The Story of Amber Hagerman: Where the AMBER Alert Came From

The Incident:

An article from clickondetroit speaks about Amber Hagerman, who was just a little girl when everything was taken from her. 

Riding her bike in a deserted parking lot in Arlington, Texas, 9-year-old Amber was abducted and later murdered. Her kidnapping occurred on January 13th, 1996, and she wasn’t found for days.

One witness reported that they saw a man forcibly pull Amber off her bike and into his truck.

Her body was found in a creek by a civilian four days after her abduction. Wounds were found on Amber’s neck, which were later found to be the cause of her death.

What the AMBER Alert Stands For:

In honor of Amber Hagerman, the little girl whose story has changed the world, the AMBER Alert System was made later that year, in 1996. Amber’s story impacted the world so much because decades after her kidnapping and murder, her killer still hasn’t been found.

The AMBER Alert is not only named after Amber, but it’s actually an acronym for:






How does the AMBER Alert Work?

The AMBER Alert System is a tool to help find abducted children and return them home safely, and with the help of the public, more and more children can be found.

But what exactly would you need to send out an AMBER Alert?

According to California Highway Patrol, there are a few requirements that must be met before issuing an AMBER Alert:

  • You must be sure that the child was kidnapped by anyone, meaning that it could also be a parent/guardian who has endangered the child.
  • The person who was taken must be a minor.
  • The child is in serious danger of being hurt or killed.
  • There has to be some sort of information that would help people find the victim if it were released for the public to see.

The actual process of sending out an AMBER Alert includes sending the alerts to the law enforcement agency (they initiate the alerts after getting it approved by their administration, broadcasters, etc). When they receive the alerts, they then send them to our phones, computers, and other devices.

How Successful is the AMBER Alert Today?

The AMBER Alert works because witnesses can give the police the information they need to find the kidnapped child, such as descriptions of the victim and suspect, or a description of the vehicle the child was taken in.

One success story (from CHP) talks about an AMBER Alert that was issued on April 16th, 2020 for a 14 year old that was believed to be kidnapped. The alert was sent out not only to California, but in Idaho as well. The police were able to locate the vehicle that the child had been taken in, and after looking around the area, they found footprints that helped them find the child.

According to California Highway Patrol, the state’s AMBER Alert system has helped find 97% of the children that were taken (97% of the 380 children who had an AMBER Alert issued for them).