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AMBER Alert update: 5-year-old boy kidnapped in East Texas found safe, sheriff's office says

The child appeared unharmed and the suspect was taken into custody by Mitchell County Sheriff's Office deputies near Colorado City.
Credit: DPS

OVERTON, Texas — A woman who was charged with kidnapping an East Texas boy leading to an AMBER Alert has been booked into the Smith County Jail.

The Smith County Sheriff's Office tells CBS19 the child was found Nov. 21, in Colorado City, Texas, which is west of Abilene. The pair was found by the Texas Dept. of Public Safety trooper while headed west on Interstate 20. Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith says evidence revealed the woman was headed for Arizona.

The suspect, identified as Pamala Medlock, 59, was initially in custody of the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office. On Saturday, she was booked into the Smith County Jail on a charge of kidnapping. Her bond was set at $250,000.

The child was interviewed by the Children's Advocacy Center in Smith County and has been returned to his family. The child had no signs of abuse or trauma. He also made no outcry of abuse, according to Sheriff Smith.

Prior to being located, the child was last seen Sunday, Nov. 20, around 11 a.m. in the 23400 block of FM 838.

THE ALLEGED ABDUCTION

The Smith County Sheriff’s Office says the child initially left the home Sunday afternoon with Medlock, who is described as a family friend, so she could get him a toy for his birthday. The family has not seen the child, nor Medlock, since. The SCSO says they were alerted of the missing child around 3 a.m. Monday morning.

The SCSO says Medlock does not have a permanent address, but frequents the Overton and Kilgore areas. She's also a regular at the Valero convenience store in Overton, the SCSO said. Authorities tell CBS19 Medlock may have mental health issues and a history of drug use. 

Officials were looking for the suspect's dark green 2007 Jeep Wrangler with a spare tire on the back with the Texas license plate: RVZ5847.

The SCSO says the child and Medlock were caught on camera Sunday at the Wal-Mart on Troup Hwy. in Tyler. They were seen walking into the front door at 2:41 p.m. A photo of her vehicle was also captured in the same Wal-Mart parking lot.

Law enforcement says the Jeep was later spotted, around 5 p.m. Sunday, in Kaufman County.

WHAT IS AN AMBER ALERT?

Community reaction to the 1996 kidnapping and death of Amber Hagerman, 9, of Arlington, prompted local media and law enforcement to create the nation’s first AMBER Alert program in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

AMBER Alerts inform the public of serious child abductions, in an effort to promote tips and leads to law enforcement.

In memory of the tragic death of Hagerman, the letters of her name can be seen within the title of the program, America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER).

In 2002, then-Gov. Rick Perry created the state's AMBER Alert network per Executive Order RP-16, later codified through legislation in 2003. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was given legislative authority to coordinate the state's AMBER Alert network, which served as the role model for the subsequent Silver, Blue and Endangered Missing Persons alert programs.

The information below represents AMBER Alert criteria for the state's network:

  • Is this child 17 years of age or younger, whose whereabouts are unknown, and whose disappearance law enforcement has determined to be unwilling which poses a credible threat to the child's safety and health; and if abducted by a parent or legal guardian, was the abduction in the course of an attempted murder or murder?
  • Is this child 13 years of age or younger, who was taken (willingly or unwillingly) without permission from the care and custody of a parent or legal guardian by: (A) Someone unrelated and more than three years older; or (B) another parent or legal guardian who attempted or committed murder at the time of the abduction?
  • Is this child in immediate danger of sexual assault, death or serious bodily injury?
  • Has a preliminary investigation verified the abduction and eliminated alternative explanations for the child's disappearance?
  • Is sufficient information available to disseminate to the public to help locate the child, a suspect, or the vehicle used in the abduction?

To view other active AMBER Alerts, click here.

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