AMBER Alert system helps locate 263 Texas children since 2002

Thursday, January 13, 2011 is the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of Amber Hagerman of...
Thursday, January 13, 2011 is the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of Amber Hagerman of Arlington.
Updated: Jan. 13, 2021 at 9:13 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - 25 years ago today, 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was grabbed off her bicycle in Arlington. Investigators found her body four days later.

“I miss her every day. She’s just so full of life. I want to know why, why her. She was only a little girl,” Donna Williams, Hegarman’s mother said.

The killer is still out there and despite going unsolved, her case has helped save thousands of other children across the nation.

State Trooper Johnny Bures says Texas was the first state to establish an AMBER Alert program.

“Since 2002 we’ve had 251 AMBER Alerts and we’ve found or recovered 263 children off of that. So, some of those had multiple children that were missing, maybe siblings that were together,” Bures said.

Bures says the program allows multiple agencies and media to work together to get information out quickly.

He says, in these instances, time is critical.

“The AMBER Alert tone goes off and it’s loud. But it’s like that for a reason because it’s meant to say hey, this is an emergency. We need your attention in this matter,” Bures said.

He says over the years, developments like electronic messages on TxDOT highway signs and cell phone alerts have helped get the public involved in finding these children.

While an unexpected notification on your phone can be annoying, authorities hope you will treat every instance like it’s your child who’s gone missing.

“This is a kiddo or kiddos that are missing out there that their family’s looking for them and we need to get them back together and out of harm’s way,” Bures said.

He encourages people to stay vigilant to help prevent these instances in their area.

His advice - get to know your neighbors and the parents of the kids your children hang out with.

He says if you see a strange car in your neighborhood visiting with kids, follow up on it.

“If you see something, say something. If it doesn’t seem right, follow up on it. Because it’s better off to just, oh okay, now that I checked into it, it makes sense. That’s fine. Instead of, that didn’t seem right and I wish I would’ve looked into that now,” Bures said.

All 50 states and several other countries now have an AMBER Alert program.

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