Shawn Alert Issued for Missing Clayton Teen
By: CJ Cassidy
We've all heard of an Amber Alert, issued when police search for missing and abducted kids.
But the foundation named after Shawn Hornbeck uses an alert of their own.
You'll remember Shawn was abducted near his Richwoods, Missouri, home back in October 2002, then rescued and returned to his family earlier this year.
So, what exactly is a Shawn Alert? It's different from an Amber Alert.
The Amber Alert calls for a "witness to an abduction" or "evidence a crime's been committed."
The Shawn Alert on the other hand, puts out information about about lost or missing children when they don't fit the bill for an Amber Alert.
"Shawn wasn't eligible for an Amber Alert, and it infuriated me. It's like, my son's still missing. I don't care if you have a witness. I don't care if there's evidence I've got to get his name out there," Pam Akers said.
So she and her husband Craig, created the Shawn Hornbeck Foundation to look for their son. But for those without that luxury, they came up with the Shawn Alert.
"It's for any child missing in the last 30 days, who doesn't meet Amber Alert criteria," Pam said.
The system sends out email and computer ticker alerts to anyone who signs up to get them.
Emily Graeber, 15, of Clayton, Missouri is the latest addition to be added.
While Emily's parents say the child could be in danger, because she needs to be on medication, police backed off their search declaring Emily a runaway.
But Pam Akers say once a child's added on, they stay on the Shawn Alert System until the child's recovered, or found, like Shawn was.
"The way I look at it, as a parent, the child's still missing. The mother and father are still hurting. Most often we don't know what's going on with a child that's out there. She could be in danger, she could be hurting - may not even be with us," Pam said.
Pam Akers says there's a good chance she will fly off to San Francisco, California, with Emily's mother to look for her.
It's the last place the teen is believed to have been seen.