FL Sheriffs Get a Positive Result to an AMBER Alert
On November 6th a Pensacola, FL family had their worst nightmare come to life when a mother left her child inside her Jeep. Taking just a minute to step back inside their house, a stranger climbed inside and drove off. Quickly activating the AMBER alert, state officials now had people across the area on the lookout for the Jeep.
In 1996, America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response alert was developed with Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters and local PD linked up to help get the word out when kids were missing. Simply called an AMBER alert, it was invented following the death of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman. Kidnapped as she rode her bike in Arlington, TX, she was savagely murdered following her abduction. Seeing the success of the program, other states quickly formed their own.
Activating the alert and looking at evidence, they discovered the suspect was likely armed, and they ascertained he was headed for Atlanta, GA. Escambia County Sheriff’s Deputies found the stolen Jeep parked just outside a bar in Pensacola. When officers approached, they quickly discovered the child was safe and sound inside. Later, with cameras rolling, Sheriff Chip Simmons was seen carrying the girl, identified as Isobel Battese back to her stepmom.
Later, Sheriff Simmons talked with reporters about the young girl. Seemingly unphased by her ride, he said she was chatty about kindergarten as well as concerned about her mom’s vehicle. As for the drive back home, the Sheriff said, “She was giving me directions to where her bus stop is and to where her home is. Obviously, one of the best car rides I’ve had in my law enforcement career.”
On November 7th, the Sheriff’s Department made an announcement online, “The suspect, Miracle Armstrong, remains at large. If you have any information on her whereabouts, please call Crime Stoppers at 850-433-STOP or the ECSO at 850-436-9620.” Amazingly, around 11 p.m. on the 7th, Miracle was identified from her mugshot. Arrested and charged without further incident, the family got a quick response all the way around.
AMBER alerts like these work for one simple reason; they stick out. With significant rules behind the alerts, they need to meet the criteria to have a warning issued. When those are met, local officers and public news stations don’t hesitate to get that information out. It has also spurned other alerts like the silver alert for missing senior citizens.
For the ECSO this is an incredible moment. While they would never wish for such a situation to occur, when the opportunity presents itself, they are grateful to have the tools, knowledge, and wherewithal to ensure the job is done promptly and to the standard. This isn’t the kind of tasking that can get put on the back burner either. In incidents like these, the longer a child goes missing, the higher the risk of their being harmed becomes.
In Armstrong’s case, she may benefit from not only the fact that the child was left unharmed, but that she left her someplace to be easily found. While she didn’t hand her over directly to an official or even a responsible adult, she still ensured the child had a damn good chance. As this local clip shows, it was an amazing reunion.