The abduction of a nine-year-old who disappeared over two decades ago birthed the implementation of an unprecedented security system in U.S history. Since 1996, Amber Hagerman’s malicious killer has perhaps been roaming free, but the quest for her deserved justice has spiraled into a big movement. Here are detailed facts about the young murder victim whose tragic case remains unsolved.
Who is Amber Hagerman?
13th January 1996 which started out as a happy day for two Texan kids eventually turned out tragic for the Hagerman family after nine-year-old Amber and her younger brother Ricky rode their bikes to play in the parking lot of an abandoned grocery shop in their neighborhood. But after playing together for a while, 5-year-old Ricky left his sister to continue with the fun and rode back home, unbeknownst to him that it would be the last time he would ever see Amber. Shortly after Ricky left, a black pickup pulled up and a strange man took advantage of her being alone, and forcefully dragged Amber into the truck. Sadly, Amber’s screams and kicks couldn’t save her as the kidnapper successfully hauled her away.
Amber’s abduction was witnessed by a septuagenarian, Jimmie Kevil who immediately called the police. Though the cops arrived in a couple of minutes, it was a tad too late for little Amber. According to Jimmie’s descriptions, Amber’s abductor was a medium built white or Hispanic male.
After four days of collective frantic efforts by the authorities, Amber’s family and the community at large, news came but sadly it wasn’t the kind any parent would ever want to hear. Just a few miles away from where Amber was abducted, a man who had been strolling with his dog around Forest Hills Apartments, discovered the young girl’s body in a creek. She was found unclad except for a sock that remained on her body.
Forensics later revealed that Amber’s abductor did not kill her immediately. Rather, he kept her in captivity for two days where she was beaten and sexually assaulted. After having a field day with the young girl, Amber’s abductor eventually killed her by slicing her throat and tossing her body into the creek.
While investigations continued to trace Amber’s killer, her case was a tough one partly because it involved stranger adductions that are very rare to solve and also because of the creek’s flowing water which frustrated forensic efforts as it washed away critical evidence which may have helped trace the culprit.
Sadly, despite the frantic efforts of no less than 50 law enforcement agents and 8000 leads, Amber Hagerman’s murder case has not been solved up to this date. Investigators, family, and friends have only lived with the hope that although the case remains unsolved due to the lack of forensic evidence, her killer is already languishing in prison and has not committed similar crimes.
Real Story Why We Have Amber Alert
While many are very well aware of Amber Alerts and its vital importance in the society, only a few know that it was Amber Hagerman’s case that inspired the system’s creation. Though Amber’s family and community are yet to get the desired justice, her tragic demise birthed a change which has saved many children over the years.
A few days after Amber’s abduction, Diana Simone, a woman from Forth Worth called a Dallas radio station with an unprecedented and brilliant idea. Also piqued by the stall and frustration Amber’s case had so far received, the woman who is also a mother had a simple question for the authorities. Just like weather reports, her idea queried why law enforcement agencies hadn’t thought about teaming up with the media to immediately inform the public of any child’s abduction.
Simone’s suggestion was not only brilliant for the radio station but became the game changer that birthed the Amber Alert program in Hagerman’s honor. The plan was eventually adopted nationally by the US Congress. So far, the alert system which has been implemented in all the U.S states and far beyond has successfully recovered no less than 890 children.
There is no doubt that the importance and success of the alert system can never be overemphasized, but the program has brought mixed feelings for Amber’s mother, Donna Williams who still lives with many unanswered questions.
Though Williams is happy about the numerous missing kids the program has rescued, she can’t help but wonder if her daughter’s fate would have been different if the alert system was already implemented at the time of Amber’s abduction or if it would have helped bring her baby back home safely.
Given how the AMBER Alert Program works, Amber may have been saved before she was murdered if her abduction was immediately reported to the community and they were kept on the alert for the culprit.
Nonetheless, the quest for justice for Amber remains a major movement as many still live with the lingering questions regarding her killer. It is not out of place to wonder if he is still alive? if he has been caught for the same or another kind of crime? and if he will ever be found?
While the AMBER Alert has not made any headway in helping authorities locate Amber Hagerman’s killer, the young girl’s legacy lives on through the program which has saved and also brought justice for many others.