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.