AIKEN, S.C. – The tragedy of Faye Swetlik’s disappearance and murder raised many concerns in South Carolina as to why the community was not notified through an Amber Alert.
Aiken department of Public Safety’s Captain Maryann Burgess tells us South Carolina follows sled criteria that uses five questions to determine if a case is Amber Alert status.
“The first one is that we believe the child has been abducted, which means they have been taken away from their environment unlawfully, the 2nd piece would be if the child is 17-year or younger that we believe the child is in serious danger,” says Captain MaryAnn Burgess.
The other three are: can all possibilities be exhausted for the victim’s disappearance, can sufficient information can be spread to the public, and can identification can be entered into the National Crime Information Center?
Captain Burgess says it’s important to have this policy is place so the community can differentiate a child running away between a child being in danger.
“When alerts come so common place, no one pays attention, so that’s why those questions are place so people when know that hey this is the real deal. We need your help right now,” says Burgess.
So what happens if it doesn’t meet this criteria? In Georgia, a Levi’s call, which is less severe than an Amber Alert, is issued to get the word out that a child is missing.
South Carolina does not have anything like Levi’s call. but captain Burgess says they use additional resources.
“They didn’t meet the Amber Alert criteria, but we did feel like there was potential for them being in danger. In those cases we do reach out the press immediately, because you guys can help us get that word spread across rapidly. So while we don’t have a Levi Call, we do use available resources like the media to help us spread that information,” says Captain Burgess.