Iowa’s first Amber Alert was little more than a drill. Following a domestic disturbance in Des Moines, Iowa State Patrol officials who were told a 6-month-old baby had been taken from her home declared the alert late Tuesday afternoon. To qualify for the newly-established warning system, the abduction of a child must have been witnessed by someone, and there must be a belief that the child’s in danger. By the time the word was going out, officers were being told the suspect was a man who may have been the child’s father, and though at first they thought he might be headed for Omaha, they learned he often stays at a Des Moines home where he was found with the child. Word of the Amber Alert never went to some media in the area, including a couple TV stations in Des Moines left scrambling for the story and the state’s Amber Alert website didn’t carry the message until later in the day, after the baby girl had been recovered by police, unharmed and the alert called off.
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