What constitutes an Amber Alert?
After a 5-year-old girl went missing from Atlanta Community Schools, viewers asked why the Montmorency County Sheriff's Department did not issue an Amber Alert. Deputies say her father picked her up from school, but did not have parental rights. The girl was found and her father was arrested.
In order to issue an Amber Alert the situation must meet one or more of these requirements:
- The child is under the age of 17
- The child suffers from a severe mental or physical disability that impairs their ability to care for him/herself
- He or she is a victim of stranger or acquaintance kidnapping
- The child is with a person with a history of child abuse/neglect, sexual or domestic assault, victimizes children or plans on harming the child, or is suicidal
- The child has been abducted by a non-custodial parent whose parental rights have been terminated
The Montmorency County Sheriff's Department says they did notify the Michigan State Police about the missing 5-year-old. State Police decided the situation did not meet the criteria for a state-wide alert.
Every missing child will not necessarily activate an Amber Alert. The alert cannot be activated for a runaway child, according to Michigan State Police. It also cannot be activated for a child who is a victim of a parental abduction involved in a civil dispute. The final decision on whether to issue the Amber Alert is up to local law enforcement and Michigan State Police.