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Business - Where Did "AMBER ALERT" Originate?

Updated: Jan 10

Empowerment Coaching Hub Founder©
Empowerment Coaching Hub Founder©

"True empowerment comes from within."

"Move your mind, then move the world."

"Feed your brain, like you feed your belly."

- Christina Blaskavitch

Empowerment Coaching Hub, 2023© All Rights Reserved®
Empowerment Coaching Hub, 2023© All Rights Reserved®

Where Did "AMBER ALERT" Originate?

It was 13 January 1996 when 9 year old Amber Hagerman was riding her bike with her little brother Ricky from her grandparents house. Her loving mother Donna told them not to go further than the street block.

The time frame is as follows:

  • 15:10 siblings riding bike

  • 15:13 riding bike further than she was supposed to; Ricky (Richard, little brother) turns around and rides back to the grandparents house. Seeing he was alone, his mother Donna begins to worry. She and her father go out right away looking for Amber. Amber was nowhere to be found, but one man saw exactly what had happened and called the police to report it.

911 Operator: "Arlington 911, what are you reporting"

Caller: "Yeah, I saw a black pick up - he grabbed a little girl and he took off toward town with her"

911 Operator: "uh-huh"

Caller: "...and she hollered."

The caller was later interviewed and reenacted what he witnessed for investigators; [his property backed onto the location the little girl was abducted - he had full view].

"I seen that little girl over there, playing up and down there and he runned up behind her and he grabbed her. He turned around and he came back to here where his truck was, where the door was open and put her in the truck."

- Jimmy Kevil

Right away, the police send a unit onsite while a search is launched around the neighbourhood. Officers were following every black pick up truck in the city. At the same time Donna passes out flyers to neighbours. Neighbours begin showing up wanting to help find Amber. They begin to fear the person who took Amber may show up and they would never know. Donna knew after 24 hours her daughter may be dead, if not found. Donna kept waiting - police told her to go in the house as more media showed up to report on the story. Donna viewed the media as an opportunity to get the public involved in helping find Amber.

  • On 14 January 1996, police are following hundreds of leads however no progress has been made. Police have a unit assigned to the case and work tirelessly around the clock to try and find Amber. As the days pass media coverage decreases with less and less volunteers showing up to help.

  • After 72 hours people are beginning to think the kidnapper took Amber out of state and the questions on everyones mind remain;

    • Who could have done this?

    • Why Amber?


Seven weeks before the abduction a documentary crew is filming Amber. In a few days would be Ambers 9th birthday. Amber made good grades, very smart, helped around the house, and shared a special bond with her mother. The camera crew was filming Donna for a documentary on "welfare reform" and captured this bond. This documentary became the last images of Amber. The footage of her ninth birthday is now heartbreaking to watch.

  • On 17 January 1996 at 23:41, dispatch received the call everyone had been dreading. Only four miles from where she was kidnapped her body was located by a man walking his dog - he looked over the fence after seeing something white, looked again and noticed it was a body; most of the evidence was washed away by the rain on the night she was found in the creek. Although some DNA was collected.

Donna was in denial and absolutely destroyed, as any mother would be. Amber was in such bad shape the police tried to prevent Donna from seeing the body. The only thing Donna couldn't do was hold the body, they way a mother loves her child. She did get to hold Amber's little hand and tell her, "It's ok, Mommy is here now."


The monster who did this is still out there.


Profile of predator:

  • AGE: White or Hispanic male in his 20's [in his 50's (2023)]

  • HAIR: Dark brown or black [possibly grey (2023)]

  • HEIGHT: Under six feet [unlikely to change]


  • Suspect drove out of Winn Dixie parking lot in his black short bed pick-up truck and took a left on East Abram Street at around 15:15, driving away from the nearby highway.

  • He left no finger prints on the bike as he grabbed Amber under her arms.

  • The witness [the neighbour] Jimmy Kevil saw the incident from his yard on Ruth Street, witnessed the scene unfolding from his backyard.

  • Police believe that there may have been other witnesses from the Laundromat across the street. They asked the witnesses to come forward.

  • Four days later the body was found by a man named Stewart Kocker who was walking his dog near the creek; the creek itself is well hidden and police say, it's likely that the killer knew the area well.

  • It could be the guy next door, police believe the suspect has intimate knowledge of where she was taken; he lived or worked in that area; and where she was found because it was not an easy place to put the child.

  • The creek was four miles away from where she was abducted. If the suspect came this close to the scene of the crime; it is possible he lived close by. Could he have used another vehicle to drive back with her body and avoid detection. How did he go around in an area during winter where there is no foliage for cover without being noticed.

  • It is believed this individual has committed this crime before. Somewhere out there, someone knows this individual and they have not come forward.

  • Police believe the suspect kept Amber Hagerman alive for 48 hours after she was abducted.

Donna can only image what that monster did to her little girl while she was still alive. She feels powerless wishing she could have been there to protect her. In the days and weeks following Amber's death, Donna agrees to allow the documentary crew to film the events and tell her daughters story but the heartbreaking images show best how broken Donna really is.

"A lot of times, I just wanna be with her, I wanna be with her, but I have my son, and I look at his precious little face and I couldn't do that to him. And I think back to how much of a fighter she was and I don't want to let her down. I want her to see that momma can keep going and be strong taking care of her little brother."

- Donna Hagerman

Donna is understandably angry as no arrests have been made, but the one thing that can help solve this case is information from the public. And as the days passed, police received fewer and fewer leads. Donna wants justice but with no-one to direct her anger towards she needed to find a way to make sure her daughter didn't die in vain. Using her voice to bring about change, she goes on television hoping her daughters story will be enough to convince law makers to increase the sentencing for these horrible acts.

  • What do you want the laws to say?

    • Looking for first-time offenders - life in prison without parole.

    • Something needs to be changed and it needs to be now.


At the subcommittee on crime, Donna testifies to help pass a bill to create a nationwide system that will track sex offenders.

"When this man took my daughter he took my dreams, my best friend [take your time, I know its not easy] ... Sorry, I would never want another mother to go through what I have, had gone through or another child to be taken away. So as a mother, I am asking you to change the laws. Protect all the children."

-Donna Hagerman

One thought that haunts Donna, something that should have been crucial in finding Amber quickly - Why did it take so long to get the information to the public, to know about the abduction - valuable time that could have saved the little girl. Donna is not the only person worried about this issue. Amber's story reached the right person at the right time and sparked an idea. A woman named Diana Simone who has no knowledge in broadcasting contacts her local radio station in the hopes her idea can help save the next child. The idea was adopted and becomes the first ever emergency broadcast system. Alerting listeners of child abductions.


The system is called AMBER ALERT in memory of Donna's daughter.


Amber alerts play a critical role in locating missing children across the country. You see it pop up on your phone. You hear the noise - a few seconds of panic. Amber alerts are broadcast on news programs, billboards, mobile phones, and now social media. It would take almost 10 years before every state would adopt it. In 2019, it was 23 years since Amber's abduction and still no arrest has been made in relation to Amber's case but Donna has never given up the search for her daughter's killer.


On 18 May 2019, 15 miles away from where Amber was abducted. Salem Sabatka and her mother are out for a walk down 6th avenue in Fort Worth, Texas.

  • At 18:38 a residents door camera captures a video of Sabatka being taken from her mother's arms. "Help me, help me please! My daughter just got kidnapped! Help me! Oh my God! They just drove off in that grey car, he just kidnapped my daughter!" Right away the neighbour calls the police and shares this video which allowed the police to identify the car brand. They got enough from the back of the car to really identify the type of vehicle it was. Police launch a man-hunt with multiple departments sharing the video and the picture of the car.

  • 19:00 police find another security camera which captures a clearer image of the car driving off. Soon after an AMBER ALERT is issued "Salem Sabatka, Taken by Force." The alert triggers a massive manhunt by ordinary folks, one of them a pastor named Jeff King goes around the city looking for the identified car. Later that same night, King finds the car in a hotel parking lot. Police rush to the scene.

  • 02:22 [19 May 2019]; the body cam captures the moment Fort Worth Police Department make their intervention. Police were attempting to break down the hotel door, the man claimed to be getting dressed. He opened the door to the hotel. Blood was found on the bed - Blood on the man. The child was found under a blanket. She began asking for her clothes once in the arms of a masculine police man. Police grabbed a towel and wrapped the child in the towel then proceeded to remove her from the scene.

  • Police reported that Salem was found safe to the public.

Salem Sabatka is one in more than 1,100 children who are rescued safely from an abduction because of an amber alert. Social media was used as a force for good - the public becomes the eyes and ears, the search party, the rescuers. Although Amber's case remains unsolved, Donna can't help but feel [God's loving presence] whenever a child is found alive and she hears their child is back reunited to their parents. Donna looks up to heaven [I Corinthians 15:3-8] [and praises God]. We must be conscious of and must not venerate anyone. There is one God, one Holy Spirit, and one Lord, Jesus Christ [God-Head, the only triune].

Almost 99% of all Amber Alert cases get resolved. The Amber Alert is saving children lives and is bringing children back to their parents. It's a legacy for Amber that she did not die in vain. Donna is happy her daughters legacy lives on with every child rescued. Even after all these years, Donna continues on her quest to bring justice to Amber. The Arlington Police Department have followed 7,000 leads to this day with a small amount of DNA and hope with the evolution of technology they get a profile and catch the killer. Detectives come and go, some have passed away and some have retired. However someone will always be available and police believe the case will be solved.

Amber needs justice; Donna will never give up.


In Canada, the Supreme Court recently struck down the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) citing the current conditions were too broad.

- 3 November 2023

Constitutional lawCharter of Rights — Cruel and unusual treatment or punishment — Sentencing — Mandatory minimum sentence — Child luring — Accused persons pleading guilty to child luring — Accused persons challenging constitutionality of mandatory minimum sentences of one year’s imprisonment prescribed for child luring as indictable offence and of six months’ imprisonment for child luring punishable on summary conviction — Whether mandatory minimum sentences constitute cruel and unusual punishment — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 12Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C‑46, s. 172.1(2)(a), (b).

Criminal law — Sentencing — Considerations — Child luring — Accused person pleading guilty to child luring and sexual interference — Sentencing judge imposing sentence of five months’ imprisonment for child luring to be served concurrently to sentence for sexual interference — Majority of Court of Appeal upholding sentencing judge’s decision — Whether accused person’s sentence for child luring was fit.

- 28 October 2023

"Supreme Court strikes down law requiring sex offenders to be automatically added to registry."

Harper-era law required those convicted of two or more sex offences to be added to registry for life.

- 3 November 2023

"Supreme Court says mandatory minimum sentences for child luring unconstitutional."

Despite ruling, two abusers given longer sentences by courts.

- 25 January 2023

"When the Amber Alert was first launched in Ontario, it required the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) to maintain a list of media outlets and then have an officer reach out by phone to each newsroom."


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Empowerment Coaching Hub, 2023© All Rights Reserved®

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