Board Member Says Police Did Right Thing Issuing AMBER Alert

Nov 22, 2019, 7:17 PM | Updated: 7:21 pm

CLINTON, Utah – The mother who helped start Utah’s AMBER Alert system after her child was abducted in 1982 said she believes Clinton police did the right thing when they issued Wednesday’s alert, even though the case now appears to center on a custodial dispute.

On Wednesday, 25-year-old Taylor Webb was accused of abducting her biological 3-week-old daughter from the child’s maternal grandmother who has custody.

Web said the baby is healthy and fine through her attorney on Friday, but officials with the Clinton Police Department said the AMBER alert would remain active until they could confirm the safety and wellbeing of 3-week-old Audrey Westfall.

The alert was canceled Friday evening.

“I’m not going to say no to an AMBER Alert if it meets the four [question] criteria,” said Elaine Runyan, who now sits on an AMBER Alert advisory board. “You can not not do this. We need the program — there is nothing else out there.”

Runyan’s 3-year-old daughter was abducted by a man on August 26, 1982, while she played in the backyard.

Rachael was found murdered 24 days later up a canyon and the suspect was never been caught. From this case, Utah’s “Rachael Alert” was born and in 2003, it became the AMBER Alert to line Utah up with the national “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response” name.

Runyan said the board helps police agencies make sure they are meeting the criteria to call an AMBER Alert. She said it was never meant for custody issues.

“It was never intended for that, for domestic cases, custody disputes between parents. It was never intended for that,” she said.

But she said she still believes Clinton police officers did the right thing in issuing the alert because they believed the baby was in imminent danger.

“If they are doing this type of crime that child is in danger,” she said.

RELATED: Department Of Public Safety To Review, Improve AMBER Alert Process

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Board Member Says Police Did Right Thing Issuing AMBER Alert