NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was 16 years ago today that a tragedy surrounding one North Texas child led to the creation of a worldwide system to protect and help children.
“This is the anniversary of Amber Hagerman’s abduction, which led to the original Amber Alert, after she was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington in 1996,” explained Tom Vinger, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The Amber Alert child locating system was named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while playing near her Arlington home in 1996. Her body was found days later in a nearby creek.
Amber Alert Awareness Day is commemorated across the nation on January 13.
Vinger said while the Amber Alert system was started locally, it quickly expanded.
“Every state in the nation has one. Some other countries have one,” he said. “Texas has local Amber Alerts and we also have the ability to do statewide or regional Amber Alerts.”
An Amber Alert is activated if has been confirmed that a child has been abducted or is believed to be in imminent danger.
The statewide Amber Alert system went into effect in 2002 and so far has led to the safe recovery of 82 kidnapped children.
According to Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, who serves as the National Amber Alert Coordinator, more than 550 children, nationwide, have been recovered as a result of the Amber Alert network.