An alert can also be sent out state-wide for endangered children and adults who may not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert. For more information on the Endangered Missing Person Alert click the button below
History of the Amber Alert plan in Utah
When Utah launched the Amber Alert in early 2002, it was the ninth state to have a statewide plan. The child abduction alert was originally called the Rachael Alert to honor Rachael Marie Runyan-a three-year-old Sunset girl who was kidnapped and murdered in 1982. Utah now calls the plan Amber Alert to avoid confusion. Utah will now recognize this young victim with the Rachael Runyan Award.
“This award is to be given to citizens who make the call and help find the perpetrator and missing child,” says Elaine Runyan-Simmons, Rachael’s mother. “This award will allow us to continue honoring the work done in behalf of Rachael for missing children.” When Utah’s AMBER Alert Plan is activated, law enforcement agencies have a number of resources to publicize urgent information about child abductions:
Utah issued its first alert when Elizabeth Smart was abducted on June 5, 2002. The public was able to help in her safe recovery nine months later. The kidnapping prompted the victim’s father, Ed Smart, to become a passionate advocate for a national child abduction alert system. His efforts were instrumental in persuading Congress to pass the national AMBER Alert bill.
The public can learn more about the AMBER Alert at the Attorney General’s web site at:
People can also sign up to receive alerts on their computers and pagers at:
How Amber Alert started in UTAH
Chiefs of Police and Sheriff’s from throughout the state met on March 27, 2002 in St. George and voted to adopt a new statewide alert program called Rachael Alert, later changed to Amber Alert for consistency, aimed at preventing child abduction. The program is modeled after a similar program started in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in 1996 after the abduction and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman.
Rachael and her brothers were playing in the park directly behind their Sunset, Utah home in August of 1982. A man approached the children offering them candy and gum. Rachael followed him to a parked car and was never seen alive again. Her body was found 21-days later in a stream in Morgan County. The cause of death was never determined and her killer remains at large.
The Amber Alert program has seen unprecedented cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and radio and television stations, through the Utah Broadcasters Association, to establish the immediate distribution of information about area child abductions. When child abduction occurs anywhere in Utah, local law enforcement will immediately notify all Utah radio and television stations, which will in turn, broadcast a description of the suspect and the victim.
The following criteria must be met before law enforcement activates the “Amber Alert”:
(1) The incident is believed to be a non-custodial abduction.
(2) The child is 17 years of age or younger, or has a proven physical or mental disability.
(3) There is evidence the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
(4) There is sufficient information available to give out to the public that could assist in the safe recovery of the victim and/or the apprehension of a suspect.