Not All Cases Get Amber Alert

9 years 7 months 1 week ago February 21, 2007 Feb 21, 2007 Wednesday, February 21 2007 Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:17:51 AM CST in News
Until his father, Felipe Monroy, took him while Crystal was at work. Then her life fell to pieces.

"I quit my job, because all I did was look for Felipe," she explained.

But since it was an alleged parental abduction, Abraham's case didn't qualify for an Amber Alert. An alert goes over the emergency alert system, notifying all local law enforcement and media of the abduction. But sometimes, the abduction doesn't meet Amber Alert criteria.

To file an Amber Alert officials have to reasonably believe a stranger abducted the child, and that the child is in serious danger.  There also has to be a description of both the abductor, and the child - who has to be under 17.

In 2005 there were 10,559 missing children cases in Missouri, and almost none of them qualified for an Amber Alert. An overwhelming 8,859 were kids who ran away.

Of the non-runaways 284 missing children cases were parental abductions. Only 5 were stranger abductions.

"We had some abductions that did not meet the Amber Alert criteria. We still want to be able to do something for those families," said Tim Hull, of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

So early this year the highway patrol created an endangered person's alert.

"But the information will still be out there and available that this person is missing," said Hull

.Just without the emergency alert system or the Amber Alert impact.

"We don't want people becoming immune to that Amber Alert if we do that every time," Hull explained.

But the state will still alert local law enforcement, which sometimes has its own system. For instance, Columbia's system alerts all city departments and local media.

"It is truly a partnership with the whole community ... the more eyes and ears that are looking for this child the more likely this child will be found," said Kenneth Hammond of the Columbia police.

Debrodie didn't get an Amber Alert but her story does have a happy ending.

"I have my family back. I was missing a part of my heart but it's complete now," she said.

The Cole county sheriff's department has Felipe Monroy in custody.

Since Missouri started using the Amber Alert system in 2003, officials have recovered every child who had an alert. But in 2005 more than 1,300 children remained missing in the state.

If you have a story for our Target 8 team, call us at 573-884-6397 or e-mail us at target8@komu.com

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