Why no Amber Alert for missing girl?
Fri, 23 Oct 2009 10:23:06 GMT —
Shortly after KRCG first broadcast the disappearance of Elizabeth Olten, 9, of St. Martins, KRCG received e-mails from viewers wanting to know why no Amber Alert was issued.The Missouri Highway Patrol said the rules for alerts are very specific.Elizabeth Olten disappeared sometime after six p.m. Wednesday evening. Officers and volunteers scoured the woods surrounding her home for hours through the night and again after daylight. The sheriff did not ask the Highway Patrol to issue an Amber Alert."At this point, having no reason to believe she was abducted, having no contact or anything like that, we're simply treating it as if she is simply an endangered missing child," said Cole County Sheriff Greg White.The law creating the Amber Alert defines specific criteria, which include evidence of an abduction."We did receive the request for the endangered person advisory...and that did go out, said Lt. Tim Hull with the Highway Patrol.An ~endangered person advisory TM can be issued for a person of any age missing for just about any reason. Surrounding police agencies and local news media are contacted. There is no tone-activated crawl banner on TV screens, and no alarm to cell phones."We put this out to law enforcement all through the region F area, which is a 13-county area, and of course entered it into the NCIC which covers the United States, said White. So the simple difference would be how much the average citizen would get on it."The people who created the Amber Alert program in Missouri were sensitive to the possibility that overuse could blunt the effect. That's why it was limited to known cases of abduction as defined by organizations expert in the handling of missing children.Lt. Hull confirms the term 'missing' and 'abducted' do not mean the same thing.Amber Alerts have helped locate eight missing children in Missouri. Nationwide, that number is near 400 over a 13-year period.