JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Officials with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said Monday night that 5-year-old Brayden Cash Wooten of Carthage, Mississippi has been found safe. The boy was last seen Saturday, and became the subject of a statewide alert Monday night. A few hours later, officials reported the boy had been located, but didn't offer any other details.
This is the first time the MBI has issued an Endangered/Missing Child Alert. Officials say it's a new tool that will be used in cases when the criteria for an Amber Alert is not met, and may be upgraded to an Amber Alert when more information is collected.
Several recent high profile cases of missing children have made people question the current AMBER Alert policy. When 5-year-old Janaya Thompson of Gulfport went missing in July, an Amber Alert was never issued because there wasn't enough information to meet the criteria. One Gulfport resident even started a petition to change the criteria for alerts. (http://www.wlox.com/story/26073907/south-mississippian-wants-to-change-amber-alert-requriements)
And just last week, Jackson teenager Katelyn Beard was missing for 12 hours before a statewide AMBER Alert was issued. In both cases, the girls were found dead. Tragically, even if AMBER Alerts had been issued early on, they likely would not have helped save their lives.
Still, public safety officials have been trying to figure out the best way to get information about missing children to the public faster.
Warren Strain,Public Affairs Director with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, told WLOX News the new Endangered/Missing Child Alert has been in development for months and should help meet that goal.