DENVER – The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is defending its decision not to issue an Amber Alert for more than 35 hours in the search for a missing 6-year-old Aurora boy.
The body of David Puckett was found in a pond more than two days after he wandered off. The Olympic Park pond is just blocks from his home in the 15700 block of East Amherst Place.
David went missing the early evening hours of New Year’s Eve. CBI did not issue an Amber Alert until Monday afternoon. His body was found Tuesday morning.
CBI Director Mike Rankin stated Friday that the initial search for David did not meet a specific set of criteria for alerts to be issued. The following standards need to be met before the CBI considers issuing an alert:
- The child has to be under 18
- Be in immediate danger of serious harm or death
- Have enough descriptive information to believe a broadcast will assist or aid in the recovery
- The activation must be requested by a local law enforcement agency or AMBER Designee from another state.
Despite this, CBI agreed to issue an alert Monday afternoon. An exception was made because of the extended time David had been missing and because of the incoming cold weather at the time. Rankin said public pressure was not a deciding factor.
Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz pointed out the grim reality during Friday’s press conference: An alert issued earlier in the search would have made no difference.
Chief Metz believes that David likely fell into the pond in the first hour of his disappearance. Police and family members checked the area immediately after he wandered off, and eyes were on the pond during the entire four-day search. Dogs led search crews to the pond where David’s body was found.
Rankin said strict standards are in place to prevent overuse of the system. He said if his agency relaxed the rules, people could become desensitized to the alerts and ignore them. Rankin said there are no plans to change or relax the standards required to issue an Amber Alert.