A statewide Amber Alert is out for an 11-year-old Sarasota girl, but it took law officers there 24 hours to request that alert. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is reluctant to criticize the delay, but others believe it could be life threatening.
The first call for an Amber Alert on Carlie Brucia was not made by Sarasota sheriff’s deputies until they had seen this chilling security video. The call went to FDLE at 6:12 Monday night, a full 24 hours after the first call to police was made. In just over an hour, the first amber alert was sent out statewide.
Before an Amber Alert can go out, guidelines call for local police to conclude a child's life is in danger. FDLE supervisor Donna Uzell cautions that the 24-hour delay does not mean the case was being ignored.
"It's easy to second guess anybody, but the investigation was ongoing the entire time.
Amber is just one tool in the investigation," says Donna.
Florida leads the nation in the successful use of Amber Alerts. Since Amber Alerts began in August 2002 it has been used 62 times and are credited for 11 recoveries, but for Amber Alerts to work, Bill Hebrock, the chairman of the Missing Children's Advisory Board, says they have to be timely.
"When you go to the emergency room or hospital they give you immediate care, a missing child alert should be no different. You have to assume that the child's life is in immediate danger, I'm talking matters of minutes, not matters of hours or days," says Bill Hebrock.
Detailed records show the state responded quickly once it knew of Carlie's disappearance, but the question of was it soon enough remains.
There's a list of five criteria for issuing an Amber Alert. First the child must be younger than 18 there must be evidence of an abduction, and if not, police must prove the child's life is in danger. There must be a detailed description of child and/or abductor to broadcast, and finally, Amber Alert must be recommended by the local law enforcement agency.