We have all, unfortunately, heard of the name AMBER Alert somewhere. It can also be seen with the name Child Abduction Emergency (code: CAE) and is a child abduction alert system. It originated in the United States in 1996.

Officially, AMBER is an acronym for ‘’America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response”, but was named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old abducted and murdered in Texas in 1996. In the United States, Amber alerts are issued via radio stations, television stations, text messages, cable TV, and e-mail, along with other means. The ones who decide to state an AMBER Alert are the police organizations that investigate each of the abductions. The information delivered to the public usually consists of the name, the description and a picture of the abductee, a description or picture of the suspected abductor, as well as the license plate of the abductor’s vehicle, if available.

Now about Amber Hagerman’s case. Amber was born on November 25th, 1986 and was murdered on January 17th, 1996. She was abducted as she was riding her bike with her 5-year-old brother in Arlington, Texas. A neighbor who was a witness to the abduction immediately called the police and Amber’s brother, Ricky, went home to tell his parents and grandparents what had taken place earlier. Upon hearing the news, Amber’s father, Richard Hagerman, proceeded to ring Mark Klaas, whose daughter, Polly, had been abducted and murdered in Petaluma, California 3 years earlier. Richard and Amber’s mother, Donna, called the FBI and the press. They and their neighbors began searching for Amber and four days later, near midnight, a passerby found her body in a small body of water behind an apartment complex with cut wounds on her throat, less than 8 km from where she was taken. To this day, the offender has not been brought to justice because of the lack of information and the fact that only one person witnessed the abduction.

I find it tragic and unfair for the family to, first of all have to say goodbye to their 9-year-old, but to also never be able to find her killer and punish him. On the other hand, the case could be much worse-never find a body and continue searching for years and years, as this has happened plenty of times in different cases. At least, now they have found some closure.


Name: Angeliki Fotsi

Advanced Class – Diagora School

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