Amber Alert Ends In Tragedy. Was It The Cause?

A Middle Tennessee boy, Charles Dillon Johnson, aged 6, was kidnapped on 7/17. An Amber Alert flashed on TVs all over Middle Tennessee. I saw this alert myself.

Monday, the boy was found dead.
http://www.newschannel5.com/content/news/13003.asp

Did the Amber Alert panic the kidnappers into killing the child?
Are Amber Alerts a bad idea?

I don’t think we can know, unless the killer tells us. But I think it’s at least equally likely that the boy was killed because he was kidnapped for the purpose.

Don’t you think that this is a bit premature? It doesn’t even look like they’ve determined if he was even kidnapped in the first place.

And, dangermom’s right. Kidnappers who kill the kids almost always had that intention in the first place.

Bosda, I think it’s unlikely that the Amber Alert was the only thing to push the kidnapper over into murder.

And, frankly, even if the pressure of the Alert did cause the kidnapper to panic, I’m still going to suspect that the kind of public attention that an Amber Alert can generate remains the best chance most (not all, by any means) kidnapped children have of being spotted and rescued. I don’t have the stats on me, but my understanding is that predatory kidnappings usually end with the child’s death within 24 hours. And most often towards the first part of that time frame. With that kind of prognosis as the median result for such kidnappings, I can’t say that Amber Alerts are a bad idea - even if in this case they pressured the kidnapper into getting rid of the child sooner than planned.

YMV, of course.

Who would know, the kidnappers picked the child for a reason. If they haven’t succeeded in whatever task they intended on doing they would not have killed the child. It is likely they were ‘done’ with him already. Sounds terrible, but I suspect that would be the case in most instances

Never. Find the kdinappers before they commit their task or as they are running from the heat. This system is designed to spread the most amount of imformation over the broadest are in the shotrest amount of time possible…How could that ever be a bad thing? Even if 1 out of a 100 children were killed prematurely, the other 99 cases now have much better chances.

That should be broadest ‘area’ and ‘shortest’ time. I think.

If it were me or my child (Hypothetical - I have none) and the Amber Alert pushed the kidnapper into killing sooner than planned - it might not be a bad thing. If I’m going to be killed, I’d rather not be raped/tortured/etc. first.

Bosda, I know for some reason that kids and abuse are a hot topic for you, but for god’s sake, couldn’t you wait for more information before breaking world records in jumping to conclusions. The current information is that foul play is not suspected. It * appears * that the kid was playing near the lake and drowned.

Truly tragic, but it’s a terribly long jump from that to “should we scrap the Amber Alert system?” Even if the foul play * was * involved, there wouldn’t currently be enough information to draw any conclusions.

I really think you need to count to 10 (million) before posting wildly inflammatory OPs based on zero information.

This reminds me of the Alexis Patterson case in Milwaukee. She disappeared, within hours, everyone within a 100 mile radius had heard about it. The police (and other groups I think) were canvasing the neighborhood, they went door to door asking questions (three times I believe), every person in Milwaukee that was arrested for any reason was questioned about it. It was all over the news, in may have even (I don’t remember) pre-empted everything on the local stations that day as well as the next few weeks. (When reading the next statement, keep in mind, I don’t have any children, so I have no idea what it would be like had it been my children) IMHO this was blown WAY out of proportion, and I still believe that all this publicity is why she was never found. I still hold that unless someone kidnapped her, got in a car and drove really far away (which may be the case), she was kidnapped and taken to somebody’s house. Assuming that was the case, if there was a ‘normal’ amount of publicity about it. Say, something on the evening news, a little more in the morning news, something in the paper explaining that they would be going door to door to ask questions, the person could have just driven her to another city and dumped her there (alive that is, let her out at a mall parking lot for example). But with all the publicity, and how fast the information was distributed, the kidnapper was backed into a corner. If he so much as walked out of his house with the girl anywhere within 10 or 15 miles of the neighboorhood she was taken from, she surely would have been recognized almost instantly, and he would have had to face not only the police but the enitre general population of Milwaukee (including the press) would have torn him to shreads. My guess is still that the girl was ‘disposed off’ without anybody seeing it, and know one will ever know who did it.

As for the Amber Alert, I think they may work when the police know who the person is or what car and the plates the child is in, and they can get the alert started while there still pretty sure the person is in transit. The idea being that when the alert pops up on the overhead signs, people will see the vehichle in question and call the police. It doesn’t seem like it would do much good if it’s too late and the suspect hears about it after they’ve already arrived and their destination.

First, I did check other news sources(Channels 5 & 4, The Tennessean, Google News), but they hadn’t posted follow-ups yet.

Second, I would like to know, exactly how is this hysterical? I asked a question, I didn’t start a tirade. Many Amber Alert laws were passed in haste; quite often, hasty laws need to be amended later. So, asking questions is good.

Thirdly, I did not suggest that Amber Alert laws should be scrapped at any time. Straw man argument.

Your tone is quite abusive, and unfair. I would like an apology. :dubious:

Still Joey, I think more attention = a good thing. If a perp knows ahead of time that any information related to the case (including a description of the kidnapper him/herself) may be public knowledge in a matter of minutes they may think two or three times before kidnapping someone. Not only does it help in solving cases quickly it may prevent them from happening to begin with.

I too, think the OP was pretty tame and the response in question was over the top.

Which is * soooo * not coming. Am I wrong that you tend to launch overwrought OPs long before sufficent information is available? Not only this one, but the recent Death at Disney and the infamous jawbreaker thread where you, with no justification, accused the parents of covering up child abuse.

(Note that in the Disney incident, an autopsy revealed no trauma.)

There is nothing overwrought or excessive in this post.

And don’t change the subject.

My OP was reasonable, & civil.

I would like an apology.

As far as current information provides, there were ** no ** kidnappers. Your OP explicitly states that there were and that the child’s death was a homicide. How is this reasonable?

The worst thing about the Amber Alert in TN, is that on more than one occassion, they forgot to use it.

I know that in Massachusetts, the local police make the determination initially whether or not to initiate an Amber Alert and part of the criteria they use is that there be enough information regarding the circumstances, the victim and perpetrator and mode of transportation for the launching of the message to be potentially effective in locating the child. If the local police feel they have enough to go on, they contact a specified trained contact person at the State Police level and the ball is put in motion from there. They don’t want to be launching the alerts without adequate identifying information (since people will not be able to help be the “eyes and ears” of the police if they don’t know what they’re looking for) to maintain the efficacy and to decrease the likelihood of people beginning to ignore them becasue they’re too commonplace. I know I’ve read that statistically speaking, if a kidnapper is going to kill a child, it is most likely to happen within the first three hours, so, as you said above, speed in disseminating adequate information is really important.

I based this on available, published news reports that referred to the child being taken.
Those reports had been denied later, but not until after I had read the story. I made good faith efforts to check other news sources. My question was not hysterical, but quite justified, given the information that had been released to the public.

It is just as likely that the fact they committed a crime frightened them into killing the victim. Should kidnapping be legalized?

It is in Mexico.