15 years of AMBER Alert - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

15 years of AMBER Alert

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The AMBER Alert system is now 15 years old.

It started in Texas in 1996 and is named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle and then murdered.
Today, police say they get 3-4 new leads every month, but detectives aren't any closer to solving the mystery of who killed her.
But Amber's family is optimistic that some day the suspect will be caught and brought to justice.

While it began in Texas, the AMBER alert has become adopted nationwide.
The acronym AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.

Now an AMBER Alert is put into effect when authorities determine:
- an abduction has taken place
- the child is at risk of serious injury or death
- there is sufficient descriptive information of the child, captor or captor's vehicle
- the child must be 17 years old or younger

Since it was first used, the AMBER Alert has helped bring 525 children across the United States home safely.

There have been 15 AMBER Alerts issued in Iowa.
14 children have been located safely.

The one who was not -- Jetseta Gage, who was taken from her home in Cedar Rapids, on March 24th, 2005.
Authorities later found the body of Jetseta in abandoned mobile home.
Family friend Roger Bentley was convicted of her murder, and is serving a life prison term.

You may also remember five-year-old Evelyn Miller, who rescuers found murdered after she disappeared from her mother's apartment.
While there was a six-day search for the girl, authorities never issued an AMBER Alert for Evelyn because her case didn't meet the requirements.

A lot has changed in the past 15 years in the way people receive information.
That's one reason Facebook now has AMBER Alert pages for every state.

If you don't have a Facebook page, you can still be notified of Iowa AMBER alerts.
Sign up to have alerts sent to your cell phone through text message on the Iowa AMBER Alert website.



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