The steps authorities take to issue an Amber Alert
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Thursday, two babies were reported missing in the city of Memphis, resulting in massive searches by the Memphis Police Department.
Thursday morning, 1-year-old Isiah Edwards was reported missing by his mother who told authorities he was inside a car when it was stolen. The situation quickly triggered an Amber Alert from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
It was later discovered the child was never inside the car, but rather at a relative’s home safe and sound.
Several hours later, A’Lelah Fentress was reported missing after her mother went to pick her up from daycare only to discover she wasn’t there. Another woman has reportedly picked her up that day.
The disappearance of another child prompted many to wonder what is the criteria for an Amber Alert and why it can seem to take so long.
According to the TBI, there are a series of steps that must be taken before an alert can be issued.
Once a child is reported missing, the investigator has to conduct initial interviews, verify that the child is in fact missing and determine the circumstances surrounding the disappearance. Authorities also have to determine if the child ran away, was taken by a family member or abducted, among other things.
If officers believe the child is in imminent danger of physical injury or death, they must then obtain a description of the child, the suspect or the vehicle and hand it over to the TBI. From there, authorities will enter the child’s information into the NCIC Missing Persons File and distribute that information to other law enforcement agencies and the media.
It’s only after all those steps are taken that local authorities are able to call the TBI and ask for an Amber Alert to be activated.