FERGUSON, Mo. – It was more than a day before police saw the video that led them to issue an Amber Alert for a 12-year-old girl who was abducted after leaving her middle school in Ferguson.
The alert has now been canceled as police said they don’t believe the girl is in danger. The questions remain about the police response. More than 24 hours passed before Ferguson police saw the video, which initially caused them to issue an Amber Alert.
Ferguson Police Chief Frank McCall told us, “We didn’t get the video until Tuesday evening,” said Chief Frank McCall with the Ferguson Police Department.
McCall said he would have preferred to receive the video sooner.
“Well, in my opinion, I would have loved to have gotten it quicker,” he said.
McCall said it took time because their only report was from parents who said the 12-year-old had not come home. Police said they didn’t know if she’d gone home with a friend or to an after-school event.
Ferguson Middle School’s dismissal video was just one of many possible leads.
“Once the video was obtained and we discovered that she was apparently escorted to a vehicle, but the icing on the cake on that was that mom and no family member at that time stated that they recognized anyone involved,” McCall said.
Around noon Wednesday, police said they learned the girl is familiar with who she left with.
“We do believe that she is in the company of someone she is familiar with and right now we’re in the process,” McCall said. “I’m going to call my captains. We’re going to cancel the Amber Alert because we do not believe she’s in any danger.”
The chief adds that his department is working on getting video access from outside entities quickly.
“We talked with the district today,” McCall said. “And the thing that we’re going to be working on is fine-tuning, how we work together because I do foresee us being partners on this in the future.”
He said they’re putting together an action plan to work with schools, so they will have a clear procedure on how to exchange emergency information quickly.
Though Ferguson Police have canceled the alert, they are still seeking answers about what is now considered a missing person’s case. 12-year-old Natonja Holmes was last seen by her family Monday on surveillance video leaving Ferguson Middle School with two women. The video showed they left in a mini-van with no license plates. That vehicle has since been recovered.
Again, police said they do not believe the girl is in danger because she is reportedly familiar with at least one of the women. However, officers still need to talk with the girl and the women she left with.