Number of missing persons cases rising across Alabama, officials say


Aniah Haley Blanchard

Data pix.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — It has been four weeks since Aniah Blanchard disappeared in Auburn.

Blanchard’s case is among a record number of missing person cases in Alabama this year. The intelligence branch of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said there are ways to classify each case.

The Alabama Fusion Center, a sharing hub for state law enforcement and the private sector, breaks down their missing person alerts into four categories: AMBER Alert, Emergency Missing Child Alert, Missing Senior Alert, and Blue Alert. Jay Moseley is the director of the center and said it plays a major role in issuing missing person alerts.

“It’s accurate to say that we have seen an increase in missing person reports,” Moseley said. “We’re on the rise in all of our reports.”

So far this year, there have been three AMBER Alerts, nine Emergency Missing Child Alerts, 41 Missing Senior Alerts, and one Blue Alert. Blue Alerts are issued when an officer has been seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.

Moseley said social media plays a big role in helping them when it comes to getting the word out about missing people across the state.

“When we get an alert, we quickly put it on our social media page,” he said.

The Fusion Center is helping Auburn police in the Blanchard case. In her case, a missing person advisory was issued.

“That really went everywhere that an alert goes to: social media, law enforcement, and the media,” Moseley said.

Central Alabama CrimeStoppers is another organization that helps in missing person cases like Blanchard’s. So far, the group has received over 400 tips regarding Blanchard’s whereabouts.

“It’s been pretty busy,” CrimeStoppers director Andre Mitchell said.

Officials at the Alabama Fusion Center say there is no waiting requirement before someone files a missing person report. However, the earlier law enforcement is contacted, the better.