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Amber Alert

What should I do if my child is missing?

Immediately contact your local law enforcement agency. There is no waiting period to file a report on children under 18.

Provide the most recent color photograph of the child, along with other methods to identify your child. This may include fingerprints, hair sample, blood type and physical description, including a description of the clothes the child was wearing.

Report the child missing to the toll-free hotline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at


and the Ohio Missing Children Clearinghouse in the Attorney General's Office at

What is an Amber Alert and who is Amber?

In January 1996, nine year old Amber Hagerman was riding her bicycle when a neighbor heard the girl scream. The neighbor saw a man pull Amber off her bike, throw her into the front seat of his pickup truck, and drive away at a high speed. The neighbor called police and provided a description of the suspect and his vehicle, but couldn't recall much else.

Arlington, TX police and the FBI interviewed other neighbors and searched for the suspect and vehicle. Local radio and TV stations covered the story in their regular newscasts. Four days later, Amber's body was found in a drainage ditch four miles away. Her throat had been cut. Her kidnapping and murder remain unsolved.

A concerned citizen contacted a Dallas, TX radio station suggesting the idea that Dallas radio stations should repeat news bulletins about abducted children just like they do severe weather warnings. The idea was presented to the general managers of the radio stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They agreed that such a program would provide an important public service and might help save the life of a child.

The Dallas Amber Plan was started in July 1997 to help safely recover missing children that police believe have been abducted. Since then, the program has successfully recovered eight children and expanded to other cities and states nationwide.

Although the Amber Plan is named after Amber Hagerman, this national program is dedicated to all children nationwide who've been abducted. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, up to 4600 children are abducted by strangers every year (about 12 children nationwide every day).

The Amber Alert Plan was launched in Ohio on January 1, 2003.

How can I protect my child?

Although no one wants to think about the abduction of a child, the best prevention is for you and your children to be informed and aware. Below is a list of child safety tips to prevent abductions:

  • Teach your children their full name, address and telephone number.
  • Teach your children how to make a long distance call (both directly to you using the area code and by dialing "0" for operator).
  • Know the routes your child takes to and from school and other activities.
  • Be involved in your child's activities by volunteering at school, clubs, and sporting events.
  • Participate in a neighborhood watch program.
  • Before leaving your child in the care of a day-care, preschool, baby-sitter, or youth organization, check their references and qualifications. Ask if they conduct pre-employment background checks.
  • Teach your child what to do if approached by anyone. Common approaches are offering a ride, gifts, or candy, asking the child look for a lost pet, or claiming that the child's parent has asked them to bring the child home because of an emergency.
  • Listen to your child; don't disregard their fears. Instead, let them know you take their fears and concerns seriously.

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