Alert system adopted to trace missing children

Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras yesterday inaugurated at the Syntagma metro station a US-devised system to help find missing children on the occasion of International Missing Children’s Day. The Amber Alert system, named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and murdered in 1996 in Texas, uses a variety of techniques to brief police, media and the public early when a child disappears. «We are ready to serve this system, from the first patrol car to receive an alert to our most specialized units,» Polydoras said. The system is reportedly capable of putting the whole country on alert within 30 minutes of a disappearance being reported. A total of 40 state and private organizations, including local media firms, are to cooperate in implementing the system which makes use of emergency media bulletins, the mass distribution of SMS messages and electronic signs on highways and railways. «The cooperation of local media is of the utmost importance,» said the head of the child protection agency Hamogelo tou Paidiou (Child’s Smile) Constantinos Yiannopoulos. The launch of the system yesterday coincided with the discovery of the body of a 14-year-old boy in central Athens. The boy, reported missing the day after leaving his Kato Patissia home following an argument with his parents, had apparently fallen from the roof of an apartment block. Police said he had probably fallen while trying to jump from the three-story block to the roof of another building. They are not treating his death as suspicious.