On February 22th, 2015, a 6-year-old girl named Kloe Rose Donohoo disappeared late at night in Corpus Christi (a town in Texas) along with the family van and a “male acquaintance” who was staying with her family. The man had kidnapped her and was suspected to be heading towards the Mexican border.
Her family notified the police as soon as they discovered that she and their acquaintance had disappeared, and the decision was made to send out a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA). The WEA Amber Alert contained essential identifying information on the physical appearances of both the victim and kidnapper, their clothing, and the model and make of the stolen vehicle.
12 hours later, around noon the following day, a gas station clerk recognized a vehicle pulling in for some gas with the license plates 6BZXV- the exact same one as specified as the pop-up message on his phone. He approached the man and asked him about the 6-year-old in the back of the car, to which he answered that he was the father. The man also matched the description of Austin Edward Callin, the suspected kidnapper who had a mental disability and was illiterate.
The clerk passed this information to the state police, who focused their search efforts on the area around the gas station. At 12:30 PM, a state trooper on the I-10 found a vehicle matching the description and pulled it over, safely recovering the child and taking the suspect into custody without further incident.
Wireless AMBER Alerts have lead to 40 success stories and counting, this one included. In the end, it turns out that the little buzz can really do a lot, eh?
Edit/a lil’ bit more information: The Wireless Emergency Alert system also sounds for other emergencies such as the recent (and false) ballistic missile alert for Hawaii. You probably know what it looks like if you’re American and have a mobile phone, but if not, here’s what it looks like.