San Diego abduction shows successful use of Amber Alert system
Hannah Anderson case was the first time multi-state cell phone network was used
The Amber Alert system, where children who are suspected of being abducted or kidnapped getting immediate widespread media attention is being credited with saving countless lives. The search for San Diego teenager Hannah Anderson is one of the system's most recent success stories. While the Anderson case is among the higher profile cases, as Robert Hoever, director of special operations at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children points out, that instance was just an example of the countless times the Amber Alert system has been successfully used.
The search for San Diego teenager Hannah Anderson is one of the Amber Alert system's most recent success stories.
Hoever defined "success stories" as verified abduction reports in which children are recovered safely.
Of the 2,064 abducted or missing children who underwent Amber Alerts between 2005 and 2012, 394 were rescued. The vast majority of those cases, or 2,030 were resolved. The term "resolved" can mean different meanings, such as false alarms. Some cases remain ongoing. Investigations take time and actions taken in the first hours after a child disappears are crucial, experts say.
"Hannah's case stood out because it has other tragedies -- the killing of her mother and brother, the nationwide manhunt. But it's also very important because it was just textbook how this program should be used," Hoever says. "You had the combination of a new technology, with very careful moves by investigators to broaden the sending of the Amber Alerts as new leads came in."
A 10-second, high-pitched tone rang on thousands of mobile phones across the West Coast on August 4, which was the first use of a new wireless alert system.
The alert announced that authorities in Southern California were looking for 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and her eight-year-old brother Ethan. Their grandmother had reported them missing, the same day that James DiMaggio's home burned down. Red flags went up after the children's father would later describe DiMaggio as a onetime family friend.
Inside DiMaggio's burned home were the remains of the children's mother, Christina Anderson and a body that would later be identified as Ethan's. Hannah had last been seen at cheerleading practice near her San Diego home August 3.
Acting on a tip that DiMaggio might be heading into Nevada, the alerts were expanded to that state. When new clues suggested DiMaggio might be entering Oregon and Washington state, the alerts were activated there. When the state of Idaho became a possible destination, cell phones buzzed there, too.
Hannah's abduction was the first time the new, federally administered Wireless Emergency Alerts program was issued statewide.
"The wireless program was also used in five states at one time," Hoever said. "That is the largest use of the program I've seen."
Horseback riders that spotted Hannah and DiMaggio in rugged Idaho terrain sensed something was wrong. The teenager and the man were inappropriately dressed for the wilderness and their tent was pitched on a mountain like someone inexperienced in camping might do.
Exchanging a few words with DiMaggio, they later saw Hannah's Amber Alert on television.
The riders contacted Idaho State Police, and their tip over sent FBI agents swarming to the camping spot outside Cascade, in central Idaho.
Hannah was rescued. DiMaggio died in a confrontation with an FBI agent.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More U.S. News
- Fr. Paul Schenck: The New Eugenics, 'Better Babies' and the Dangers of Biotechnology
- Interview With Cardinal SeŠn Patrick O'Malley Gives Insights into the Heart of Pope Francis
- Deal W. Hudson: Why Social Conservatives Should Become Cultural Conservatives
- CORPORATE SPY: Engineering consultant accused of stealing secrets from DuPont for Chinese
- 24th season of Defending Life Premiered March 5th on EWTN
- Justina Pelletier: Massachusetts DCF Running for Cover Under Legal and Media Pressure
- Matt C. Abbott On a New Book, The Seven Big Myths About Marriage
- Deal Hudson on Culture and the Death of God
- 'Ag gag' bill passes in Idaho; filming at farms now prohibited
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?