Monday, November 15, 2010


Two ordinary citizens who took extraordinary measures to save abducted children will be honored at the 2010 National AMBER Alert Symposium in Phoenix. The three-day symposium begins November 16 and will also include family members affected by some of the highest profile child abduction cases in the nation.

The annual symposium will include federal, state, tribal and local representatives from the United States as well as international partners from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Awards will be given to people who have made a significant impact in bringing abducted children home, including two winners of the Citizen Award:
  • Mike Grant was on a hunting trip when an AMBER Alert that was issued in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Two-year-old Hailey Traynham was abducted by her father after he had assaulted the child’s mother at knife-point. Grant had heard the alert and confronted the suspect in a forest near Milton, New Hampshire and convinced him to turn himself in.
  • Victor Perez of Fresno, California saw the truck that matched the description of an AMBER Alert he had just seen on television for an eight-year-old girl. Perez jumped into his truck and started chasing the vehicle. After he saw the little girl’s head pop up, Perez tried to cut off the suspect and force him to stop. The suspect pushed the girl out of the truck and was later captured by the California Highway Patrol.

The 2009 National AMBER Alert Symposium was held last October in Tampa, Florida just days after seven-year-old Somer Thompson had been abducted while walking home from school in Orange Park, Florida. Somer was murdered and her body was later found in a Georgia landfill. At this year’s symposium, Somer’s mother, Diena Thompson, and Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler will share some of the lessons learned from the tragedy. Thompson will also participate in a Family Roundtable with other family members of child abduction victims.

Other notable speakers include Marilyn Roberts, Administrator for Programs, Office of, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs; Ernie Allen President and CEO for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children; and Mark Shurtleff, Utah Attorney General.

The conference will include updates on the AMBER Alert in Indian Country Initiative, which has helped create or develop AMBER Alert programs in more than 15 tribal communities; and the Southern Border Initiative, which recently set up AMBER Alert programs in Baja California, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Also, experts will share the latest information about predatory behaviors and human trafficking.

Some of the sessions will be open to the media. Reporters should contact Paul Murphy to arrange to cover training sessions or for interviews with award winners, presenters or participants. Bios and additional information will be made available at the press registration table near the Regency Ballroom on the 1st floor.

More than 500 abducted children have been brought home safely as a direct result of an AMBER Alert plan. Every U.S. state and territory has an AMBER Alert plan.

What: 2010 National AMBER Alert Symposium
When: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 16

8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 17

8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Thursday, November 18

Where: Hyatt Regency Phoenix,122 North Second Street, Phoenix, Arizona
Note: More information will be posted at


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