Having a girl child is the most beautiful gift of marriage. Happiness inhabits the house and a family is truly said to be complete. Everything seems as pleasant as a fairy tale. But, what if this ultimate source of happiness just disappears? How terrible and shocking it is for parents to grasp that their baby girl might never return?
Isn’t it disheartening for a brother to know that his sister is gone? It is easy for others to sympathize and say that she has found her way to heaven. But, when close ones leave us, what remains is memories, unsolved puzzles, and grievances. Why would God want to take away the most precious gift he himself gave to a family? One among many unsolved stories of sudden disappearance is that of an innocent child- Amber Hagerman.
Table of Contents
Early Life Story
Donna Norris and Richard Hagerman gave birth to their first child-Amber on November 25, 1986. They lived in Arlington, Texas, USA. Amber had blue eyes, dark brown hair and a freckled face. She was in Girl Scouts which is a youth organization for girls in the USA and American girls living abroad. Ricky, her small brother of 5, and Amber usually spent enough time riding bicycles. Things were perfect until one day an unexpected incident took place, which left a long-lasting imprint on her loved ones. Amber Hagerman was abducted and murdered at an early age of 9. The world lost a pure soul on January 15, 1996.
One afternoon on January 13, 1996, Amber and her little brother were riding their bicycles as a part of their daily routine, just two blocks away from their home to an abandoned grocery store parking lot. Both spent their good time playing together. Ricky felt tired after some time and headed back home leaving his sister behind. Minutes later, a man got out of a black truck, took hold of Amber and locked her into the cab of the truck. In no time, Amber Hagerman was abducted and little did people knew that the baby girl would never return.
From Disappearance to Discovery
The only witness of Amber’s abduction, a 78-years-old man Jimmie Kevil, described the kidnapper as a white man, around 6 feet tall, between the age of 25 and 40. Kevil called the police immediately and informed them about each and every scene he witnessed. In the meantime, Ricky rushed back home to inform his mother that Amber was missing. Amber’s grandfather, Jimmie Watson arrived at the scene and found amber missing, the only thing related to her was an empty bicycle in the parking lot of the grocery store. The family immediately reacted to this mishap and informed local police officers, FBI, and the news media. Around 50 police officers and agents were in-charge of Amber’s search mission.
Despite all the efforts and tiresome search, Amber Hagerman could not be traced for four days. On the fourth day after the abduction, a dog walker discovered her body in a creek near the Arlington Forest Hills Apartment, a few miles away from Amber’s home. Authorities believed that the thunderstorms swept her body away. Her body was in a terrible state, she was naked with one sock worn. Her throat was cut. Reports revealed that she was kept alive for two days after the abduction and was sexually assaulted, beaten and raped. Amber’s parents were in disbelief and still expected their little child would return back home.
Tarrant County Medical Examiner examined Amber’s body and carried out an autopsy which revealed that the little girl was kept alive for around two days.
The detective sergeant of Amber’s case, Mike Simonds, explained the complications in tracing evidence from her body. A large storm broke out in the adjacent days of her seizure which led to extensive water flow pass her body.
Investigative force started their investigation briskly after Amber’s body was discovered but the case was dissolved in 1999 when it went cold. No official suspects have ever been discovered. No physical evidence such as guns, weapons or DNA had been found. Further, no forensic evidence has been found. Police have already investigated more than 8,000 leads about Amber’s disappearance but the case had been very difficult to further proceed. Until now, the real murderer has yet not been found and might have committed many other crimes out there in the town. Lack of essential information and other witnesses made this case more complicated and tough to solve the in-complete riddles.
Anyone with details on the murder of Amber was asked to call Detective Ben Lopez at 817-459-5373. There was a payout of $10000 for any information that leads to the suspect’s conviction and Grand Jury indictment. Tipsters were also provided with the option to remain anonymous at 817-469-TIPS, by contacting Tarrant County Crime Stoppers. But Amber’s story and the investigation process remains unsolved till date. The police officials and Amber’s family have not given up on this case and are pretty sure that someone out there has knowledge that will aid in bringing closure to Amber’s story.
The emergence of AMBER Alert
Many of us might have heard of AMBER Alert, but until now no one of us realized the backstory of this alert. AMBER Alert was named after the 1996 Abduction case of Amber Hagerman who has yet not come to terms with justice. Due to only a single witness to Amber’s abduction, the case remained unsolved which inspired her family to show some interest in the emergence of an alert which would notify people and the community when a child was abducted and kidnapped. Perhaps, the family believed that if this alert had been initiated earlier, Amber could be traced even before her death due to suspects, witnesses, and other evidence.
AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. Amber Alert is being used in 50 US States, the District of Columbia, Indian Country, Puerto Rico, the U.S Virgin Islands, and 22 other countries. Amber Alerts help law-enforcement agencies and media to circulate the news of kidnapping immediately. As of now, around 900 children have been successfully recovered through the Amber Alert System.
How does Amber Alert work?
Initially, law enforcement determines whether the case meets a certain criterion or not. Once, this determination is done, authorities notify media reporters, broadcasters and state transportation agencies. This alert interrupts the programming and appears on statewide transportation signs, digitals billboards and also appears on the cell phones. Amber Alert solves the problem of lack of information and evidence. People get cautious as soon as they see these types of alerts and are aware of the surroundings knowing that a child has been abducted. They get more conscious of the fact that the child’s abduction could lead to a serious bodily injury and sometimes, even death. Amber Alerts can happen at any time, in any situation and in many states at the same time.
Years of Amber’s Death
It has been years after Amber’s death, her family members have never given up on this case. In January 2016, Amber’s mother and brother held a press conference along with the detectives who had investigated her murder. The conference was held in order to request tips and leads from the public that could help to identify Amber’s murderer. Yet, nothing could be discovered.
In memory of the Amber Hagerman and the efforts of Hagerman family to change the manner in which law enforcement and the public are informed of missing children, January 13 was declared as Amber Alert Awareness Day by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Memories related to this case still exist among people and in the community with Arlington artists launching a mural in the same place where Amber was abducted. Mourners and Amber’s family members still spend their evening of January 13, at the memorial site honoring the 24-year old Amber Hagerman and paying her the tribute.