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Monday, December 2, 2013

California: AMBER Alerts Expanded After Disturbing Deaths

California Bill amends AMBER Alert criteria to make clear that the taking of an endangered child - regardless of the child's custodial status - could qualify for an AMBER Alert.

Cristina Harbison woke up on June 9, 2005, stunned to find blank freeway signs -- and no statewide Amber Alert for a troubled mother from unincorporated Walnut Creek, CA and her 5-year-old daughter.

Harbison, a Walnut Creek patrol officer at the time, had received a disturbing call the night before about a missing 39-year-old mother, Mary Alicia Driscoll, who had told family members she planned to harm herself and her daughter, Jineva.

But the next morning, colleagues informed Harbison that the California Highway Patrol had denied the request for an Amber Alert. Because Driscoll had sole custody of Jineva, they said, this did not qualify as an "abduction" under CHP guidelines. Read more »

AMBER Alert: Since 2002, California law enforcement has had the ability to issue Amber Alerts for missing and endangered children. Here are Amber Alert statistics in its decade-plus existence:

  • Amber Alert activations: 216
  • Amber Alerts denied: 365*
  • Number of victims abducted: 264
  • Victims recovered or deemed safe: 254
  • Suspects apprehended: 124
  • Stranger abductions: 41
  • Parental abductions: 92
  • Acquaintance abductions: 58
  • Hoax: 15
  • Unfounded: 10

*Reasons for denial are not tracked
Source: California Highway Patrol 
Written by Matthias Gafni

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