MISSING GIRLS: No Amber Alert
For many Iowans watching what’s happening many miles away in Evansdale, Facebook is their connection to the two missing cousins: Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8.
Sarah Schminke, of Fort Dodge, has two others as a mom and someone who used to live in that part of the state. Schminke said, “I just know a lot of friends over there and family and it’s just heart-breaking. And I would hope other people would help me if something were to happen.”
Iowans are already helping her, just in a different way. Schminke sent out a plea to friends and strangers on Facebook. She wants them to join her effort to convince the Iowa State Patrol to issue an Amber Alert to help find Elizabeth and Lyric. Schminke said, “Oh, my goodness, everybody is so supportive, especially mothers. They all say something has to be done.”
Issuing the Amber Alert is State Patrol Captain Curt Henderson’s decision. He explained, “The program itself is set up with fairly strict parameters that need to be met before an amber alert can be issue.”
Henderson said the case has to meet all four of those parameters:
- There has to be credible proof of an abduction
- The victim has to be younger than 18 years of age.
- The victim is in immediate danger.
- Authorities need a description of the suspect and possibly the suspect’s vehicle carrying the abducted child.
In the missing cousins’ case, authorities don’t have proof an abduction occurred or have a description of a suspect. Henderson lamented, “Our heart really goes out to those families of those missing girls. All of us recognize that public safety…up in Evansdale, Blackhawk County, the Iowa State Patrol, the DCI, FBI…all of those agencies have placed this case at a very high priority.”
Schminke understands the patrol doesn’t want to overuse the alerts but questions why in this case, the agency can’t make an exception. She said, “It can’t hurt anybody to put it out there. What’s the harm? I think you have to look at the end results. Who’s it hurting to put it out there? Nothing.”
Captain Henderson said he has issued 2 alerts this year. In both cases, authorities were able to rescue the child and apprehend the suspect.