New Team Formed to Respond to Child Abductions

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Public Safety is rolling out a new program to better respond to missing children and kidnapping cases.

The Department formed a Child Abduction Response Team - known as CART. The trailer is loaded with all the equipment needed to set up a command center on scene. This week, more than 120 officers from across the state are in Des Moines for training on the new program.

"Having a CART team established for the state of Iowa is basically a force multiplier so we can get agencies that are trained there faster and quicker. We can put more boots on the ground that have experience," said SAC Mike Motsinger with the Iowa DCI.

The Iowa Division on Criminal Investigation has been working closely with Amber Alert, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Department of Justice, and other CART programs to build their own team. However, the use of CART will not depend on whether an Amber Alert has been issued.

DPS set up this service after the abductions and murders of Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook in Evansdale, as well as Kathlynn Shepard in Dayton. Officials say the Collins family pushed for the program.

"Drew and Heather Collins have taken their tragedy and really turned it into sharing information to make sure it doesn't happen to another family," said Waterloo Police investigator Stacy Hesse.

There will be six CART teams across the state to respond to major cases. Once members assess the situation, they can call in the mobile command center from Des Moines.

"If something happens today, tomorrow, we'll deploy, we're ready to go," said Motsinger.

A $25,000 grant from DPS is covering the cost of the mobile trailer and training.