Iowa Girls' Disappearance Is So Mysterious Cops Can't Even Issue Amber Alert

This Just In 68

Lyric Cook-Morrisseey Elizabeth Collins Missing PosterToday marks day four of the search for missing Iowa girls Lyric Cook Morrissey and Elizabeth Collins. The cousins, ages 10 and 8, were supposed to be on a bike ride when they went missing on Friday, and no one has seen them since. So why hasn't an Amber Alert been issued?

Well, because their case doesn't fit the "profile." Cops in Evansdale, Iowa say they don't have a car or person associated with Lyric and Elizabeth's disappearance. So they can't put their information out in the form of an Amber Alert.

Basically that means police are working with very little information in a search that's brought out almost 1,000 volunteers to help the family of these little girls get them back. Wouldn't you think they'd want more info? The kind you'd get from, say, an alert that goes out to thousands upon thousands of people?

I'm not in law enforcement. I don't know why it's built this way. But I will say this is what makes the Amber Alert system so confusing to me.

The Department of Justice has worked long and hard to make us aware that it works and convince Americans to pay attention. They now have an enormous reach, from apps that help reach out to wireless users to traffic signs.

Amber Alert has become, for all intents and purposes, synonymous with missing children ... to the point where I know more than one person who checks the site each time they see a "missing kid" warning come across Facebook to fact check before they pass it along. It's like the Snopes of the missing kid world.

So why don't they use it more?

If you go to the Amber Alert website today and click on the link for "active" alerts, it says there are none. The girls are listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children site (which also hosts Amber Alerts). That's a wonderful and helpful thing, and I don't mean to denigrate the work they do.

But if you're using the site to fact check the missing report to help some kids, you're going to be steered wrong. And if you depend on Amber Alerts to alert you so you can help some kids, well, you won't be able to do a thing for Lyric or Elizabeth.

As a parent and an American both, I'm glad we have this system. It has saved a lot of kids!

But as Iowa police struggle with only the girls' bikes and Elizabeth's purse, found by a firefighter on a bike trail near Meyers Lake, I can't help wondering if it's time to revamp it so we can help more kids.

In the meantime, will you pass along the missing poster for these girls? Did you know Amber Alert doesn't cover every missing kid?

 

Image via Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office

missing person

68 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Lilac

The real issue here is that 2 little girls are missing, no the failure of the amber alert system.

CPN322 CPN322

I don't really understand why they won't issue an alert. They know the girls are missing, have pictures of them and it would seem that they know the general area from which they could have been taken. I don't get it :/

Linda Hall

For an AMBER Alert to be effective in recovering a missing child, the law enforcement agency must have enough information to believe that an immediate broadcast to the public will enhance the efforts of law enforcement to locate the child and apprehend the suspect. This element requires as much descriptive information as possible about the abducted child and the abduction, as well as descriptive information about the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle. Issuing alerts in the absence of significant information that an abduction has occurred could lead to abuse of the system and ultimately weaken its effectiveness. - That's copied from the website. The bottom line is, they have NO information at all to give people, the best they could put out is to look for two young girls ages 8 and 10 with sandy brown hair.....could you imagine what would happen if that was flashing up on a billboard on the side of a freeway? Everytime I've seen an amber alert it's included vehicle description, suspect description where exactly they were abducted from....they don't even know for sure where the girls were taken from, just that they were out riding their bikes. It's frustrating, but word is definetly getting out there about their disappearance, Amber Alert just isn't the for it to be done.


 

nonmember avatar Nila

If they don't know the girls have even been abducted, they can't issue an alert. Alerts are broadcast across the highways, so how could a picture be shown? Christ, 1 minute of Google tells me this.
I'll even copy/paste Wikipedia.
# Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place.
# The child must be at risk of serious injury or death.
# There must be sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor's vehicle to issue an alert.
# The child must be 17 years old or younger.

They fit ONE of those.

livn4... livn4hevn

We have friends in Iowa who are joining the volunteers searching for the girls... i've been getting updates THAT way, by asking them about anything they know... but I was also shocked to not see an amber alert.

It's scary to think that two girls abducted on a bike ride are so impossible to find....

Teri Johnston

Clearly the author of this article and the 2 respondents know nothing about the Amber Alert System.... It is not there to alert us to every missing child.... It is there to provide info on who might have taking the child and info about their vehicle.... here are the guidelines they go by.



  1. Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place.

  2. The child must be at risk of serious injury or death.

  3. There must be sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor's vehicle to issue an alert.

  4. The child must be 17 years old or younger


It this case there are just 2 missing children.  I hope they find them.

nonmember avatar Lord K

Oh. I thought there was no amber alert because the girls aren't white enough.

nonmember avatar missylou

Every child's picture should become an Amber Alert reguardless of circumstances. How is it that they found their bikes and a purse but aren't sure of the area they were taken from. Our system is so screwed. But the real issue right now is that these girls need to be found sooner than later so get this picture out there.

nonmember avatar missylou

Every child's picture should become an Amber Alert reguardless of circumstances. How is it that they found their bikes and a purse but aren't sure of the area they were taken from. Our system is so screwed. But the real issue right now is that these girls need to be found sooner than later so get this picture out there.

nonmember avatar Tina

Amber Alerts are for children who have been kidnapped, and there is information on who may have taken them. Type and color of car, who the suspect is and where they may be going, information on what the abductor looks like. All of the information that could help find and bring home a kidnapped child. Amber Alerts aren't issued for cases where a child disappears with no leads. This situation doesn't call for an Amber Alert and shouldn't be treated as a failure of the Amber Alert system. If anything, this article is an example of a gross misunderstanding on the part of the author, as to what an Amber Alert is actually used for.

1-10 of 68 comments 12345 Last
F