Congress unanimously passed and President Trump signed the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act into law on April 13, 2018. I led this life-saving solution to ensure that no child –regardless of race, ethnicity, or birthplace—is outside the protection of this vital law enforcement tool.
Ashlynne lived on the Navajo Reservation and was 11-years old when she and her brother were kidnapped. Ashlynne’s brother was able to escape and survive the ordeal. They were transported to a deserted part of the reservation, where they were assaulted, abused, and left to die.
When a child is missing, immediate action is critical to their safe return. Authorities did not send an AMBER Alert for over 10 hours after Ashlynne went missing because of a loophole in the system. We might have saved Ashlynne—her killer later testified that she was still alive when he left her.
The AMBER Alert program has proven valuable at efficiently providing information to the public to assist in the search. Unfortunately, Indian tribes were left out of the original authorizing statute of the program, which has led to vast gaps in the system. Our bill provides the opportunity to ensure all children can benefit from the AMBER Alert program if necessary, no matter where they reside.