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Criteria for when an AMBER alert can be issued

For law enforcement to issue an AMBER alert, certain criteria needs to be met.

CAYCE, S.C. — More than 250 officers are searching for a missing Cayce girl, but some people have asked News19 why there isn't an Amber Alert issued in the case. 

Faye Swetlik, who's just 6-years-old, was last seen playing in her yard around 3:44 PM Monday at Londonderry Lane in Cayce just off Highway 302 in the Churchill Heights neighborhood. 

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More than 250 officers from multiple agencies have joined the search but law enforcement has so far not issued an Amber Alert.

Many people question why these alerts aren't issued for every missing child, but that's because there are special criteria for Amber Alerts that must be met. Law enforcement is quick to clarify that the issuing of an Amber Alert does not trigger additional law enforcement resources to be involved in the search; instead, it's mainly a notification tool involving emergency alert tones on TV and cell phones as well as interstate signs. 

Credit: Cayce Department of Public Safety
Faye Swetlik

According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, an investigation involving a missing child must reveal certain criteria for an AMBER alert to be activated. 

The investigation must reveal every single one of the following to have an AMBER alert. 

  • The law enforcement agency must believe that the child has been abducted. They must believe that the child was taken unlawfully, without authority of law, and without permission from a parent or legal guardian. 
  • The child must be 17 years old or younger. Law enforcement must also believe that the child is in immediate danger of serious harm or death. 
  • If the missing person is above 18 years old, the agency must believe the individual is at greater risk for immediate danger of serious harm or death because of an individual's physical or mental disability. 
  • All other possibilities for the disappearance of the child has been ruled out.
  • There is enough information to give to the public that could assist in locating the victim, suspect, or vehicle used in the abduction. 
  • The child's name and other data have been entered into the NCIC.  

For more information about SLED and AMBER alerts, go to their website.

As for the search for Swetlik, there's special tipline that's been set up at 803-205-4444. People can also call the Cayce Department of Public Safety at 803-794-0456 or Investigator W. Dougall at 803-550-9535.

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