The national Amber Alert system automatically sends alerts to millions of cellphones when a report is issued in their area.
The family of a slain 5-year-old is hoping for a new notification system after an Amber Alert wasn’t issued after the child’s mother called police to report his disappearance.
After 6 p.m. Oct. 25, police were called to the Milwaukee home of Prince McCree after his mother reported the boy missing. She hadn’t seen him since 9 a.m., when he went to the basement to play video games with Erik Mendoza, 15, and David Pietura, 27, who both lived at the house with Prince and his mother. Prince’s body was found in a dumpster behind a bar one day after he was reported missing, and Mendoza and Pietura were charged with murder after they allegedly admitted their involvement to police.
Prince’s family is grieving and trying to understand why an Amber Alert wasn’t issued for him. Prince’s mother shared a change.org petition on Facebook asking for signatures to establish a new alert system for missing children who don’t meet the Amber Alert criteria. For a case to qualify as an Amber Alert, the child must be 17 or younger, in “danger or serious bodily harm or death” and the police have to give the state “enough descriptive information about the child.” The Milwaukee police told HuffPost that they “consulted with the Wisconsin Department of Justice; however, it did not meet their criteria.” The Wisconsin Department of Justice said it wasn’t its investigation and it was not releasing sensitive law enforcement information.
“Every missing child deserves the best chance at survival, regardless of whether their circumstances fit into existing alert systems,” the change.org petition says.
We propose creating and naming a new subsection apart from the Amber Alert system that will be named the PRINCE ALERT in honor of Prince [McCree] and it will cover situations where children are missing but don’t fit within those specific criteria. This new system would help ensure all missing children get immediate attention and increase their chances of being found safe.”
Wisconsin state Sen. LaTonya Johnson told The New York Times that even though an Amber Alert might not have saved Prince, she is looking into creating a system of local alerts, when criteria don’t meet the Amber Alert standards.
“We had neighbors on our block who went to sleep and woke up to the fact that Prince was found dead and did not even realize he was missing,” Johnson told The New York Times.
Prince’s mother’s cousin organized a GoFundMe for Prince’s funeral and to help Prince’s parents with expenses. It has raised more than $20,000.
Police found Prince’s body in a garbage bag in a dumpster on Oct. 26. It was “blood-soaked, bound and gagged in the fetal position,” according to a criminal complaint. A rag was in his mouth and there were gashes to Prince’s head and body and tape around his neck, wrist and ankles.