL FORMS OF ABUSE LEGALLY, AND WITH EVERY RESOURCE AT OUR DISPOSAL.

WE ACCEPT THE FACT THAT OUR POLITICIANS ARE TRULY POWERLESS TO STOP EVERY CRIME COMMITTED AGAINST OUR CHILDREN, FAMILIES, AND IN OUR COMMUNITIES. REGARDLESS OF LEGISLATION THEY PASS, THAT IN SOME CASES POLITICIANS MAKE PROMISES AND PASS LAWS TO PROTECT OUR FAMILIES, THEN THEY THEMSELVES ARE THE CULPRIT. (i.e.MARK FOLEY)
THEREFORE LEAVING NO ALTERNATIVES, BUT TO HOLD THOSE IN POSITIONS OF OFFICE THAT BREAK THE PUBLIC TRUST MORE ACCOUNTABLE THAN THE COMMON PREDATOR.

WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT WATERED DOWN PROTECTIVE LEGISLATION AND POLICIES FULL OF FALSE SECURITIES, SIMPLY TO HELP ELECTIONS AND TO STEM PUBLIC OUTCRY AT THE COST OF TRUE CHANGE AND PROTECTION FOR OUR FAMILIES.

OUR GOAL IS TO BECOME THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT, LOUDER AND STRONGER THAN ALL OTHERS. UNITED IN COMMON GOALS AS ONE, RATHER THAN IN SEPERATE EFFORTS WHENEVER THE CAUSE IS BENEFICIAL TO THE CHILD, OVER ANY AND ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS.

WE REFUSE TO ALLOW ENTITIES OR PERSONS TO SWAY OR DETERMINE OUR OBJECTIVES FOR CHANGE ACROSS THE BOARD. NO LONGER TRYING TO SYNCHRONIZE JUST INDIVIDUAL CITIES, TOWNS, DISTRICTS, COUNTIES AND STATES TO IMPLEMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURE CHANGES. WE WILL WHENEVER POSSIBLE REACH TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT AVAILABLE AND NEEDED, DEMANDING PROTECTIVE CHANGE FOR EVERY CHILD.

WE UNDERSTAND THE THREAT TO OUR COMMUNITIES ON A LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEVEL, WE ARE BUILDING THE BRIDGE TO COVER THAT GAP ,ONE GROUP AT A TIME, ONE COMPANY AT A TIME, ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME, ONE FAMILY AT A TIME, ONE MEMBER AT A TIME.

WE ARE SEPERATE IN OUR IDENTITIES AND AGENDAS, YET WE UNITE IN THE EFFORT FOR COMMON GOOD AND ACHIEVE OUR STRENGTH IN SHEER NUMBERS TO HELP EFFECT CHANGE OUR CHILDREN NEED AND DESERVE. REGARDLESS OF WHO ORIGINATES THE NEEDED CHANGE, WE ARE HERE TO WORK TOGETHER TO HELP ENSURE THAT THE NEEDED CHANGE IS INACTED AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL POSSIBLE, WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT OF COMPROMISE, WHENEVER IT IS DEEMED BENEFICIAL TO CHILDREN BY THOSE MEMBERS THAT WISH TO HELP.

WE ARE THE CHILD PROTECTION COMMUNITY
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:13 am

What is a Amber Alert?


Shreveport police on scene in the 400 block of Forest Avenue after finding a 12-year-old girl, who was reported missing February 5 in Shreveport. (Jim Hudelson/The Times)

What is an Amber Alert?
It is a statewide, cohesive effort between law enforcement and broadcasters, whose goal is to safely locate an abducted child within the critical two-to-three hour time period following an abduction. It is an investigative tool and not designed to be relied upon as the sole means of recovery.
Following an initial alert, an Amber Alert is broadcast every 20 minutes during the first three hours and every 30 minutes thereafter for the next two hours or until such time that an "end of alert" message is issued by Louisiana state police.



2007 Amber Alert Facts
(For U.S. states and territories)
Amber Alerts: 227
Children involved: 278
Children recovered: 223 (within 72 hours)
Children recovered dead: 6 (one was a victim of a registered sex offender)
Stranger abductions: 94
Family abductions: 106
Abductions involving registered sex offender: 6
State with most Amber Alerts: Texas (30)
States with least Amber Alerts: 15 states and territories, including Alaska and Puerto Rico, had none; Louisiana (1)
Source: U.S. Department of Justice 2007 Amber Alert report

Parent tips
If your child is lost or missing, report it immediately to police. It's vital police enter the child's information into the National Crime Information Center database, which is utilized by law enforcement across the country.
Be certain to inform police of nicknames a child might answer to, about friends, family or other people who are part of the child's life, and the child's habits.
Keep a current photograph of your child on hand. Be sure to record their height and weight, and keep a copy of their fingerprints. Update the information regularly.

Source: Local law enforcement

Tell the Watchdog
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The Watchdog offers readers the opportunity to sound off against poor customer service, consumer fraud, bureaucratic brick walls and other everyday living frustrations.
If you've got a problem, The Watchdog can take a bite out of, drop us an e-mail at shr-watchdog@gannett.com. Please include your name and contact number.

Question and answer with Louisiana state police Amber Alert coordinator Sgt. Julie Lewis
Question: Are all missing child alerts "” statewide, regional or local "” done through the state police? Are there any circumstances an alert might be issued without state police authorization?

Answer: All Amber Alerts must be facilitated by Louisiana state police "” Troop F and are conducted statewide, as set forth by the Louisiana Amber Alert Foundation Board of Directors. Level II's (advisories), since they do not utilize the Emergency Alert System, etc., are referred to as "media advisories" for "endangered missing child" (but can be used for any missing, endangered person). The Level II's are intended for situations that don't meet the criteria for an Amber Alert. While most law enforcement agencies in the state can have "missing person" information aired via their local media fairly easily, the Level II assists agencies who may not have the contacts with local/area media that LSP does, or the law enforcement agency may request that the information be sent to another media market within the state. Unfortunately, too many law enforcement agencies, as well as a well-meaning public, occasionally send something out and use the "AMBER Alert" name for cases which clearly do not meet criteria. This only serves to confuse the public as to what Amber is and is not, as well as desensitizes the public to an actual Amber Alert. Technically, any law enforcement agency can forward such information to the media, just as LSP does, but should refrain from any reference to "AMBER Alert."
Some cities may have their own localized program to seek to public's assistance in the location of missing/runaway children, but use another name for it. These do not interfere with Amber Alerts, nor do they utilize the same means and technologies, such as Department of Transportation and Development message boards.

Q: Do the 10 in-state and two out-of-state alerts listed on the agency's Web site as total Amber Alerts issued since Jan. 2 include regional and local alerts or just statewide? Have there been any more since Jan. 5?

A: All alerts were activated statewide. There have been no activations in Louisiana year-to-date in 2009.

Q: Of those 12 alerts, how many involved stranger abductions? How many involved family or a friend or acquaintance?

A: For the two in Florida, I don't recall the "relationship," if any. We activated at Florida's request based on specific investigative information they may be in/near Louisiana. One in 2008 (Shreveport) was on a father who had already severely beaten his young son and ran into the woods with his two young daughters.
He was believed to be a serious danger to them as well. This was the last Amber Alert in Louisiana.
There was one in 2007, for a teen girl who was abducted by an estranged boyfriend, and one in 2006, involving a biological, noncustodial mother took her two sons from school. Based upon law enforcement information, she was believed to be a serious danger to the boys. They were safely recovered in Dallas. There were two in 2005:
On Feb. 12, 2005, Louisiana state police "” Troop F "” activated the Louisiana Amber Alert system for two Baton Rouge infants who were in a car when it was stolen from a Baton Rouge neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. Within a couple hours following the initial alert, a Baton Rouge man located the vehicle behind his business on Choctaw Drive. The man looked around the perimeter of his business and due to the Amber Alert, he was made aware of the stolen vehicle and the missing children from a location within a couple miles of his address. He located the vehicle, with the two boys still inside, behind his building and quickly notified police. Through the cooperation of Louisiana broadcasters, law enforcement and an observant local businessman, two small children were safely recovered and placed with family members. The mother of the two children, 30 year-old Kawanda Chambers, was charged with child desertion, as she left the two infants unsupervised in a running car outside of an acquaintance's home for approximately thirty minutes. Baton Rouge Police Department detectives continue to investigate the theft of the vehicle.
On June 8, 2005, an Amber Alert for a Webster Parish boy was canceled due a false report. Around 5:30 p.m, Webster Parish sheriff's office requested Louisiana state police "” Troop F authorize the activation of the Louisiana Amber Alert following a report that a 14-year-old boy of Doyline was allegedly abducted at gunpoint by two masked, white men an hour earlier. Less than 30 minutes after Troop F received the detailed information, the statewide Emergency Alert System (EAS) was activated for the boy. Deputies and other officers continued to investigate while all law enforcement agencies statewide were notified, DOTD's variable message boards were activated, LA Lottery's boards broadcast the message, and media statewide were seeking more information to get the message to the public "” all in hopes of safely recovering the teen. Less than three hours later, Webster Parish sheriff's office advised of the safe recovery of the boy and the Amber Alert was immediately canceled. While the case remains under investigation by the Webster Parish sheriff's office, the teen was more likely a runaway. LSP"”Troop F was advised the case will be forwarded to the district attorney's office in Webster Parish for consideration of charges pending the false report of an Amber Alert by the child in question. (He was charged with criminal mischief. This case took place prior to the enactment of "False Reporting "” kidnapped/abducted child" became a felony in Louisiana.)
Another case: Hammond P.D. called to cancel the Amber Alert the child had been found with another relative. A 4-year-old child was sent home from an area day care center with an individual in a dark-colored sedan. Parent arrived to pick up child and day care workers were unable to identify who the child left with. An Amber Alert was issued and canceled within an hour. Due to a miscommunication, another relative picked up the child, but became aware of the problem after seeing the Amber Alert info on television.
All other Louisiana Amber alerts were familial/friend/acquaintance. While Amber is not intended for parental abductions, there are cases where law enforcement has strong reason to believe the parent may intentional harm/kill the children) and an Amber is activated.

Q: Are there any statistics for the number of times a Level II alert was issued?

A: No, since any law enforcement agency can forward such information to the media, but should refrain from any reference to "AMBER Alert" to avoid confusion. LSP has issued less than six each year, but there is no "limit." Many law enforcement agencies decline this form of assistance as media may be involved already.

Q: What would be some of the reasons Louisiana has fewer alerts than other states, such as Texas?

A: Texas has to contend with a variety of issues, which Louisiana does not. No. 1: They are much larger in size and population. Twenty-three million residents in Texas v. 4.3 million in Louisiana. No. 2: they have border issues with Mexico, which Louisiana does not. Other states may have localized/regional plans, which may lend itself to inconsistency regarding the decision as to whether or not an Amber Alert should be activated. In those situations, you may have activated authorities who are also elected officials. Let's be honest, a person who relies upon votes to keep his/her position may allow (consciously or subconsciously) that political pressure to affect a decision. In Louisiana, LSP makes the final call as to whether or not an Amber Alert is issued, and "politics" do not enter the equation as to whether or not an Amber Alert is issued. The decision is made strictly upon the facts of the case, which are presented by the requesting law enforcement agency. Neither gender nor race enter the equation either. In fact, in most cases, the gender/race of child isn't known (by me) until I'm seeking the specific information in order to activate Amber. Some states' plans may have varying criteria, which qualifies as an Amber. Those with more "open" criteria, will, in turn, have more occasions to activate. In Louisiana, we strictly adhere to the criteria (based upon recommendations by the U.S. Department of Justice) and also conduct informal reviews of specific activations or non-activations. Those involved in this review include: law enforcement officers in other agencies, the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, Louisiana Clearinghouse for Missing & Exploited Children, FCC, etc.

On the Web
U.S. Department of Justice Amber Alert

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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:14 am





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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Thu May 13, 2010 6:27 am


Garden for the Missing
http://www.gardenforthemissing.org/

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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Thu May 13, 2010 6:27 am

Governor Charlie Crist signs 'Child Abduction Prevention Act' Into Law.

http://chasingthecyclone.com/Florida_s_New_Law__CAPA.html





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PR Log (Press Release) – May 11, 2010 – It is official! Late this afternoon in Tallahassee, Florida Governor Crist officially signed the landmark ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ into law. The ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ will go into effect on January 1st, 2011.

Championed by Representative Darryl Rouson (D- St. Petersburg), the groundbreaking legislation that is now law will provide the Florida courts the responsibility to assess risk factors associated with a potential parental child abduction and further allows for judges overseeing high-risk cases of potential abduction to issue court orders that will prevent a child’s abduction from occurring.

Representative Darryl Rouson issued the following statement, “I am extremely pleased to announce that as of today, my dream and goal of creating law that would help prevent our state’s children from experiencing the nightmare of child abduction is now a reality. As abduction cases in our state and the nation continue to increase at alarming and unprecedented levels, it has become apparent that the combative way to prevent this epidemic from spreading was to create a sweeping law that will aid the courts in protecting our children. The ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ certainly does this. I would like to thank Governor Crist and all of my fellow lawmakers, including child advocate Senator Eleanor Sobel, for realizing the importance of this law. The significance of this new law in Florida should be a lesson for all states presently considering child abduction prevention legislation; it is critical to the children of every state to have preventive laws in place that will protect their well being. I would also like to thank Carolyn Ann Vlk, the astute writer of the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ for her tremendous leadership in writing such a sweeping law, and, Peter Thomas Senese for his substantial advocacy in support of our state’s new law. Today is a great day for the children of Florida.”

Senator Eleanor Sobel (D- Fort Lauderdale) previously stated, “Abductions are incredibly damaging and can haunt a child for the rest of their lives. This new law will keep Florida’s children safe from these potentially devastating experiences… abductions out of the state or the country can be extremely harmful to children. It is also nearly impossible to locate and return a child who has been taken to a foreign country. The safest and most cost effective approach is to simply prevent an abduction.” Florida’s new law does exactly that.

Peter Thomas Senese, the author of the highly anticipated book on international parental child abduction titled ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ and one of the lead child abduction prevention advocates who actively championed for the passage of the legislation into law added, “Child abduction prevention laws such as Florida’s breakthrough ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ are the lines of first defense against the pandemic of abduction sweeping our nation and the world. There are many unique components that make the legislation that Carolyn Ann Vlk wrote that Florida’s legislative branch and Governor Crist enthusiastically supported that is best measured by the unprecedented act that this bill was unanimously passed into law. One of the unprecedented components of this law that uniquely stands out is that courts now have the opportunity to seek the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security's’ ‘Prevent Departure Program’ that is implemented via the Department of State in potential international child abduction cases. So in a certain sense, the Florida law, in my opinion, is actually the implementation of two laws: one is a new state law, and the second is a federal law few individuals are aware already exists.

“Now with the passage of this historic law, I hope other states will update or pass new legislation that will protect our nation’s children from abduction. According to the extensive report on abduction trends Carolyn Ann Vlk and I recently released titled, ‘International Parental Child Abduction: Crisis In America’, our study’s findings demonstrated an increased threat of abduction due to many tangible factors including economic hardship and increases in immigration population to our country. Child abduction prevention laws in all states are critical, and I was happy to play my role alongside the fine lawmakers in the state and one of our nation’s great child advocates, Carolyn Ann Vlk.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the author of the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ stated, “Words cannot express the myriad of emotions I am experiencing at this historical moment in Florida State history. My dream of creating a comprehensive legislation to protect children from abduction is now a reality. My heart is filled with gratitude towards the many people whom have made this moment possible. First and foremost on behalf of the children and families of Florida I would like to express my deepest gratitude to State Representative Darryl E. Rouson, District 55. I first met with Representative Rouson in 2007 and relayed my family’s story and concerns that my child was at risk of being abducted. I shared my insight that our current laws were lacking reliable risk assessment and preventive measures to prevent the unspeakable tragedy of child abduction. Representative Rouson immediately offered to help in any way possible and has been a staunch children's advocate and a driving force leading the way for Florida to set the precedent for other states to follow. Henry Moseley, legislative aide to the Representative has been an invaluable and constant source of information and assistance throughout this entire process. I feel honored to have worked with Senator Eleanor Sobel who was the Senate sponsor of our bill. Senator Sobel has had a long and illustrious political career and her advocacy on behalf of our state’s children was undeniable. Thanks also go out to her legislative aide, Nick Matthews, whose political knowledge and expertise was invaluable in this process.

“And to Governor Charlie Crist, thank you Governor, for recognizing that our children need to be protected and for taking this issue seriously and acting proactively to better protect our precious citizens.

“What began as purely a personal issue and an innate desire to protect my own child morphed into the ‘Florida Child Abduction Prevention Act’. As I researched this issue, I found it difficult to believe that so many children were either at extreme risk of abduction, or worse, had already been abducted. I felt that my advocacy needed to extend beyond making sure my own child was protected and thus I began the writing of this bill.

“I would also like to express my most sincere thanks to author Peter Thomas Senese, a successful chasing parent who has actively and tirelessly advocated along with me. Peter has traveled from Los Angeles to Florida on several occasions, providing important testimony before the State legislators. He substantially raised the bar of awareness and understanding on this issue before our lawmakers, and he raised the profile of how important and significant an issue child abduction really is. Florida resident, Captain William Lake, whose own daughter Mary remains criminally abducted in Japan, also provided invaluable testimony in front of State legislators. And due to Peter Thomas Senese’s assistance, Ken Connelly, who was abducted as a child also provided testimony in front of our policy makers. I also would like to thank my family, for the love and support they have provided throughout this journey, I am forever indebted.

“My greatest desire has been to significantly reduce the number of children that are abducted and I believe that will be achieved through proper risk assessment and the implementation of preventive measures within our family court system. Indeed this is a monumental day for the great State of Florida now that the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ is law.

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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:55 am

Charley Project
http://www.charleyproject.org/

NamUs
http://www.namus.gov//

Missing Persons in the United States

A Child Is Missing
http://www.achildismissing.org/

Doe Network
http://www.doenetwork.org/

FBI Kidnapping and Missing Persons Investigations
http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/kidnap/kidmiss.htm

National Center for Missing Adults
http://www.theyaremissed.org/ncma/index.php


Links at this site:
(http://www.ancestorhunt.com/missing-persons.htm)
Alabama Missing Persons
http://community.dps.alabama.gov/Default.aspx

Arkansas Missing Persons
http://www.independencesheriff.org/links.htm
http://www.acic.org/missing/index.htm

Arizona Missing Persons
http://arizona.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

California Missing Persons
http://www.ag.ca.gov/missing/


Colorado Missing Persons
http://colorado.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/index.html

Connecticut Missing Persons
http://missingkids.idribble.com/usa/connecticut/
http://connecticut.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Delaware Missing Persons
http://delawaremissingadults.com/
http://delaware.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Florida Missing Persons
http://florida.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Georgia Missing Persons
http://georgia.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Idaho Missing Persons
http://idaho.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Illinois Missing Persons
http://illinoismissingadults.com/
http://www.isp.state.il.us/crime/missing.cfm

Indiana Missing Persons
http://indianamissingadults.com/
http://www.theyaremissed.org/ncma/gallery/ncmalistview.php?wstr=Adult&state=IN&alpha=%
http://someoneismissing.com/indiana/missing.htm

Iowa Missing Persons
http://www.icgov.org/default/apps/police/missingPersons.asp
http://www.iowaonline.state.ia.us/mpic/

Kansas Missing Persons
http://www.kansas.gov/kbi/missingpersons.shtml
http://www.kansascrimestoppers.com/missingpersons.html

Louisiana Missing Persons
http://louisianamissingadults.com/
http://someoneismissing.com/louisiana/missing.htm
http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PubCaseSearchServlet?act=usMapSearch&missState=LA&searchLang=en_US

Maine Missing Persons
http://mainemissingadults.com/
http://maine.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Maryland Missing Persons
http://maryland.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/
http://marylandmissingadults.com/
http://www.marylandmissing.com/missingpersons.html

Massachusetts Missing Persons
http://massachusetts.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Michigan Missing Persons
http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1589_31786_32000---,00.html
http://someoneismissing.com/michigan/missing.htm
http://michigan.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Minnesota Missing Persons
http://minnesota.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Missouri Missing Persons
http://missouri.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Mississippi Missing Persons
http://crimestoppersnems.com/missing.aspx
http://mississippi.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Montana Missing Persons
http://montana.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Nebraska Missing Persons
http://nebraska.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Nevada Missing Persons
http://nevada.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

New Hampshire Missing Persons
http://new-hampshire.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

New Jersey Missing Persons
http://new-jersey.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

New Mexico Missing Persons
http://new-mexico.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

New York Missing Persons
http://new-york.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

North Carolina Missing Persons
http://north-carolina.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

North Dakota Missing Persons
http://north-dakota.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Ohio Missing Persons
http://ohio.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Oklahoma Missing Persons
http://www.ocpd.com/missing_persons/missing_persons_front.htm
http://oklahoma.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Oregon Missing Persons
http://oregon.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/
http://someoneismissing.com/oregon/missing.htm

Rhode Island Missing Persons
http://www.risp.state.ri.us/missingchildren/
http://rhode-island.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Pennsylvania Missing Persons
http://www.pennsylvaniamissing.com/
http://pennsylvaniamissingadults.com/
http://pennsylvania.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

South Carolina Missing Persons
http://south-carolina.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

South Dakota Missing Persons
http://south-dakota.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Tennessee Missing Persons
http://tennessee.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Texas Missing Persons
http://texas.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/mpch/
http://texasequusearch.org/category/missing/

Utah Missing Persons
http://publicsafety.utah.gov/bci/missingpersons.html
http://utah.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Vermont Missing Persons
http://www.dps.state.vt.us/vtsp/missing/
http://vermontmissingadults.com/

Virginia Missing Persons
http://virginia.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/
http://virginiamissingadults.com/

Washington Missing Persons
http://www.waspc.org/mp/missing.php
http://www.wsp.wa.gov/crime/mpu.htm
http://someoneismissing.com/washington/missing.htm

West Virginia Missing Persons
http://west-virginia.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Wisconsin Missing Persons
http://wisconsin.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Wyoming Missing Persons
http://wyoming.uscity.net/Missing_Persons/

Related Missing Persons Links:
Katrina Missing Person
http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2077

NamUs - National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
http://namus.gov/index.htm


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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:57 am

Code Amber News Coverage:
http://codeamber.org/

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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:57 am

Radio Amber Child Alerts
http://radioamber.net/

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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:08 pm


AMBER Alert
A collection of news and information related to AMBER Alert published by this site and its partners.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/topic/crime-law-justice/crimes/kidnapping/amber-alert-ORGOV000034.topic

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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:47 am


_________________

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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:49 am

Dear Friend,



It’s been more than 25 years since my wife Revé and I started the National Center in 1984, a few years after our son Adam was abducted from a shopping mall and murdered.

We’ve come a long way since then. Not only has the National Center become the nation’s most trusted organization when it comes to protecting children from abduction and exploitation — largely thanks to the commitment of friends like you — but we’ve joined in other partnerships designed to keep kids safer and bring home missing children. Today, I’d like to tell you more about Wireless AMBER Alerts — a nationwide initiative to distribute AMBER Alerts to wireless subscribers who opt in to receive the messages.

The first three hours after a child is abducted are the most critical to recovery efforts. Wireless AMBER Alerts, an initiative of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the wireless industry, have the potential to reach more than 242 million wireless subscribers with information to help bring abducted children home quickly and safely.

Wireless subscribers capable of receiving text messages and those whose providers participate in the initiative can sign up to receive free text message AMBER Alerts in one of three easy ways:

1.Text AMBER followed by a space and five-digit ZIP code to AMBER (26237) (available for most eligible wireless subscribers);


2.Visit www.wirelessamberalerts.org; or


3.Register on your carrier’s Web site.

To date, AMBER Alerts have helped to safely recover more than 495 children. Join those who have already signed up for Wireless AMBER Alerts and help bring an abducted child home safely. By signing up today you can become the eyes and ears of law enforcement when a child has been abducted. Your vigilance could make all the difference for a missing child. Click here for more information about this critical program.

Thanks,
John Walsh
Co-Founder

P.S. Wireless AMBER Alerts can help galvanize communities to assist law enforcement in the search for and return of the child — something I’m grateful is available to the families of missing children. Sign up today to receive free text message alerts and be on the front lines of recovery whenever a child has been abducted.

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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:56 pm


_________________


Caylee Marie Anthony
8-9-05 to 12-11-08

Sexual Offenders in your area:
http://www.familywatchdog.us/
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PostSubject: Re: Moderator's Notes   Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:47 am

:amberalert: 

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Caylee Marie Anthony
8-9-05 to 12-11-08

Sexual Offenders in your area:
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