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The Girl Who Inspired the Amber Alert: Remembering Amber Hagerman, 26 Years Later |  KTAB

ARLINGTON, TX (NewsNation Now) – 26 years ago, 9-year-old Amber Hagerman went biking with her brother Ricky to their hometown of Arlington, Texas, and she never returned. Although her case was never resolved, the little girl’s legacy has been long – inspiring Amber Alerts who have since helped more than 1,000 children return home.

A single eyewitness to Amber’s kidnapping told police he saw a black truck approaching her as she drove into the parking lot in front of her house.

“The suspect ran behind her, grabbed her under his arms and lifted her off his bike,” said Detective Grant Gildon who has been assigned to her case.

Four days later, Amber’s body was found in a stream bed a few miles from where she was taken and a medical examiner determined that the cause of her death was injuries to her throat. . Although Amber’s case has never been resolved, detectives continue to hope for advice that could lead to a breakdown of the case. NewsNation’s Markie Martin has learned that the only eyewitness to her kidnapping has died.

In the months following Amber’s murder in 1996, broadcasters in the Dallas area worked with local police to establish Amber’s now well-known alert system. It took nearly a decade for every state to adopt the alert system that has helped 1,085 children to be recovered across the country.

“It’s another legacy for my daughter, that she didn’t die in vain, that she still takes care of our grandchildren like she did when she was here,” Amber’s mother said, Donna Williams. “So, I am very proud of my daughter for everything she has done for our children here. ”

A glaring problem at the center of the system is that each state defines its own criteria for activating an amber alert. Some states require proof of abduction while others do not. The Justice Department has also warned against misusing Amber Alerts, so as not to desensitize those who receive them.

“The Amber Alert is only for cases that meet a very strict set of criteria and therefore whatever a state’s criteria they must follow those criteria while activating the system,” the public safety expert said. Janell Rasmussen in an interview with NewsNation Prime’s Marni Hughes. . “However, most states have a secondary system in place where they can send information to the media in cases where a child is missing or an adult is in danger and we need to release that information to the public.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which began tracking Amber Alerts in 2005, more than 3,000 alerts have been issued and nearly 99% of cases have been resolved.


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