By TYLER MASK
Child safety is an ever-growing concern in the United States. With child exploitation and abductions occurring on a daily basis, it is no surprise that organizations and awareness movements are going on the offensive more with every passing day.
Texas Department of Public Safety Officials joined with law enforcement from around the country, Monday, in observance of National AMBER Alert Awareness Day.
AMBER is an acronym for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. The system was created by Dallas-Fort Worth area law enforcement and media representatives in 1996.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan said that Mineral Wells has dealt with an AMBER Alert in the past; fortunately, it has been a very long time.
“(AMBER Alert) is a means of communication that has been very successful even though it has evolved from a very unfortunate event,” Sullivan said when asked about the importance of AMBER Alert. “It is a very powerful tool in trying to locate missing or endangered children, and it is very beneficial.”
Nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted from an abandoned Arlington grocery store parking lot18 years ago, Monday. She was out for an afternoon bike ride when a stranger showed up, took her and rode off in his truck. A few days later, her body was found – naked and lifeless – in a drainage ditch within four miles of her abduction site. Her throat was slit.
Since then, police have had almost 7000 dead-end leads and are as close to finding Amber’s killer as they were in 1996 when she was slain.
Child abduction statistics seem nearly as disheartening as the story of Amber Hagerman. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the following are just a few of those statistics:
• More than 200,000 children are abducted each year by family members.