Petition for 'Lily Alert' surpasses 50K signatures, calls for looser restrictions on missing child alerts
Eric Henry created the petition around 5 p.m. Tuesday night, and it didn't take long to gain traction.
"That's the first question people ask, they go, 'Why was an Amber Alert not sent?" said Henry.
Ten-year-old Lily Peters was reported missing Sunday night, April 24. Her body was discovered the next day near a walking trail, not far from where her bike was found.Â
An Amber Alert was not sent out for Peters, as her disappearance didn't meet the criteria.
"If we cannot adjust the requirements, then I'm just recommending that we create a Lily Alert in memory of this girl," said Henry.
According to the US Department of Justice, nationwide, the criteria for an Amber alert is:
- There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred.
- The law enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
- There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an Amber Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.
- The abduction is of a child aged 17 years or younger.
- The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.
Henry says he has a daughter similar in age to Peters.
"As a parent, to feel helpless like that, it's devastating. I don't wish that on anyone," said Henry.
He has been in touch with the office of his state senator, Kathy Bernier. They responded to Henry and said they have been in touch with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
CBS 58 spoke to Wisconsin's Amber Alert program coordinator, Melissa Marchant.
"Whenever a child goes missing, we will do all that we can to locate that child with all of the resources we have," said Marchant.
Marchant said Wisconsin also has a unique missing and endangered alerts system for children and adults that anyone can sign up for. While not sent out to the general public, the alerts are also sent to media outlets.