Some want Amber Alert laws changed after recent case - WSMV Channel 4

Some want Amber Alert laws changed after recent case

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An Amber Alert for Elizabeth Thomas was issued in Tennessee and Alabama. (WSMV) An Amber Alert for Elizabeth Thomas was issued in Tennessee and Alabama. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Elizabeth Thomas was missing for more than a month, but Amber Alerts were only issued in two states.

Even though Thomas and Tad Cummins were spotted in Oklahoma, officials there never sounded the alarm.

"The Amber Alert system is a wonderful godsend on our country. I can't say enough good about it," said Jason Whatley, the Thomas family's attorney.

Whatley said if it wasn't for the Amber Alert and the nationwide attention this case received, Thomas may still be missing.

"But with every system there are limitations, and the limitations in this case was the Amber Alert was limited to the state of Tennessee and Alabama," Whatley said.

Each state has its own Amber Alert system and follows national guidelines for when an alert can be issued.

The TBI said the reason there is no national alert is because they don't want to develop "Amber fatigue," which is when people hear so many they don't pay attention to them anymore.

In this particular case, even with the sighting in Oklahoma, an Amber Alert was only issued in Tennessee and Alabama.

Oklahoma officials said they can only issue an alert if law enforcement requests it. That never happened.

TBI officials said that is because by the time they received the video and pictures in Oklahoma, it was weeks later and they had no reason to believe they would still be there.

"Clearly we live in a country with interstates, and clearly Tad Cummins was able to get around law enforcement and get around frankly all of the news reports for a long time, so we are hoping that system can be shored up and made even better if some tragedy like this was to happen in the future," Whatley said.

As of February, Amber Alerts have helped rescue and safely return 868 children.

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