Why wasn’t an AMBER Alert issued sooner for missing Ohio girl?
UPDATE: The AMBER Alert was canceled around 10 p.m. Friday after the 5-year-old girl was found safe in Illinois. Jackson Township police said Jonathan Stinnett is under arrest and in custody for kidnapping and abduction.
Original story below.
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WOIO) - An AMBER Alert has been issued for a missing 5-year-old girl who authorities say was abducted by a 36-year-old man.
The girl was last seen around 6:15 p.m. Thursday in Canton, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Jackson Township police said.
Authorities said she is believed to be in danger. A poster from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said she was abducted by a non-family member.
But, the AMBER Alert wasn’t issued until about 20 hours after the little girl was last seen, and many are asking why that was the case.
An Endangered Missing Child Alert was issued for her just after midnight Friday, but authorities then changed it to an AMBER Alert around 2 p.m. Friday.
Major Jim Monigold with the Jackson Township Police Department said his department tried to initially get an AMBER Alert issued but said not enough criteria was met.
“Initially, there was no direct threat is what the issue was,” Mayor Monigold told 19 News.
An Endangered Missing Child Alert accomplishes the same thing as an AMBER Alert but does not use the wireless emergency alert or the emergency alert system.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety: “The Endangered Missing Child Alert was created for missing children cases, where the missing circumstances do not meet the AMBER Alert criteria, but the child’s life is still considered at risk of serious bodily harm or death if the child is not found quickly.”
The state department says the following criteria must be met to initiate the Endangered Missing Child Alert:
- Law enforcement confirms the child is under 18 years of age.
- Law enforcement confirms the child is missing, such as lost, non-witnessed/non-confirmed abduction or the child’s whereabouts are unknown.
- Law enforcement believes the missing circumstances pose a credible threat of serious bodily harm or death to the child.
- There is sufficient descriptive information about the child and the circumstances surrounding the disappearance that the alert activation will help locate the child.
“They re-evaluated the information they had,” Major Monigold said, referring to the switch to an AMBER Alert.
Authorities have reason to believe the girl is with 36-year-old Jonathan Stinnett, according to an alert issued early Friday.
Stinnett is driving a silver 1991 Ford Aerostar van with Michigan license plate EHL7187.
She has blonde/strawberry hair and blue eyes. She is 3′9″ and weighs 55 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink t-shirt and rainbow-colored pants.
Stinnett has brown hair and hazel eyes. He is 5′10″ and 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a short-sleeve maroon t-shirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information should call 911 or the Jackson Township Police Department at (330) 832-1553.
Editor’s Note: Following the cancelation of the AMBER Alert, the little girl’s name and photo were removed from this story.
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