Texas mom wants Amber Alert criteria changed

Police push for answers in Bedford teen's death

BEDFORD, TEXAS - As the investigation continues into the death of 14-year-old Kaytlynn Cargill, many are asking why an Amber Alert was never issued following her disappearance.

"That was my first thought, 'Why haven't they issued an Amber Alert? Why hasn't my phone gone off?'" said Summer Weaver, a Bedford mom to four children. 

Weaver says she watches out for Amber Alerts and would want every resource available if her kids went missing.

"Every parent of a missing child and every missing child deserves that kind of exposure," Weaver said.

The national Amber Alert network was built after the abduction and murder of Arlington 9-year-old Amber Hagerman in the 1990s. There is no question that Amber Alerts can work. Bedford Police acknowledged that many are questioning why one wasn't used in this case.

"The simple answer is there are specific criteria that law enforcement has to follow in terms of initiating an Amber Alert," said Police Chief Jeff Gibson.

Texas follows national guidelines for Amber Alerts. According to Texas DPS, the alerts are restricted to a narrow purpose. Children must be 17 years and younger and involved in an abduction, where law enforcement believes the child is in immediate danger. Law enforcement agencies are asked to rule out other possible explanations for a child's disappearance before an Amber Alert is issued, and they also need to be able to provide the public with sufficient information to help, like a suspect description or vehicle information.

The guidelines are intended to prevent abuse of the system and keep it effective.

Bedford Police did not think Kaytlynn's case met the criteria at the time she went missing.

"No information led us to believe that Kaytlynn had been abducted or kidnapped," said Gibson.

Weaver wants guidelines to be changed to make it easier for law enforcement to issue alerts for any missing child.  She feels so strongly about it, she started an online petition calling for change.

"Any kid missing is in imminent danger, because this is a dangerous world," said Weaver.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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