Autumn Pasquale’s Parents Question Police Response [AUDIO]
A day after two teen brothers were charged with their daughter’s death, the parents of Autumn Pasquale are calling for a state investigation to make sure that the proper procedures were followed, including why an Amber Alert wasn’t issued.
The parents are calling for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to make sure that everything was done to find their daughter.
“I just want to know what the proper protocols are. If we can have somebody come in and make sure that everything was done the way it should have been done,” Jenn Cornwell, Autumn’s mother told CBS in an interview.
But the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children’s Bob Hoever says the Amber Alert notification is only one tool that law enforcement officials can use to find a missing person.
“What people don’t realize is that Amber Alert is not the best tool always in every situation…there are other tools out there…its a great tool, but its not the only option. Amber Alert was never designed to take the place of an investigation, what its designed to do is to supplement that investigation,” Hoever said.
Closing The Gap On Amber Alerts
The Department of Justice has a program that is closing the gaps that amber alerts leave.
“The endangered person alert covers any age, whereas Amber Alerts need confirmation of an abduction and specific descriptions of the the abductor and victim,” said Hoever.
“There is also Child Abduction Response Plans and they are investigative strategies for law enforcement to take when a child goes missing,” he added.
Our Light, or Light Of the Missing is a program developed by Joe Nicholas of Pittsgrove, a retired K-9 officer at the state Department of Corrections. It would not replace the Amber Alert, but could be activated by police at a moment’s notice when a child goes missing.
“Amber Alerts can take hours…but if a child goes missing and a series of lights are lit in town that would signal the community to be on the lookout for a missing child and we need all the tools we can get,” said Nicholas.
It is a series of police lights, which can be switched on at a moment’s notice by law enforcement officials, as well as bulletin board signs where information can be posted.
“Everyone in that town or even people passing through would be notified that someone was missing,” said Nicholas, who helped search for Autumn Pasquale with his search and rescue dog this week.
Westville installed “Our Light” earlier this month. Nicholas said Clayton and other South Jersey communities have also expressed interest.
“My hope is that we can get these lights up in all the towns to assist officers in missing persons cases.”
Autumn’s parents also mentioned the idea of creating Autumn’s law, where an alert would be issued in the event of any missing child.
“We don’t want this to happen again to anyone, anyone’s child. No one deserves this, no one,” Cornwell added.