The Amber Alert Story
THIS IS A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE AMBER ALERT IN NEVADA
Included is a synopsis of AMBER Alerts issued by authorities in Nevada and other states. This also includes significant child abduction cases that have provided significant training opportunities for members of the media as well as Nevada law enforcement officials.
February 19, 2012
Nevada Highway Patrol requested an activation of the Emergency Alert System for the Southern Nevada/Inyo County, California Operational Area for an AMBER Alert for the Guerrero-Lopez children. The children were not returned to their foster home in Caldwell, Idaho after being taken by their non-custodial mother, Bertha Guerrero-Lopez during a court approved visit on Friday, Feb. 17. When the children were not returned on Saturday, Feb. 18, Caldwell, Idaho Police were contacted. Based on Guerrero-Lopez's history of drug abuse and child abandonment, they issued an AMBER Alert the morning of Sunday, Feb. 19. The alert was expanded to Southern Nevada when investigators determined that she had a residence and family members in Las Vegas. A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper who pulled over their car for speeding spotted the suspect and children near Tonopah on Feb. 18 They were also seen the same day in Indian Springs at a service station and convenience store when they stopped to have the tires repaired on the car. Surveillance video shows the children, the suspect and another woman identified as a friend of the suspect from Idaho. After several requests that the alert be kept active, Caldwell PD received positive confirmation that the suspect and her children had crossed the border into Mexico, possibly as early as Feb. 18 or 19. The alert was cancelled on Friday, Feb. 24. Warrants were issued for the arrest of Bertha Guerrero-Lopez.
August 31, 2011
At approximately 1:00 PM, Henderson Police requested an activation of the Nevada Emergency Alert System for a statewide AMBER Alert for 17-year old girl. Two unknown male suspects who later called her parents and made ransom demands for her safe return had forcibly taken the teenager from her home at approximately 7:30 AM that morning. The suspects' getaway car was captured on a neighbor's security camera and the video was released to the news media. Police received numerous tips and used cell phone records to identify and track the suspects. Eventually they located the Las Vegas apartment where the suspects were holding Duran and she was safely recovered early on the morning of Sept. 1. The suspects were arrested on kidnapping charges and immigration violations.
May 10, 2011
Shortly after noon, the California Highway Patrol requested a statewide activation of the Nevada Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for a 1-year old Pixley, California boy. The child and his mother had both been taken by force from their home by the child's non-custodial father, Justin Turner, at approximately 8:30 AM that same day. An AMBER Alert was issued in California. Investigators determined that the father had ties to Nevada and Arizona and requested the activation in Nevada. Within minutes of issuing the alert in Nevada, Justin Turner was taken into custody in San Bernardino County and the child recovered safely. The alert was cancelled.
March 26, 2011
On March 26th, 2011 Henderson Police Department requested an EAS activation for an AMBER Alert for a missing, endangered 7-year old girl. Detectives reported that they had been contacted by the father of the child who said his daughter was last seen in her home around 4:00 AM. Detectives found evidence that she had been in the bed of a man who had been staying in the home who was also missing and was believed to have taken the girl. The suspect was identified as Matthew Hayward. A short time later Hayward's car was found abandoned near the Las Vegas strip. Several hours later a cabdriver reported that he had been carjacked by a man matching Hayward's description who was accompanied by a young girl. The man had ordered the cabdriver to take them to Los Angeles but stopped the cabbie near Barstow and forced the driver out of the vehicle along with the girl and then took off in the cab heading west. The girl was identified and returned to her father. The AMBER Alert was cancelled. An arrest warrant was issued for Hayward charging him with two counts of kidnapping and one count of carjacking. A federal grand jury added child pornography charges against Hayward from an unrelated case. He was arrested near Flagstaff, Az on March 27, 2011.
January 22, 2011
Reno Police requested an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for a 9-year old boy. The boy was taken by his non-custodial mother during what investigators said was supposed to be a supervised visit at Kids Kottage. Stacy Small Emerson's parental rights to this child and two other children were revoked because she had a history of drug abuse, erratic behavior and she was homeless. Witnesses told Reno Police that she also tried to take the two other children but was only able to grab this child. A witness observed her as she drove out of the parking lot and followed her to the area of I80 and Wells Avenue. The witness gave police a description of her vehicle and Police quickly issued the AMBER Alert. Investigators were able to locate Small at a friend's home in Sun Valley where she was arrested after a brief scuffle with police officers. Even though they had to use their Taser's to subdue her, the boy was recovered safely. Small faces charges of first degree kidnapping, child abuse and failure to appear in court on an unrelated felony warrant. The boy was returned to the custody of Child Protective Services.
October 25, 2010
California Highway Patrol requested an activation of the Nevada Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for a 13-year old girl who was taken from her home in Victorville, California. The Nevada Highway Patrol initially denied the request because it did not meet Nevada's criteria for timely activation. The request was made almost 24 hours after the girl had disappeared. On October 26, 2020, the 13-year old was found in a van in the parking lot of motel on the Las Vegas strip. She was in the company of a 22-year old sex offender, Ivan Lopez. The girl’s parents originally told authorities that they thought she had run away with Lopez, whom they described as a 17-year old boy their daughter had met online. When investigators determined that Lopez was wanted on charges that he committed a lewd act with a minor in 2009 the AMBER Alert was issued for Miranda's return. Las Vegas authorities turned him over to the FBI and the girl was placed in the custody of Child Haven until she could be reunited with her parents.
October 7, 2010
Washington state public safety officials requested an activation of the Nevada Emergency Alert System for a Statewide AMBER Alert for three boys who were taken by their non-custodial father from their home in Spokane. The 33-year old, Chad Phillip, did not return the boys, ages 6, 8 and 10 to their mother as ordered by a Spokane judge who terminated Phillip's parental rights that afternoon. Police believed they were in danger because the father had a history of domestic violence and assault against the boys. Phillip was a resident of Indiana and police believed that was where he was taking the boys. They requested AMBER Alert activations in several states between Washington and Indiana including Nevada although there was no evidence that they were in Nevada. Phillip's vehicle was spotted in Butte, Montana and he was taken into custody there and the boys were safely recovered. The AMBER Alert was cancelled in Nevada and Washington state.
October 4, 2010
California Highway Patrol requested an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for an 8-year old girl. The child was lured into a pick-up truck while she was playing with friends near her home in Fresno, California. Two adults who were nearby saw the abduction and shouted for the kids to run away. The suspect grabbed the victim and would not let her leave his truck. Instead, he drove away with witnesses chasing him. They provided police with a description of the suspect and the truck and an AMBER Alert was issued. The next morning a motorist in the Fresno area saw a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle in the AMBER Alert. He also saw the child in the vehicle and watched as the suspect pushed the child out of sight. The motorist used his vehicle to cut off the suspect's truck and forced it to stop. At that point, the suspect pushed the child out of the car and took off. The girl was recovered safely and taken to a hospital where she was treated for injuries related to being sexually assaulted. The suspect was identified as Gregorio Gonzales, 24, of Fresno, California, a member of the "Bulldogs" street gang. Gonzalez was on probation for a felony domestic violence conviction and had a lengthy arrest record. He also matched the description of a man who exposed himself to two girls on the afternoon of the 4th. He was arrested in the parking lot of a Fresno apartment building and faces numerous charges. The AMBER Alert was cancelled in both Nevada and California. The motorist who stopped him, Victor Perez, was honored by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a "hometown hero".
September 7, 2010
Nampa, Idaho Police Department requested an activation of the Nevada Emergency Alert System for a Statewide AMBER Alert for a two year old girl who was taken by her non-custodial mother. According to police, the child's mother came from out-of-state and took the child from her home in the middle of the night. Georgina Sandoval was described as possibly suicidal, a known drug user and had been recently released from prison. She was accompanied by an unknown male. They were believed to be headed to the Four Corners area of New Mexico. On September 8th Nampa police received credible information that Sandoval was in the Farmington, New Mexico area and that the child was unhurt. The statewide AMBER Alert for Nevada was cancelled. Later that day, Sandoval surrendered to authorities in Farmington and was arrested on an outstanding warrant and faces several charges in New Mexico and Idaho. The child was recovered safely and placed in the custody of child welfare officials and plans were made to return her to Idaho.
July 9, 2010
The California Highway Patrol requested an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for a 3-year old girl taken at gunpoint from her home in Fair Oaks, California. Witnesses told investigators that Leon Cuahutemoc, 27, of Sacramento, California had fired several shots into the apartment where the child and her 18-year old mother lived and forced them into the woman's pink Continental and fled the area. An AMBER Alert was issued in California and CHP wanted to expand it to Nevada when witnesses reported seeing the car northbound on Highway 395 in the Eastern Sierra. CHP was in the process of requesting NHP to issue an AMBER Alert when it was determined that the child had not been take and was safe back in Sacramento. The AMBER Alert was cancelled in California and was never issued in Nevada. Lassen County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Cuahutemoc in the parking lot of a Susanville restaurant. The unidentified woman was found safe. Cuahutemoc was returned to Sacramento and charged with kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence and several other charges.
June 24, 2010
The Carson City Sheriff’s Office requested a statewide activation of the Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for two brothers. The boys were taken from their father’s home in Timberline, on the west side of Carson City, by their non-custodial mother at approximately 6:55 AM while their father, Chris Brune, was in the shower. When he finished his shower, Brune saw that the front door was unlatched and a neighbor told him that he watched Kimberly Brune put the boys, one a seven year and the other five year old, in her car and leave the area. Investigators believed the boys were in danger because the mother had a history of hallucinations and delusional behavior. Investigators requested the activation at approximately 10:00 AM and it was issued by KKOH, the EAS LP-1 station for Western Nevada and Eastern California at 10:18 AM. The state AMBER Alert web site and list serve presented the first report at approximately 11:30 AM. Based on past incidents, investigators believed that Kim Brune might be headed to Utah, Colorado or Southern California. AMBER Alert activations were requested for those areas. Investigators were able to trace Kim Brune through her credit cards to a store in the area of Vacaville, California where she was taken into custody at about 12:30 PM after a brief scuffle with local authorities. The Carson City Sheriff’s Office immediately issued a cancellation for the AMBER Alert and KKOH issued the cancellation at approximately 12:41. The boys were safely recovered and were reunited with their father later that same afternoon. Kim Brune was returned to Nevada and faces felony charges of concealment or removal of a child from a person having lawful custody.
July 29, 2009
The Nevada Highway Patrol requested an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert in response to a request from the Washington State Patrol. The AMBER Alert involved two boys who had been taken from their home in Kittitas by their mother who was described by the boys’ father as “possibly suicidal”. The boys were described as a 2-year old and a 3-year old. The suspect, Nicole Butcher, was believed to be headed to Winnemucca, Nevada where she had relatives. The AMBER Alert was cancelled approximately two hours later after Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies found the children in a Winnemucca home. They were unharmed and the Undersheriff commented that it appeared the boys’ father may have mislead Washington State investigators into believing the children were in danger.
July 7, 2009
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office requested an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for four children who were taken by their non-custodial mother. Claire Tourand had failed to bring the children to a scheduled meeting with a Social Services representative regarding custody of the children. When she failed to show up for the appointment a family court judge issued a court order for the immediate return of the children saying that there was a risk of harm to the children if they remained in their mother’s custody.
The children were identified as a 9-year old boy, an 8-year old girl, a 7-year old girl, and a 4-year old boy.
The activation was originally requested for the areas around Tourand’s home in Sun Valley and Washoe County. Investigators originally felt that Tourand’s 1998 Mercury Sable was unreliable and mechanically unsound and probably not capable of being driven for long distances. However, they had information that indicated she might be headed for Mexico to seek refuge with her boyfriend’s parents.
The next day, July 11th, investigators requested that the AMBER Alert be expanded to the entire state of Nevada as well as the states of California and Arizona. After no solid leads in the case and no sign that the children were still in the Washoe County area, investigators on Tuesday, July 13 cancelled the AMBER Alert for Nevada and Arizona and kept it in effect for Southern California.
On July 14 investigators learned that Tourand had acquaintances in the Lee Vining area of eastern California. Deputies from the Mono County, California Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of the area but did not find any sign of Tourand nor the children. The US Border Patrol was notified about the case and the FBI was also brought into the investigation. There has been no sign of the children and Tourand.
March 2, 2009
The Nevada Highway Patrol requested an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert in response to a request from the California Highway Patrol. The Alert was for a 3-year old girl who was taken from her home in Yreka, California, at about 4:30 AM that morning. The girl’s mother saw the suspect driving off with her daughter and identified him as Kody Kaplon. An AMBER Alert was immediately issued in California and expanded to Nevada because some of the California agencies involved in the search shared resources with Nevada agencies and investigators were concerned that Kaplon might head east. Kaplon heard the AMBER Alert and contacted authorities and denied that he had the girl. Based on Kaplon’s statements, investigators from the Yreka Police Department began searching for the child in the Hawkinsville area. With the help of some volunteers who knew the area, The child was found under a bush near Kaplon’s car. The AMBER Alert was cancelled and investigators began questioning the child. She was able to tell them that Kaplon had attacked her, tried to kill her and then buried her under the bush where she was found. Later the child identified Kaplon in a police lineup and Kaplon was arrested on multiple felony charges. He remains in jail in Yreka and his attorney is seeking a change of venue for his trial. His next hearing is set for June 17, 2010 in Yreka.
November 18, 2008
State AMBER Alert Coordinator received an email from Las Vegas television station KTNV with information that the Nye County Sheriff’s office had issued an AMBER Alert for a child taken from a home in Pahrump earlier in the day. However, KXTE, the EAS Local Primary station for Las Vegas, had not received a request to activate the EAS for an AMBER Alert. Information from the NCSO indicated that the case met the criteria for an AMBER Alert, but in spite of several calls and emails to assist the agency, no contact was ever made with KXTE and no EAS activation was requested. The child was taken by his father, Stephen Alarid, in violation of a court order to protect the child and his mother, Staci Warner, from Stephen, her estranged husband. During the abduction Warner said Alarid assaulted her several times before she was forced out of Alarid’s vehicle and he left the area. Alarid was armed with a knife, and investigators were also concerned that the child would not receive medication he needed. Alarid was believed to be headed to New Mexico and NCSO, which continued to refer to the case as an “AMBER Alert”, requested that AMBER Alerts be issued in several other states, even though investigators had evidence that Alarid had been using his cell phone in the Pahrump area during the evening of Nov. 18, 2008. Early the next morning, Julian Alarid was left on the doorstep of his mother’s home. Later that morning NCSO issued a news release saying that the “AMBER Alert” had been cancelled. Again, no contact was made with KXTE and no EAS activation was requested. NCSO continues to refer to the case as an “AMBER Alert” and so did the members of the Las Vegas area broadcast and print media.
October 15, 2008
Las Vegas Metro Police requested an activation of an AMBER Alert for Southern Nevada for a 6-year old. The boy was taken during a home invasion robbery by two men posing as police officers. The boy’s mother and her fiance’ were tied up and left in the home. Investigators determined that the boy’s grandfather, Clemmens Fred Tinnemeyer, had ties to a Mexican drug cartel and may have kept millions of dollars in illicit drug money. The AMBER Alert was expanded to the entire state of Nevada and to Southern California. Tennemeyer was eventually located him in Southern California and on Oct. 18, 2008, the 6-year old was found in a church parking lot by an alert CAT bus driver where he apparently had been dropped off by the suspects. The bus driver contacted police who took the child into protective custody. He was unharmed and able to talk with investigators. The AMBER Alert was cancelled. The suspects are still at large.
June 15, 2008
The California Highway Patrol requested an AMBER Alert for two young brothers who were taken from their home in Los Angeles, California at 10:55 AM. The suspect is Jose Luis Ortega who investigators say took the boys after he shot his wife Rosie Soltero. Ortega, Soltero and their sons had recently returned to Los Angeles after living in Las Vegas for several years. Soltero had just delivered the boys to Ortega for a visit when police say he shot her as she sat in her car. He then took off with the children. Investigators requested that AMBER Alerts be issued in both Southern California and Southern Nevada. Ortega was considered dangerous because police believed he was still carrying the semi-auto handgun used in the shooting. The alert was cancelled early Monday morning after investigators found Ortega’s empty pickup truck near Lancaster, California. There were no signs of the boys or Ortega and investigators didn’t know if they had found another vehicle or were someone in the area. Tuesday morning the boys’ grandfather received a call from an unidentified relative who lives in Mexico. The relative wanted to return the children and made arrangements to turn them over to LAPD at the Mexican border. The boys were unhurt and in good condition. Ortega is still at large. Soltero was expected to recover from more than 13 gunshot wounds.
June 5, 2008
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department requested a statewide activation of the Nevada AMBER Alert for an 11-year old female at approximately 5:50 PM. The girl was last seen at 5:30 on the evening of June 4th. Her mother called police to say that she believed the girl had been abducted by her roommate, Jose Rangel-Martinez, who was supposed to be babysitting the child. During the investigation, police determined that Rangel-Martinez was a threat the child. They believed he could be headed to California, Oregon, Washington or Idaho and they requested activations in those states also. Media reports indicated that at one point the mother was able to contact Rangel-Martinez who told her he would take the child to relatives in Reno. Using phone records and tips, Metro police tracked Rangel-Martinez to a residence in Porterville, California. They contacted the California Highway Patrol and police in Porterville who surrounded the house and took Rangel-Martinez into custody. The child was recovered safely and arrangements were made for her return to her family. Rangel-Martinez is in custody on 1 million dollars bail and awaiting extradition to Nevada where charges against him are pending. The AMBER Alert was cancelled at 10:31 PM.
March 19, 2008
The California Highway Patrol contacted the Nevada Highway Patrol to request an activation of the Nevada AMBER Alert in Southern Nevada for a 9-year old boy. A playmate told police officers in Bakersfield, California that he saw a white male grab the boy from the front yard where they had been playing and force him into a white male who was driving a black Honda. The boy told officers that the man had a gun and drove off toward Highway 99. The incident occurred at approximately 10:30 AM. Officers searched the area and then issued an AMBER Alert. After no solid leads came in, the search area was expanded to Nevada. Officers continued to question the playmate and late in the afternoon the child confessed that he had made up the story and that the missing boy had been trapped in a “sump” when the dirt walls collapsed. The area was fenced and supposed to be off-limits to children. Officers found the boy’s body in the collapsed hole and the AMBER Alert was cancelled. An autopsy showed that the boy had died of “an airway obstruction”. At the time. Bakersfield Police did not file any charges against the playmate who reported the abduction.
May 24, 2007
North Las Vegas Police requested an activation of the Nevada AMBER Alert in Southern Nevada for a 2-year old girl. The two year old girl was discovered missing while North Las Vegas Police were investigating the murder of her mother, Myra at their home on Bassler Street, They suspected that the father, Jesus Gomez killed Myra and took the child and they were concerned about her safety because the mother had been stabbed more than 60 times. The AMBER Alert was issued and a short time later family members called police and said that the suspect had driven to their house and pushed the child out of his car and onto their lawn and then drove off. The child was unharmed but covered with blood, indicating that she had been present when her mother was killed. The AMBER Alert was cancelled and North Las Vegas Police are still searching for the father whom they believe may have fled to Mexico. Jesus Gomez was featured on an episode of America’s Most Wanted broadcast on April 19, 2008.
March 19, 2007
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department requested an activation of the Southern Nevada EAS for an AMBER Alert for 4-year old boy. His non-custodial mother and another woman took the child on March 18 after they shot and killed the child’s uncle in his home in Altadena, California. The mother, Vanessa Ochoa, was a resident of Henderson, Nevada and was seen leaving the crime scene in a car with Nevada temporary plates. She was accompanied by Misha Dean. Investigators requested the Nevada activation because they believed the suspect and her accomplice had taken the child back to the Henderson-Las Vegas area. After receiving several tips, LASD, Las Vegas Metro and Henderson PD Investigators located the suspects. They surrendered to authorities and released the child who was unharmed. Ochoa and Dean face kidnapping and murder charges in California.
February 4, 2007
Elko Police Department requested an activation of the Eastern Nevada EAS for an AMBER Alert for a 14-year old Elko girl who had been forcibly taken from her home by a 54-year old man. The girl and the man were acquaintances but the man, who was not a relative, had a history of violence and was known to carry weapons. Friends said he had recently made threats of suicide. After several hours, Elko contacted Nevada Highway Patrol in Reno to request a statewide AMBER Alert activation but the request and the alert were cancelled before the statewide activation could be made because Elko P.D. officers located the man and recovered the girl. She was returned to her family.
January 29, 2007
At approximately 5:19 PM, Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a possible parental abduction at 580 East 9th Street in Sun Valley, north of Reno. When they arrived, Sandra Montelongo told them that her daughter, Paula Brooks and her daughter’s husband, Phillip Brooks, had forced their way into the home and assaulted her and her husband before taking their 8-month old daughter and leaving the area. Mrs. Montelongo added that she had been given custody of the infant on January 8, 2007. She also said she was concerned that the baby had been injured during the abduction. Deputies determined that the situation met the criteria for an AMBER Alert and the activation was issued by KKOH, the Local Primary 1 station. A local resident who heard the alert saw a car that matched the description of the suspect's vehicle and contacted authorities while following the vehicle. The car turned into a trailer park in Panther Valley and deputies found it at approximately 10:00 PM. They made contact with the suspects a short time later. Paula and Phillip Brooks had barricaded themselves inside a friend’s home in the trailer park. The friend left the home and deputies brought in a Hostage Negotiations Team who made contact with the Brooks. After about half an hour of discussion, the Brooks surrendered and released Adrianna. The child was examined by the Tactical Emergency Medical Services team and found to be unharmed. She was returned to her grandmother. The abductors face charges of first-degree kidnapping, burglary and domestic violence. The male also faces an interstate parole violation charge related to the sale of methamphetamines after he was released from prison in Kansas. A spokesperson for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office said that the combination of the AMBER Alert and a helpful citizen resulted in a happy ending for a potentially tragic situation.
April 26, 2006
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department requested an EAS activation for an AMBER Alert for a 14-month old boy. The mother of the child, Krista Allen, reported that he had been left in the back of her car, which was taken by two acquaintances of hers around midnight. She waited several hours before reporting the missing child, and investigators believe the delay was related to a drug deal between the mother and the two suspects. The AMBER Alert was called into the LP-1 station and the activation was made around 1:00 PM. In addition to the activation, investigators requested that Las Vegas area radio and TV stations repeat the message as often as possible because they believed that the suspects were still in the metropolitan area. In addition to the broadcasts, several road signs were programmed to carry the activation. Two men who heard the activation on their car radio and saw a vehicle resembling the stolen CRV called police. As a result of the tip, the suspects were located on Highway 95 near downtown Las Vegas. Metro police arrested John Dyksinski and Rachel Miller on child endangerment charges. Krista Allen was also arrested on child endangerment charges for waiting several hours to report the incident. Child welfare officials handed the child over to relatives. latives.
November 29, 2005
At approximately 13:34 PM, the Lander County Sheriff’s Office requested an activation of the Eastern Nevada Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for a missing Battle Mountain girl. A family friend called the Sheriff’s Office to report that the two year old girl had been taken from the family home by her mother who was apparently under the influence of drugs and possibly suicidal. According to investigators, there was a history of calls at the house for problems related to the mother and possible drug use. Elko broadcasters carried the activation and less than 90 minutes after the initial report; Elko Police found the mother in the city of Elko and took her and the child into custody. The child was unharmed and the mother was charged with child endangerment. The alert was cancelled just before 2:00 PM.
November 7, 2005
The FBI called Nevada Highway Patrol to request a “National” AMBER Alert for a 9-year old boy. The severely handicapped and blind child was taken from his home in Winnemucca on November 3 by his natural, custodial father. Later that day, the father is suspected of robbing a Wells-Fargo bank in Reno, after passing the teller a note saying that he needed money to provide medical care for his son. The clerk gave him an undisclosed amount of money and he left the building. In the course of the investigation, the FBI learned from relatives that Brown said he was going to take his son to Mt. Rushmore and then to New York where he was going kill the boy and himself. Nevada Highway Patrol Lieutenant Jerry Seevers explained to the FBI that there was no such thing as a “National” AMBER Alert and that Nevada had no control over out-of-state AMBER Alerts, but they could request activations in other states. While the FBI told reporters that they did not consider the case an abduction, they wanted the AMBER Alert issued because they were concerned that the father would not be able to meet the child’s medical needs, which included special care every three hours. By tracking cell phone records, the FBI knew that Brown was in South Dakota and Minnesota on November 6. Activations were requested in Minnesota, Wisconsin and several Eastern states. Minnesota and Wisconsin state police took the information but declined to issue AMBER Alerts. Other states issued the AMBER Alerts, including West Virginia. On November 8, 2005, a Washington DC rookie police officer who was formerly a TV meteorologist read the West Virginia AMBER Alert on a weather web site while he was tracking a thunderstorm. The next night he spotted Brown’s Jeep Wagoneer and arrested Brown. He found the child in the back seat and in good condition. The child was returned to his mother and Brown is expected to face federal bank robbery charges.
July 23, 2005
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office requests a statewide activation of the Nevada AMBER Alert for an eight year old girl who was abducted from her home in Fernley. The girl was last seen at 5:30 am when her mother went to work at a local supermarket. Fernando Aguerro, who had been renting a room from the girl’s mother, took the child. He also took her clothes, his clothing, the child’s identification papers and pictures, and the mother’s identification papers. Authorities believe he left the area around midmorning, but the mother did not report her child missing until 11:30 on that night. The mother admitted that Aguerro had been paying a significant amount of attention to her daughter and that they had argued about that and his interest in returning to San Diego. Aguerro was a convicted sex offender who was not registered in Lyon County. Although Lyon County, through Nevada Highway Patrol, requested activation of the AMBER Alert in California, the CHP activation was apparently not made until the afternoon of Sunday, July 24. In the meantime, authorities tracked Aguerro to Tijuana, Mexico, through phone calls he made to relatives in Las Vegas and San Diego, but authorities were unable to locate him there. Given the evidence of his presence in Mexico, Lyon County investigators deactivated the AMBER Alert in Nevada on July 26, but kept it in effect in California in case Aguerro crossed back into California. On Friday, July 29, Lyon County Sheriff’s investigators confirmed that Aguerro had been taken into custody in Ensenada. Mexican officials worked with US authorities to return the child to her family. Aguerro remains in custody in Tijuana while the Lyon County District Attorney’s office begins extradition proceedings to return him to Fernley where he will face kidnapping charges.
July 11, 2005
On July 11, 2005, the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff’s Office requested activation of the Nevada AMBER Alert for two children. Officers issued the request after investigating a shooting at the home of the children’s grandparents in Queen Creek, Arizona. Officers found the bodies of the grandparents and the children’s uncle, but no sign of the children. The children’s mother discovered the bodies when she returned home from work. Investigators theorized that their father, Rodrigo Cervantes Zavala, took the children after he murdered the adults. While they thought he might be headed to Mexico, they were also concerned that he would travel to Las Vegas. On Monday, July 17, 2005, Mexican authorities located Cervantes Zavala in Puerto Vallarta and the children were found in another community. The children were unharmed and were returned to their mother in Arizona.
January 30, 2005
The California Highway Patrol issued a statewide AMBER Alert for a 6-year old missing Rialto girl. At approximately 10:30 PM, the child’s mother had stopped at a friend’s home and left her daughter sleeping in her car while she went inside the house. The keys were in the car and the engine was running. When she came out of the home, the car and the child were gone. She notified authorities in Rialto who asked for the California AMBER Alert. Several hours later, a vehicle similar to the Hernandez car was seen on Highway 215. Another report put the car northbound on 395. Based on both reports, at 3:25 AM on January 31, 2005, The California Highway Patrol contacted the Nevada Highway Patrol in Reno and requested issue a statewide AMBER Alert in Nevada. NHP Reno contacted KKOH, the Northern Nevada LP-1 station that issued the activation at approximately 3:39 AM. NHP Reno also contacted NHP in Las Vegas and requested that they issue an AMBER Alert for Southern Nevada. The NHP Las Vegas office sent out a TRAK notification, mass faxed their media contacts and requested NDoT to activate their programmable road signs. However, NHP Las Vegas did NOT issue an EAS activation. Radio and television stations around the state carried the alert information. At approximately 8:00 AM on January 30, 2005, the California Highway Patrol cancelled the AMBER alerts because Rialto Police had found the vehicle and recovered the child safely. Police say the suspect apparently dumped the car when he or she realized there was a child in the back seat. The suspect has not been identified.
December 21, 2004
The California Highway Patrol requested an activation of the Emergency Alert System for an AMBER Alert for a 13-year old Hayward boy who had been taken by his non-custodial father. The father had a history of violence and child abduction. Police were concerned that he would take the child out of state. The boy was found the next morning in Oakland after a resident reported seeing a child sleeping in a car and that the car was similar to the vehicle description in the AMBER Alert. Police surrounded a nearby residence where they thought the father, Jose Ozuna, was hiding. However, he had left the home, and they have issued felony warrants for his arrest. The boy was not harmed and told investigators that his father was headed out of state, until he saw the AMBER Alert signs over the 880 freeway.
July 1, 2004
The Carson City Sheriff’s Office issues an AMBER Alert for the return of an 11-month old girl who was taken by Alejandro Lozano-Lozano after a fight between Lozano-Lozano and the baby’s mother, Kimberly Maddox. Maddox and the baby had been riding in Lozano-Lozano’s car before the fight. When Maddox got out of the car, Lozano-Lozano refused to hand over the baby and took off instead. Even though the mother did not want the AMBER Alert issued, investigators were concerned about the baby’s welfare because Lozano-Lozano was not related to the child. About four hours after the AMBER Alert was issued, Lozano-Lozano turned the child over to one of her relatives. He is still at large and the Carson City DA’s office is preparing charges in the case. (This alert was to be activated with the new CAE code, but due to programming problems with KKOH’s EAS equipment, it was sent as a Dust Storm Warning.)
June 23, 2004
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office requests an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California EAS after three girls are taken from their Silver Springs home by their estranged father. According to deputies Walter N. Ball, Jr., broke into the home and shot the girls’ mother in the neck after attacking and beating another woman in her home a block away. The father threatened the 19, 16 and 14-year old girls with a gun, and then ordered them to remove their clothing. He forced them to get into his vehicle and drove them to a secluded park near Lake Lahontan. In early June, one of the girls filed sexual assault and incest charges against her father. Ball was arrested but released on bail and ordered to stay away from the family. The girls are beaten with a crowbar and sexually assaulted during the six-hour ordeal. Ball, who had been drinking heavily before and during the kidnapping, finally passes out and one of the girls took his gun and shot him in the head. They drove the truck to a main road and flagged down a Lyon County Sheriff’s Deputy. The girls told the deputy where to find Ball’s body. No charges were filed against the girls. The mother and one girl were hospitalized because of their injuries. Both are expected to recover from their injuries.
April 7, 2004
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department issued an AMBER Alert for a 5-year old boy after investigators determined that he was with his father, who was suspected of murdering the boy’s mother on April 6. Bingaman remained in Las Vegas area but in spite of numerous sightings, authorities were not able to find him. A second AMBER Alert was issued on April 10 and shortly afterwards Bingaman turned himself into authorities. The boy was safely recovered and Bingaman faces murder and kidnapping charges.
March 18, 2004
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department issued an AMBER Alert for a 5-year old boy after investigators determined that he was with his father, who was suspected of murdering the boy’s mother on April 6. Bingaman remained in Las Vegas area but in spite of numerous sightings, authorities were not able to find him. A second AMBER Alert was issued on April 10 and shortly afterwards Bingaman turned himself into authorities. The boy was safely recovered and Bingaman faces murder and kidnapping charges.
March 17, 2004
The Walla Walla County Sheriff and Washington State Police requested an AMBER Alert activation in the Western Nevada/Eastern California and Eastern Nevada EAS Operations areas after receiving a report that an abduction suspect was seen in the Winnemucca area. A Washington State AMBER Alert was issued for 2-year old girl after she was taken from her home in Walla Walla on the afternoon of March 16. She was taken by force by her father, and investigators feared she had been hurt during the abduction. Fallon radio station KVLV receives the activation from the Local Primary station KKOH, and broadcasts the information. Two Fallon residents who heard the alert on KVLV called Fallon Police with possible sightings. One woman reports seeing the suspect’s pick up truck in downtown Fallon. Another woman says she saw the suspect and the child in a second hand store. Based on their reports, police arrested Ernesto Cuanas without incident and safely recovered the child and returned her to her home.
January 5, 2004
CHP Susanville request for Western Nevada/Eastern California EAS AMBER Alert activation for two sisters taken from Eureka, CA by their non-custodial mother. Police say Jimeise Dilley has a history of violence and had been charged with the murder of another of her children. Police say she is accompanied by a girlfriend and two men, described as the women’s “fiancées”. Jimeise saw the AMBER Alert activation at a truck stop in Lovelock and turned herself into authorities. The girls were recovered safely and returned to their grandparents.
August 20, 2003
CHP requested an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California EAS for an AMBER Alert for two children taken by force from their home in Garden Grove, CA, by their father, Luis Arteaga. (CHP faxes to NWS Reno) The children are still missing and believed to be in Mexico with Luis’ family
August 19, 2003
CHP Susanville requests Western Nevada/Eastern California EAS AMBER Alert activation for two children, taken by their father Gregory from their home in Whittier, CA. After a violent argument, Gregory told his estranged wife, the children’s mother, that he wanted to “kill the children”. He put the children in his car and drove to Nevada, taking a long detour because the highway was closed when a bridge washed out in a rainstorm. He checked into a motel in Searchlight where he called a friend who told him about the AMBER Alert. After talking with his friends, he called local police and turned himself in. Authorities recovered the children.
July 4, 2003
Manuel Gehring takes his children from a fireworks show in New Hampshire. Gehring is arrested on 7/12/03 in Gilroy, CA after a nation-wide search. NO AMBER Alert is issued for the children. Gehring tells investigators he murdered the children and buried them next to I80, “maybe somewhere in the Midwest”. Their bodies have never been found. Credit card receipts show Gehring stopped for gas in Winnemucca, NV.
July 1, 2003
Statewide AMBER Alert program takes effect in Nevada. The new program is based on the successful Krystal Alert program.
June 6, 2003
The California Highway Patrol in Truckee requests Western Nevada/Eastern California EAS AMBER Alert activation for a 9-year old girl taken by force from her home in San Jose, CA. The suspect waited in the garage of the home and attacked the girl’s mother as she got out of the car. He grabbed the girl and left the scene. The incident was recorded on a neighbor’s home security camera. In spite of an intensive search, investigators were not able to find any sign of the girl or the suspect. Several days later the child got away and walked into a convenience store in East Palo Alto, about nine miles away from her home. Clerks say they recognized her from flyers that were attached to pizza delivery boxes and called police. The 9-year old led authorities to the suspect who was arrested and charged. David Montiel Cruz was found guilty of kidnapping and rape charges. He faces sentencing on Oct. 22, 2004.
June 3, 2003
Las Vegas Metro issues its first AMBER Alert even though the program will not officially begin until July 1. The activation is made after a parked car is stolen from a strip mall. The owner has left her child in the car, with the car running, while she goes shopping for shoes. Authorities are concerned about the child’s welfare in the 104-degree weather and decided to issue the AMBER Alert after a TV reporter notes the case meets the national criteria for activation. Several hours later, a convenience store worker, who has noticed the car parked outside the store, contacts Metro when a shopper comments that the car, which is running, matches the description from the AMBER Alert. The child is recovered safely, but the suspects are still outstanding.
May 25, 2003
Salt Lake City, Utah, issued an AMBER Alert for a 19-month old girl, who was taken from her Salt Lake City home by her grandmother. A family member describes the grandmother, Kelley Jean Lodmell as “a paranoid schizophrenic who has not been taking her medication”. The AMBER Alert is NOT passed onto Eastern Nevada. The next day, Lodmell appears in an Idaho Falls, Idaho, power plant, telling workers that she “lost” her granddaughter in the nearby Snake River. Workers shut down plant’s water intake system and contact authorities. Authorities searched the river, but have not found the baby’s body. Lodmell has been found competent to stand trial on federal kidnapping charges. (Note: authorities speculate that Lodmell traveled through Eastern Nevada on her way to Idaho Falls.)
October 7, 2002
The Elko County Sheriff’s Office requested an AMBER Alert activation in Austin, Texas, to find a missing Elko teenager. Elko investigators had received reports that the girl, who was taken from her foster family’s home in Elko, had been spotted in Austin. They believed that her non-custodial mother and her mother’s new boyfriend, who has a record of violence against children, took her. After the alert was issued, an Austin resident spotted the suspects in an Austin restaurant. The girl was recovered safely and reunited with her family. The activation was the first AMBER Alert issued by Austin, TX authorities..
August 19, 2002
The California Highway Patrol requested activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California Emergency Alert System for Krystal Alert a 10-yearold girl. An older, male, family friend took the girl from her home in Riverside, California. A resident who recognized Park and his truck from descriptions broadcast by Reno radio and television stations spotted the suspect, Glenn Park, in Hawthorne. The resident contacted authorities and Walker River Tribal Police officers stopped and arrested Park as he drove through the Schurz Reservation north of Hawthorne. The girl was safely recovered and reunited with her family. The alert was cancelled. Park was eventually charged with kidnapping, burglary and child endangerment.
In August, 2001, the Reno Police Department requested an activation of the Western Nevada/Eastern California Emergency Alert System for a Krystal Alert issued for two missing boys. The brothers disappeared from the arcade in the Circus Circus Hotel at around 10 PM and their family called police after they couldn't find the boys. Hotel security found the boys in another family's hotel room. They had gone there to watch TV with that family's daughter. No charges were filed.
April 13, 2001
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office requested (1)an activation of the Western Nevada and Eastern California Emergency Alert System for the first Krystal Alert, after a newborn baby boy was abducted from Washoe Medical Center. The baby’s mother, Nancy Saucedo, thought she was giving her son to a hospital worker. Instead, Olga Lopez took the child as part of her plot to save her marriage by convincing her husband that she was pregnant and had given birth to a son. About ten hours after grabbing the baby, Lopez took him to St. Mary’s Hospital for a health check. The St. Mary’s staffer recognized both the suspect and the victim from pictures and descriptions broadcast by the local media during the Krystal Alert. She kept Lopez at the hospital while a supervisor called police. Lopez was arrested and the child was recovered unharmed and returned to his mother. Lopez eventually entered a guilty plea to the kidnapping charges and was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
March 9, 2001
On this date, 17 counties in Western Nevada and Eastern California adopted the “Krystal Child Abduction Alert Program” to use the Emergency Alert System to inform the public about abducted children. Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Nevada State Emergency Communications Committee, based on guidelines from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, developed the program. It was named for Krystal Steadman and dedicated to her memory.
March 19, 2000
Krystal Steadman was kidnapped from an apartment complex in Stateline. She was beaten, raped, tortured and murdered. The next day her body was found near Highway 50 below Spooner Summit, after investigators received a tip from a motorist who said he saw someone throw something wrapped in a sheet over the edge of the highway. Father and son suspects Thomas Soria Sr, 40, and Thomas Soria Jr., 19, were arrested and charged with kidnapping, rape and murder charges in Krystal’s death. Soria Jr. entered a guilty plea in the case and agreed to testify against his father. He was sentenced to life in prison. During the trial, the father, Thomas Soria Sr. committed suicide in the Douglas County Jail.
NEVADA AMBER ALERT STATISTICS
33 AMBER Alert activations involving 46 children with 39 children safely recovered, 1 deceased child and 6 children believed to be in Mexico with non-custodial parents.