A statewide Amber Alert set cell phones buzzing and flashing late Monday night to alert Californians to watch out for two San Diego children that authorities say may have been abducted by a neighbor who allegedly killed their mother.
Reporter Sarah Hashim-Waris has details on the continued search for Lakeside children Hanna and Ethan Anderson, who are believed to have been kidnapped by family friend James Lee DiMaggio.
The use of the child abduction emergency system shed light not only on the tragic case at hand – the children’s whereabouts remain unknown but their mother’s body has been found – but on the use of the system itself, which this week expanded in California to cell phones from its previous platforms of radio, television, and road signs.
But as the Amber Alert system (it is named for Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old abducted and murdered in Texas in 1996) expands, so does public pushback. Monday marked the first time in California that officials notified the public of an Amber Alert via cell phones, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), and several media accounts have depicted people as confused, angered, or embarrassed by the tones and messages showing up on their phones.