Did the Amber Alert System Criteria Fail?

Amber AlertCoram, NY.

Every parent’s worst nightmare came true this week on Long Island. A fire, a missing firearm and, an abducted child and a homicide/suicide in the span of a few hours.

Suffolk County Police responded to a blaze at a condominium complex in Coram, NY. While at the seen, the boy’s mother, reported that the child’s father failed to return the child and the fire was in his condo. At that moment, an Amber Alert should have been requested.

The New York State Police Special Victim’s Unit enters Amber Alerts from every requesting NYS agency. Before an alert can be issued, it must fit a certain criteria.

According to the NYS Amber Alert website, the following criteria must be met:

– “The child must be under the age of eighteen (18)”
– “The child Is believed to be in danger of serious bodily harm or death, either due to the actions of another or due to a proven mental or physical condition”

According to the Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart, the New York State Police denied the Amber Alert request. There could be a valid reason for this, however, all evidence was pointing to a potential problem:

  • An abduction
  • A fire at the residence of the abduction
  • Mother of child states father’s child has firearms
  • Suspect’s vehicle crosses into New Jersey via the George Washington Bridge

I don’t know if the Amber Alert would have saved the boy, but there may have been opportunities to disrupt the father’s evil plan. I also think that in the future when an Amber Alert is denied, supervisors from the respective departments should be consulted. It’s worth it to exhaust all available means to get the job done – err on the side of caution.

I had the opportunity to discuss the case with Joe Torres of Eyewitness News ABC 7 NY: