Written by Nikki Newbrough, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
A national non-profit organization in Florida is working to bring missing persons home safe, even right here in Eastern Iowa.
Precious Murray was reported missing Thursday morning. After a ten hour search, Waterloo Police found the 10-year-old girl safe at a family member's home.
To get the word out during their search the police department used an alert service called "A Child is Missing."
James Johnson has six kids and cannot imagine one of them missing.
"It's difficult, but it's something you got to think about," said Johnson.
When Murray was reported missing Thursday, Johnson got an alert, but it was a KWWL breaking news text message.
The Waterloo Police Department also used the national service called "A Child is Missing."
It is based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When someone is missing the police alert the headquarters and they then put out an alert.
In Thursday's case with Precious Murray the area that was notified was a five mile radius around her home.
"Then what the system does is it starts to call those numbers and it has an automated message that says a young child is missing. It gives a name and description on who we are looking for," said Captain Tim Pillack, Waterloo Police Department.
Not everyone will get the phone call though. It only gets sent to people who have phones on public record. Which means, if you have a cell phone, you must go the a website and sign up.
"To be quite honest every set of eyes and ears that we have out there in a situation like this and one of your loved ones may come missing at some point in time and you're going to want to use this system," said Pillack.
As for Johnson, he didn't know about this service, but says he wants to sign up.
"Very helpful because allows everybody else to be aware of what's going on," said Johnson.
This system isn't just for missing children, it is for anyone who is missing.
Captain Pillack said they have only used the service a handful of times since they've used the service the past three years.
Waterloo Police use the alert when they feel they need to, and every time they have used it, it has been successful.
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