Two-year-old Khalecia Richards is lucky to be alive after being kidnapped — by accident, as it turned out — by a car thief who apparently didn’t know she was in the back seat when he drove away from a convenience store near Linwood Boulevard and Indiana Avenue in Kansas City.
But a week later, law enforcement officials still can’t explain why no Amber Alert was issued last Tuesday, and that’s an issue.
By the Kansas City Police Department’s own admission, Khalecia’s disappearance fit all of the criteria for such an alert. Those include having detailed information on the victim and suspect, a reasonable belief that an abduction has occurred and a credible threat of serious bodily injury or death to someone 17 or younger.
Police officials in Kansas City were in communication with the Missouri Highway Patrol when the child was located so the alert was no longer needed, a spokesman for the highway patrol said. But she had been missing for 90 minutes by then, so why the delay in relaying the information to the public?
A child is most likely to be killed within three hours of an abduction, a United States Department of Justice study on child abduction homicides found.
Amber Alerts exist for a reason, and unnecessary delays in exchanging information put missing children in further danger.
Her abduction was reported around 5:40 p.m. on Aug. 17. Kansas City police were still in the process of requesting a statewide Amber Alert when the child was recovered about 7:20 p.m. in a back yard near North Fifth Street and Walker Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.
New information was coming in by the minute, Kansas City police officials said. But nearly an hour passed between the time the girl was reported missing and even a local media alert went out.
Though police lucked out this time, the KCPD must work out whatever communication problems kept critical information on Khalecia’s disappearance from being sent out to the public.
That police just didn’t get it done is a fact, but it’s not the explanation that her family deserves.