Pa. police explain why no Amber Alert issued for taken girl, 4

Pennsylvania

WAYNESBORO, Pa. (WHTM) – Police on Friday continued their search for the unknown person who took a 4-year-old girl from a Franklin County home, prompting an hours-long search before the child was found unharmed.

The girl was reported missing from the 12000 block of Pen Mar Road in Washington Township at 3:30 a.m.Thursday. She was last seen around 7 p.m., police said.

Around 10 a.m., police said a passerby found the child standing along the 14000 block of Harbaugh Church Road, about 2.5 miles from where she was taken. She was taken to Waynesboro Hospital for a medical evaluation and found to be in good health.

ABC27 News on Friday asked state police if they could provide additional details of their investigation thus far. Trooper Megan Frazer, a state police spokeswoman, provided the following answers to each of our questions:

Should the public be concerned?

The Pennsylvania State Police always remind parents to closely monitor their children and their activities at all times. We are still investigating and attempting to determine whether or not the victim was targeted or indeed the public is in danger.

Why wasn’t an Amber Alert issued?

At the onset, the investigation was one of two things: either the child walked away or was taken/abducted. We did not have enough information until she was located to say that she was abducted – thus prompting an Amber Alert.

In order for the Pennsylvania Amber Alert Plan to be activated, law enforcement must be satisfied the following criteria have been met:

– The abducted child must be under eighteen (18) years of age;

– The abducted child is believed to be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury;

Additional factors are considered in the decision-making process as to whether or not to activate the PA Amber Alert Plan.  These factors include, but are not limited to:

– Availability of descriptive information which could assist in the recovery of the child; 

– Time elapsed since the child was last seen, and reliability of witness(es).

Why was the word “taken” used?

There was no hidden meaning. The words mean the same. She was taken/abducted/removed.

Why is the Major Case Team involved?

The Major Case Team is utilized to investigate crimes of serious nature. The Major Case Team enables Troop H to use senior criminal investigators with specialized training to conduct investigations of this nature.

Were crimes committed against the girl?

She was found to be in good health and we do not have any indication she was harmed.

Where is the girl now?

Franklin County Children and Youth Services is coordinating the safety plan for the child. All questions pertaining to her whereabouts should be directed to Franklin County CYS.

Any further update?

Interviews are being conducted today and the Pennsylvania State Police is following up on tips received by PSP Chambersburg. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding the incident, or who traveled the 14000 block of Harbaugh Church Road Thursday before 10 a.m. should call state police in Chambersburg at 717-264-5161.

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