PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — A regional AMBER Alert for a 4-year-old Pflugerville girl has been canceled, according to the Travis County Sheriff's Office.
It was issued two days after she was last seen, prompting questions about why did it took so long to notify the public.
During a press conference, Cpt. Craig Smith with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said certain criteria must be met in order to activate the AMBER alert system, and those conditions change by state and with agencies within the state.
"In reality, it was about four or five hours after we received what we felt like was enough information to actually meet the requirement for the AMBER alert," he said. "On top of that, the investigation has been ongoing for the last couple of days, so there are times when we strategically put the information out, we were following up on active leads."
The sheriff’s office says because they issued a regional AMBER alert for the surrounding counties in our area, notifications are not put on the highway billboards and cell phones.
Although they did not meet the requirements of a statewide AMBER Alert, they wanted to issue a regional AMBER Alert because they felt she could be in imminent danger.
"The state requirement is much more severe. I think everyone can understand if the requirements are not strict, then all of a sudden, you get a multitude of amber alerts and that’s when people stop paying attention to them," Smith said." Anytime there’s going to be a statewide action, possibly even further, when it’s coming from DPS, we want to make sure it’s a very serious offense.”
The Sheriffs Office says without a doubt the regional AMBER alert helped to locate the child and 40-year-old Eric Ramirez. He has been arrested for interference with child custody, and may be facing more charges from the Travis County and Williamson County Sheriffs’ Offices.
Below is a flow chart about how Travis county HSeriff's Office determines a regional AMBER Alert:
Spectrum News is no longer naming her but she was found safe and unharmed and in the custody of Child Protective Services.