Center for Missing Children director details use of Amber Alert in Wells case

Search for Summer Wells

HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation used several methods to notify the public of the disappearance of Summer Wells last week, Tennessee is still the only state to issue an Amber Alert for Wells.

The responsibility of increasing watchfulness for Wells outside of Tennessee falls to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Executive Director Alan Nanavaty said the decision to push neighboring states to issue Amber Alerts for Wells rests with TBI.

“In Tennessee the coordinator [TBI] would reach out to a neighboring state if there’s information through the investigation to believe that the missing child or the abductor with the missing child is traveling interstate,” Nanavaty said.

A neighboring state’s Amber coordinator would have to approve the reciprocal alert.

Using infrastructure from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thousands of phones were instantly notified Wells was missing on June 15.

Past that, the center is able to expand and amplify the reach of the Amber Alert. They most often do this through live-updating digital billboards, social media campaigns, and working with specific industries, including trucking. It is able to update information quickly through the use of its private partners.

In the Tri-Cities, 19 digital billboards with Wells’ name, picture and description can be seen near major roadways.

“The purpose of the Amber Alert is really to reach that mobile public, so those individuals that are traveling.”

The only active Amber Alert in the country is currently set for Summer Wells.

You can find official posters for Wells and many more missing children on the center’s website missingkids.org.

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