AMBER Alert: What’s required to send one?


LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Questions have come up as to why people in Mid-Michigan weren’t notified in an AMBER Alert regarding the disappearance of 13 year old Deontae Mitchell.

6 News spoke with law enforcement officials today to find out how an AMBER Alert begins.

According to the Department of Justice, up to 4600 children are abducted by strangers every year which is a total of 12 children a day nationally.

“It’s essential for an AMBER Alert to go out as quick as possible…within an hour of the abduction is our best chance of recovering the child safely,” Executive Director/CEO of Michigan Sheriff’s Association Terrence Jungel said.

In order for an alert to go public, certain requirements must be met.

“Our criteria in Michigan currently is that the child has to be under the age of 17, they have to be either the victim of a stranger or acquaintance kidnapping or they have to be in threat of serious bodily harm or death,” Biometrics in Identification Division of the MSP & Missing Person’s Unit, Detective Sergeant Sarah Krebs stated.

However, in the case of Deontae Mitchell, an AMBER Alert did not go to the Lansing area.

“I know specifically in this case, we didn’t have witnesses that were coming forward,” Krebs said.

Besides the lack of witnesses, Sergeant Krebs says police did not have a license plate to help identify the kidnapper either.

“We wouldn’t want to just push out the child’s name and that we had an AMBER Alert because that’s not gonna do the public much good to have that information,” Krebs mentioned.

Every case is different and officials can issue the alert to a specific region or send it statewide.

“Every case is gonna be based on what the investigators are bringing to the table during the course of our investigation,” Krebs said.

“The success isn’t getting the information to law enforcement, the success is getting the information to our eyes and ears of the motoring public,” stated Jungel.

Besides the criteria already mentioned, an AMBER Alert will also sound if a child is with a convicted sex offender, with a person convicted of domestic violence or with an individual involved in the exploitation of a child.

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