AMBER Alerts to Go Up on Facebook

ALEXANDRIA, VA.: AMBER Alerts will soon become available on Facebook. Users of the social media platform will be able to sign up for AMBER Alerts in their state/region, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Details will be forthcoming Wednesday, when the group holds on the initiative.

The presser is being held the day before the 15th anniversary of the abduction of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington, Texas. A neighbor heard her scream and saw a man pull her off her bike, throw her into the front seat of his pickup truck and drive away. Local radio and television stations covered the story, but her body later was found in a drainage ditch four miles away.

Amber Hagerman’s kidnapping and murder still remain unsolved, but the incident launched the creation of the national notification system that bears her name. America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response--AMBER Alerts--have been credited with the recovery of at least 525 children since the program was started in 1997. A recent child abduction in Fresno, Calif., was foiled when a man who’d seen an AMBER Alert chased down the suspect's vehicle. The driver was arrested. (See “Man Rescues Abducted Child After Seeing AMBER Alert.”) There are now 120 AMBER Alert plans across the country and others in France, England, Canada, Greece and Portugal.

Presser participants will include Laurie Robinson, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs and National AMBER coordinator; Ernie Allen, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children; Chris Sonderby, lead security and investigations counsel for Facebook; and Col. Steven Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police. It will be streamed live on the Washington, D.C. Facebook Livestream player page.
-- Deborah D. McAdams