AMBER Alert Briefs – Issue 4 2021
Short News Clips on AMBER Alert & Child Protection Issues
New Tennessee law requires parents to notify police about missing children
Tennessee now requires parents to notify police about missing children within 24 hours or face criminal charges. Evelyn’s Law went into effect on July 1, 2021, and it stipulates charging parents with a Class A misdemeanor for failing to timely report a missing child. The law is named after Evelyn Boswell, a 15-old-month who was found dead months after she initially went missing.
U.S. Marshals recover 19 missing children during sweep in southeastern states
An operation based in New Orleans called “This is The Way Home” rescued or recovered 19 missing and endangered runaways. The U.S. Marshals located or helped return another 20 children during the sweep that ran from March 1 to June 30, 2021, in Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Texas and Tennessee. The operation included an AMBER Alert that led to the safe recovery of a missing one-month-old boy from Arkansas. Officers also arrested nine adults on charges including felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and/or contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Virginia has new alert for missing adults with autism
A new Virginia law took effect on July 1, 2021, that creates a public alert to help find missing adults with autism. The Jamile Hill Law for Justice covers situations that do not fit the criteria for an AMBER Alert or other alerts. Jamile Hill wandered away in October 2020 and drowned in a swampy area a mile from her home.
Rock band updates song that brought attention to missing children
The rock band Soul Asylum has created a new version of its hit song “Runaway Train.” The video for the 1993 tune included images of real-life missing and runaway children. The song and video have been updated with new names and images. “The problem’s never gonna go away, although I think there’s been progress made,” said singer Dave Pirner. “They didn’t have an AMBER Alert back when we made the video...” NCMEC said the original video helped reunite 21 missing children with their families.
Family of missing child wants to expand the AMBER Alert criteria in Iowa
The aunt of a missing child has started an online petition to broaden Iowa’s AMBER Alert criteria. Michelle Harrelson has gathered more than 3,000 signatures on Change.org after Xavior Harrelson went missing on May 27, 2021. Authorities said the situation did not qualify for an AMBER Alert. Harrelson plans to approach lawmakers about her proposed changes in January.
Arkansas A.G. honors officer for revamping state’s AMBER Alert
Retired Arkansas State Police Officer Mark Hollingsworth received the Arkansas Attorney General Star of Excellence Award for overhauling the state’s AMBER Alert program. Hollingsworth was honored July 2021 at the annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action conference. Hollingsworth changed the internal action plan for the Arkansas AMBER Alert system so it provides more training for local law enforcement officers to handle cases involving children in imminent danger.
Statue unveiled that honors two missing Florida teens
A new monument has been created to honor two Florida boys who vanished at sea. A large crowd gathered in July 2021 for the unveiling of the statue recognizing Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos. The 14-year-olds disappeared in 2015 near Jupiter, Florida. The family of Stephanos hope to create an Austin Alert to help find missing boaters.
Indiana considers Lenny Alert for missing children with autism
Community members are hoping to create a Lenny Alert for missing autistic children. The alert would be named for Lenny Hatinda, a non-verbal five-year-old who drowned in a pool a tenth of a mile from his home on July 29. 2021. The alert would notify the public in a targeted area when an autistic child goes missing.