Friday, September 16, 2005

9/16/05 Rules Meant to be Broken?

Even though we all don't agree with it, the Amber Alert is only to be used in cases where a known danger to the missing person exists. Each state chooses their own criteria for when the alert is used. In Virginia, the home state of Taylor Behl, the criteria is as follows:

The abducted child must be 17 years of age or younger, and the law enforcement agency believes the child has been abducted (unwillingly taken from their environment without permission from the child’s parent or legal guardian).

The law enforcement agency believes the abducted child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death.

A law enforcement investigation has taken place that verified the abduction or eliminated alternative explanations.

Sufficient information is available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the child, suspect, and/or the suspect’s vehicle.

The Child must be entered into the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) missing person files as soon as practical.

If all of the aforementioned criteria are not met, the Virginia AMBER Alert Plan will not be activated.

Please notice that it says that ALL the criteria must be met in order to activate it. Authorities in Virginia activated it for Taylor today, but news sources state the following:

"Police have yet to find evidence of foul play. They have not foreclosed the possibility that Behl left campus voluntarily and is now perhaps reluctant to return, given the extensive publicity her disappearance has generated."

I understand there is a person of "interest" and search warrants issued and carried out. Even after that there is still no evidence of foul play, (at least none revealed yet) and nothing that would indicate the alert should have been utilized.

How then, does she qualify for an Amber Alert? Why is an exception being made? I will let the reader come to their own conclusions about that.

Again, I will state that we want Taylor to be found, soon and safe. We also want resources provided to the missing to be allocated to all of them, not just a select few. There is a reason why the Amber Alert has guidelines for activation. That reason is not because of pressure on the police due to media attention received.

There may be details they are holding back in which they know for sure that Taylor is in danger, but according to all the news sources read, there are still no positive indicators to that effect. I realize there might be something unsaid at this point in the investigation. Only time will tell, or, perhaps I should say that I hope all is revealed very soon.

I've lost count of the number of disraught parents of a missing child I've spoken to who lamented: "I asked them to do an Amber Alert on my missing son/daughter, and they said they couldn't do it." I then have to explain to them that it is because their child's case and known details did not fit the criteria. If they were to be aware of the case discussed today, how would I then explain this to them?

Postnote: I have emailed the Virgina Amber Alert site. Let's see if they respond.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like they admit it did not meet the criteria....

Police issued an Amber Alert for 17-year-old Taylor Behl on Thursday.

VDOT road signs also posted the Amber Alert, but only instructed drivers to call 511.

While Richmond and state police admit this case didn't meet the criteria for an Amber Alert, they said they wanted to make more people aware of the missing student.


11:33 AM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

I would say then, that they just opened up a can of worms.

Thank you for that information.


11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:45 AM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

I'm going to write to them sometime this weekend and pose the question. I'm sure I will get a "corporate" type of non-answer, though.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say it but it could be that someone close to the girl may be in law enforcement or government and that may be wise it was activated. It is important to find this girl but there are so many others who DO NOT get special treatment. My mother in laws nieces who were under 14 ran off with a 36 year old man. They did nothing because "oh they ran away". But they were 10 and 11!!! HELLO?! If these girls didnt live in a trailor park im sure authorities would have cared. Luckily they were ratted out by a friend of theirs. Really makes me mad how people of all ages are treated when they dont meet a certain "criteria".

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my above comment I made a few errors, SORRY!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Kelly Jolkowski said...

It's not so much that I care that they activated the Amber Alert, but now will they do it under similar circumstances for others? Somehow, I don't see that happening unless attitudes change.

8:05 PM  

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