Shalom Lawson

Why did Shalom Lawson not receive an Amber Alert?

A search for a missing 8-year-old child ended in tragedy, when his body was discovered in a pond.

A small retention pond was the site of a horrifying discovery Saturday — as the remains of Shalom Lawson, who had went missing less than 24 hours earlier were discovered.  The devastating news came after hours of continuous searching, where optimism grew overnight when a set of footprints were discovered in the area near Shalom’s disappearance. The young child, who was non-verbal and autistic, went missing the day prior in the Indianapolis suburb of Brownsburg.

Questions have been raised on why an Amber Alert, a universal broadcast relaying information to help locate a missing child, was not relayed in regards to Shalom’s disappearance. It is important to understand how this Alert System actually works. The official website of Amber Alert lists what constitutes this response

 

Amber Alert

This says that each individual state has its own criteria, so we need to take a look at Indiana’s Rules, which are listed on the IN.gov government website.

Indiana Amber Alert

 

According to State Guidelines, not only must the child be in imminent danger — but they must be believed to have been abducted. The circumstances regarding how young Shalom went missing are still unclear, this means the Brownsburg Police Department did not think Abduction was in play.

Does Indiana Have Any Other Alerts For Missing Children?

While some states also have ‘Endangered Missing Persons Alerts’ — which specifically deals with adults and children with mental conditions and would have applied in this case — Indiana is not one of them. The Hoosier state only carries the three traditional options of an Amber, Silver, and Blue Alerts. The Blue Alert alerts authorities to violent criminals, and The Silver Alert broadcasts information about missing  senior citizens with with mental disabilities.

With the large number of Black Children in the Indianapolis area that disappear but are not eligible for an Amber Alert, perhaps it would benefit us to have an alternative option. Maybe it could have saved Shalom Lawson.