David Puckett Amber Alert: Police explain why they waited so long

“We can hindsight all day long,” says Aurora Police Chief

When the story of missing Colorado six-year-old David Puckett ended in tragedy, fingers were pointed at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation questioning why it took so long to issue an Amber Alert for the missing, high-risk boy.

David Puckett wandered away from his Aurora, Colorado, home on Saturday, December 31, but it wasn’t until Monday afternoon that an Amber Alert was issued in connection with this disappearance. He was found Tuesday morning in an icy pond a short distance from his home.

Amber Alerts are typically issued when there is a suspected abduction, although the official criteria in Colorado requires only that the child be in immediate danger, and enough available descriptive information that an alert can be expected to locate the child.

Initially, it appears investigators were not convinced that David was in serious danger because of his history of wandering off and returning safely. Only after he had been missing for an extended period time, as a cold weather spell was expected, did CBI believe it was time to issue an Amber Alert. But they are facing criticism that it should have been done before.

“CBI is committed to making sure the Amber Alert system is as effective and efficient as possible in Colorado,” CBI Director Michael Rankin reportedly said at a news conference. “We certainly take the questions and the concerns raised by the media and the public very seriously.”

“The Amber Alert was designed for a very specific purpose,” Rankin continued. “We don’t want to overuse that Amber Alert for too broad of a category of types of cases.”

CBI has reportedly sent out only 79 Ambert Alerts since 2002, and they were all successful in locating the missing child.

There is no evidence that David Puckett was abducted or harmed by another person, though the autopsy results are still pending.

“We can hindsight all day long about how we should have gotten there earlier,” Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz told The Denver Post on Friday. “It probably wouldn’t have made a difference unfortunately but, of course, hindsight makes 20/20.”


Photo: Aurora Police Department