Amber Alert: why the misinformation, delays in getting Thursday's alert?
By Jordann Lucero
OKLAHOMA CITY — A 5-month-old taken from her grandparent's home near Cashion Thursday was found safe in Texas after an Amber Alert was issued in the case. It was a good outcome to an Amber Alert process that was delayed and sounded with some misinformation. Olivia Smith was taken by Cindy Findley and Jennifer Skousen just after noon Thursday, the Kingfisher County Sheriff's office said. The Amber Alert was not issued until about 2:45 p.m. News media was not given the message for another hour.The spokesperson for OHP, the agency which sends out the alerts in Oklahoma, said the department updated mailing lists recently and forgot to add news stations back to the lists for Amber Alert messages. Lt. Betsy Randolph apologized for the omission and said the issue has now been resolved.Gene Thaxton, the Oklahoma Amber Alert spokesperson, acknowledged there was a gap between the suspected kidnapping and the alert, but said that time needs to be taken to ensure a case fits alert criteria. He said his office was not notified about the case for an hour as the sheriff's office establish whether a crime had occurred or if the baby was in danger.Thaxton also said his office works to get out the best information it can, all coming from law enforcement and credible witnesses. The first alert issue contained a wrong last name for one suspect. Another alert was issued hours later giving information on a vehicle that was not involved in the case.After Olivia was found safe overnight, the Amber Alert was canceled. Authorities in Texas did not arrest either persons of interest in the case. Seminole, Tx Police said both had legal authority to take the child."They had a notarized piece of paper that was handwritten, stating they have a right to transport the baby. They had visited with mom in prison, mom had signed a fill-in-the-blank style legal form that was notarized in Texas, nothing was filed in a court clerk's office, nothing was seen from a judge," Kingfisher County Undersheriff Bryon Blankenship said. "It was definitely not enough paperwork to forcibly enter a home and take a child out of the home."Thaxton and Blankenship consider this case a successful Amber Alert."The end result was that we had a baby that was safe and sound, so, I mean, I don't know how we can be anything but happy in a result like that," Blankenship said.
KOKH Fox 25 provides, news, sports, weather and local event coverage in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, including McLoud, Shawnee, Tecumseh, Seminole, Wewoka, Maud, Asher, Wanetted, Goldsby, Norman, Blanchard, Chickasha, Pauls Valley, Purcell, Andarko, Bridgeport, Lawton, Duncan, Okarche, Kingfisher, Guthrie Stillwater and Cushing, Oklahoma.