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More than 1,000 missing children returned home since July after AMBER Alerts issued

Officials said AMBER Alerts are an important tool in finding missing children, alerting communities to be on the lookout.
Credit: TBI

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Since July 2021, more than 1,000 children have returned home safely after an AMBER Alert was issued, according to officials. One of them is Noah Clare, who reunited with his family after he was taken out of Tennessee to California by his non-custodial father.

After a multi-state search and an AMBER Alert about the situation, another mother in Orange County, Cal. noticed him and reached out to authorities. After police located them and notified his family, Noah ran into the arms of his mother, Amanda Ennis.

His story is just one of many that could have ended differently without the AMBER Alert system.

"It's just absolutely amazing over the history of AMBER Alters, how many identifications and tips had been provided following AMBER Alerts," said Phil Keith, a former chief for the Knoxville Police Department. "It's a partnership between broadcasters, law enforcement, and others to try to increase the number of eyes on the street."

The system started in 1996 and since 2012, law enforcement agencies across the U.S. have used the system to send alerts directly to people's cell phones. If they get these alerts, communities know to stay on the lookout.

"It's a great messaging vehicle," Keith said.

That's especially true in Tennessee. Keith said that the success rate for finding missing children in Tennessee is one of the highest in the country.

To issue an AMBER Alert, certain requirements must be met. The missing child must be considered to be in imminent danger and they must be younger than 17 years old. Authorities must also have a description of the missing child to send out to people.

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