Case of missing McGregor girls has many asking, ‘What criteria is there for an Amber Alert?’

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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McGREGOR, Texas (KWTX) - Chances are you’ve heard the Amber Alert sound blaring from your phone on multiple occasions.

It’s important that you read them as a missing child could be in your area.

AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was created in 1996 as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then brutally murdered.

Since the inception of the alert system, non-profits like Amber Alert Brazos Valley and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children have been created to aid law enforcement in their search efforts.

CLICK HERE for guidelines on when to request an Amber Alert

“Amber Alert was created, originally, the intent was to deal with those most serious of cases. Those involving missing children and abductions,” said Amber Alert Brazos Valley Executive Director Chuck Fleeger.

As of May 2022, more than a thousand missing children across the nation have been reunited with their families thanks to the Amber Alert system.

“We will assist local law enforcement and family of the missing in any instance of a missing person,” Fleeger said.

Many KWTX viewers took to Facebook to voice their concern about why it took so long for authorities to issue an Amber Alert for missing McGregor girls, Emiliee Solomon and Aysha Cross.

They had been missing since June 28 and police initially said they did not meet Department of Public Safety criteria for Amber Alerts. On Monday, July 4, however, an Amber Alert was issued for the girls after police were sent a screenshot from Cross’ Snapchat story with the message “help.”

Fleeger said there’s many things to check before sending out the alert, most importantly, ensuring a police report has been filed.

“Our requirement is that the missing person has been reported to law enforcement. That is very critical. They can bring those resources they get that missing person entered into those state and national database,” said Fleeger.

Fleeger also discussed other requirements for the amber alert notification.

“Missing children under the age of 17. There has to be an instance where there’s an abduction believed to occurred. Bodily injury, sexual assault, things of that nature, it can also qualify for an Amber Alert at that point.”

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