Picture this: It’s midnight and your phone is going crazy from an Amber Alert. A little girl is missing and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a white top.
Your heart is racing because this is the third alert you’ve gotten this week and you haven’t heard any updates on any of the other missing girls. Like with many Amber Alerts, there’s never an update if the person is found, but why not?
“There’s been plenty of times where I wanted to know if the missing person, especially a child, was found,” Marie Rejouis said.
Rejouis is a former childcare instructor and for her, it’s always hurtful to see an Amber Alert come to her phone about missing children.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement sends out wireless emergency alerts to inform the public about kidnappings and missing child reports. Each alert is done on a case by case basis.
Due to there being a limit on the number of characters that can be added to a message from the state government, there’s only information that can be put out.
“We are very cognizant about alerts,” Gretle Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said.
The Emergency Alert System alerts are strategically sent out during the daylight hours to make sure people are aware of what’s going on around them. People looking for updates on if the person was found can find updates on the FDLE website.
The EAS sends out different alerts including Amber Alerts, missing children reports and enhanced missing children reports. Each report carries a different level of seriousness.
Amber Alerts are usually issued when a child is kidnapped in the state and is in imminent danger, meaning that it is urgent. According to the FDLE website, in order for an Amber Alert to be activated, the child must under 18, and law enforcement has to have found reason to believe that the child is in serious danger. With missing children alerts, the investigation has to show that child/children is in danger. Lastly, enhanced missing children alerts show that the missing child is in imminent danger.
Which each situation, they all must show that the child is in danger.
“We only send the most serious cases,” Plessinger said.
Although there have been a lot of cases, Plessinger reported that the FDLE has success stories about missing children due to help from the public. She encourages the public to speak up if they hear or see anything suspicious.
If someone would like to sign up to receive text messages or emails they can sign up online on missingchild.com