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November 06. 2013 7:00PM

Father of Abigail Hernandez makes plea for Amber Alert

CONWAY — Friday will mark the one-month anniversary of the disappearance of Abigail Hernandez, a fact not lost on her father, who asked authorities Wednesday to make a “judgment call” and issue a special Amber Alert for his daughter.

Ruben Hernandez issued a statement Wednesday saying that by his reading of federal law, law enforcement should use a section of the federal law for Amber Alerts that says “each case must be appraised on its own merits and a judgment call made quickly.”

“Abby’s disappearance has met most of the ‘recommended’ criteria,” Hernandez wrote on his Facebook page.

“Since we are now approaching a month since she went missing I am urging law enforcement to take action, and issue the amber alert,” he wrote. “I strongly feel that it is well past time for law enforcement to use its ‘best judgment’ and make the call.”

Others, including the father of Abigail’s boyfriend, have questioned in past weeks whether the Amber Alert system should have, or should be, used.

But investigators say they are going by New Hampshire’s Amber Alert law, which has strict criteria. One requires that authorities have enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect’s vehicle to believe an immediate alert will help.

Authorities don’t have any details suggesting an abductor or a car involved.

“We don’t have any piece of evidence describing an individual or a vehicle,” FBI Agent Kieran Ramsey said.

“It doesn’t meet the Amber Alert rule at all, we don’t have any direction like that to go in at all,” Senior Associate Attorney General Jane Young said.

Ruben Hernandez quoted a sentence from the federal law, also in state law, which requires “a child be at risk for serious bodily harm or death before an alert can be issued.”

“When a 15-year-old girl goes missing for almost a month with no sign of her, then there is the possibility that she could ‘be at risk for serious bodily harm or death,’” he wrote.

“In some cases abductions cannot always be confirmed. This could be one of those cases. Unless the FBI has information that would indicate that Abby has not been abducted, then it’s time to make that ‘judgment call.’ ”

Ramsey said that though investigators can’t call for an Amber Alert, police and town residents have done “almost as much” in publicity and communications that would occur during an Amber Alert.

“Our intention has been to replicate an Amber Alert situation as closely as possible, to blanket the message boards, getting signs out, and we have attained a tremendous amount of media attention, almost to what you’d see in an Amber Alert,” he said.

Family and friends of Hernandez said they are pleased that CNN Headline News personality Nancy Grace chose for a second time to highlight the case of the missing Conway teenager in her television broadcast Tuesday night.

dseufert@newstote.com


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