ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – On a cold Thursday night Amber Hagerman’s mom, brother and grandmother come together to remember the 9-year-old.
For 15 years now her mother Donna Norris has prayed for justice for her little girl. “I love my daughter so much just to see her in the casket butchered the way she was, no child should have to go through that,” says Norris.
An old teacher and a childhood friend were at the memorial there as support for Amber’s family.
Cassie Freeman lived just down the street from Amber. “Now I’m 23, and I’m still here and processing what happened when I was 9 years to my friend,” said Freeman.
Amber was kidnapped near her grandparents home at the corner of East Abram and Browning Drive in Arlington on January 13, 1996.
Her body turned up in a North Arlington creek four days after she vanished. The killer had slashed her throat.
Police have never made an arrest in the case, only one witness has come forward.
The only description Arlington Police can go on about Amber’s killer is that they were in a black truck and may have been white or hispanic.
Out of her death the Amber Alert System was born. For it to be activated a child must be 17-years-old or younger, believed to have been abducted and their life in danger.
“The Amber Alert is not to find a lost child,” says Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson “The guidelines are that you feel someone has been abducted and their life and safety is in danger.”
Sheriff Anderson was a media spokesperson with the Arlington Police Department when Amber was killed.
He also helped create the notification system.
Anderson says Amber’s case would have been the perfect scenario when an Amber Alert should be issued. There was an eyewitness who watched the abduction and believed Amber was in danger.
Sheriff Anderson says all these years later it can still be confusing. “If you are some newly hired police chief in some town and you vaguely heard about it I think there is confusion and I think it’s important for law enforcement community to stay educated,” he explains.
It is estimated that the lives of more than five hundred children have been saved so far by the activation of the Amber Alert System. That’s the legacy Amber left behind. It’s what her mother is most proud of on this day.