Ins & Outs of Amber Alert

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Issuing an Amber Alert for a missing child is a nightmare for parents. Unfortunately that can become even worse if the child is not found quickly.

"The quicker we can get them back is great. The longer it goes the more critical it becomes," says Lt. Phil Crumpton, with Kentucky State Police.

The current Amber Alert for Saige Terrell was issued on Monday night. Police say they will keep it activated as long the child is missing and as long as they feel he or she is in danger.

"Most cases less than 12 hours from the time the alert is activated until the child is recovered. In this case it's been a few days and we're hoping that any day now or any minute now we can turn the alert off," Crumpton said.

The United States Department of Justice recommends the following criteria before issuing an alert.

1. There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred.
2. The abduction is of a child age 17 years or younger.
3. The law-enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
4. There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to believe the public will be able to assist in the recovery of the child.

Kentucky State Police follow those guidelines but say they take every case under consideration.

"We don't want to go with the 'cry wolf syndrome'. We want to activate an Amber Alert when it's the right time to do so, when a child is in danger," Crumpton said.