Late on Sunday, January 13, 2013, a two-year-old Immokalee, Florida child was reported missing and believed to have been abducted. At the request of Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued an AMBER Alert. Under the direction of Collier County Sheriff’s Office, a Child Abduction Response Team (CART) of 88 persons from 26 agencies sprang into action to locate the child.
Fortunately, the child was found alive and safe hours later in a field not far from where she went missing, thanks to the dedicated efforts of law enforcement agencies in the area.
FDLE has been notified that many Floridians awoke to a loud AMBER Alert message broadcast to their smartphones via a new national system around 1:45 a.m. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), smartphone customers are automatically enrolled to receive various alerts, including AMBER Alerts.
FDLE has been advised that smartphone owners who want to opt out of these audible alerts can go to their ‘settings’ to turn off the alerts, or if that isn’t possible, to contact their service provider to opt out of the program. For a listing of participating providers and Frequently Asked Questions, please see the link below:
Because AMBER Alerts are vitally important, FDLE urges citizens to sign up for email AMBER Alerts generated by the FDLE Missing Endangered Persons Clearinghouse (MEPIC). You can sign up and learn more at:
AMBER Alerts save lives:
Last year, two children in Florida were safely recovered as a direct result of an AMBER Alert.
In March, a 2-week-old infant was abducted from West Palm Beach by a woman who befriended the mother online. MEPIC conducted research, identified the suspect and issued an AMBER Alert. A citizen saw the AMBER Alert and provided information that led to the safe recovery of the child.
In October, a 1-year-old boy from North Miami Beach was forcibly abducted along with his mother by the child’s father, who had an extensive criminal history and felony warrants. The vehicle involved was spotted by Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Mauricio Vasconcelos, who had seen the AMBER Alert. Trooper Vasconcelos conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and safely recovered the mother and child.
In August, 2010, an AMBER Alert was issued for a 1-year-old girl who was abducted after a suspect beat the child’s mother during a domestic dispute. A waitress at a restaurant in Lake City recognized the suspect and child from the AMBER Alert broadcast on television. She contacted law enforcement and the child was safely rescued.
More than 20,000 citizens have signed up at www.missingchildrenalert.com to receive Florida AMBER Alerts via e-mail. FDLE encourages citizens to sign up to receive these free alerts to help law enforcement quickly recover children when they go missing.