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Why Was Thursday’s Amber Alert Emergency Notification Delayed?

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Amber Alert issued for a 12-year-old Clay County girl on Thursday afternoon ended with a positive outcome. However, the message was not transmitted to cell phone via emergency alerts until after the alert was cancelled.

Local media, Iowa Department of Transportation digital signs and National Weather Service weather radios alerted the public that Bayli Jordan was taken by 16-year-old Jamie Panko at about 2:40 p.m. Thursday. The alert was cancelled around 3:20 p.m. when the two were found safe in a park in Cherokee County. The Amber Alert issued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC, sent a cell phone emergency alert at 3:34 p.m.

NCMEC is responsible for sending the cell phone alert notifications. The Iowa State Patrol Amber Alert coordinator told Channel 13 News the goal is for the emergency alert to be sent out no later than 15 minutes after local law enforcement agencies notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an Amber Alert has been issued.

"The alert was a bit more delayed than we'd hope due to the uniqueness of the case," Iowa State Patrol spokesperson Sergeant Nathan Ludwig said.

The delay was mostly in part because the abductor was 16-years-old, Ludwig said. Law enforcement agencies along with NCMEC do not release the names of anyone under the age of 18 and took this case with "an abundance of caution." The agencies involved took time to determine if they could release the suspect's name and picture.

"I think it was reviewed a little bit closer since this was a unique case, that’s why there may have been that delay in pushing that out to the cell phone providers," said Sgt. Ludwig.

NCMEC along with the State Patrol is undergoing an internal review of the alert.