HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Amber Alert system started in West Virginia about 12 years ago.
But, with the explosion of social media, spreading the word about missing children in danger happens a lot faster. Folks are getting hit from all sides, and it's forcing them to be more observant.
“I saw it on the news and Facebook,” Kayla Scott said about the latest Amber Alert case in West Virginia.
That alert hit Thursday evening with alerts on Facebook, Twitter and local television news.
It's news Scott has seen several times and passed along.
“I'm sharing it to Facebook, and all of my friends are sharing it,” Scott said.
West Virginia State Police initiated the Amber Alert, spreading the word to local media and posting it on their website and Facebook page for others to share.
Our WSAZ Facebook page has seen its own fair share of "shares," meaning folks are seeing the alert and passing it along.
“It got shared over 2,000 times last night in a very short period of time. So those people, all of their friends saw it, and their friends shared it and it just grew exponentially, and you can't share news any faster on any other outlet,” WSAZ News Operations Manager Josh McComas said.
The proof is in the success. Athens County (Ohio) Sheriff Pat Kelly is a big believer in the power of social media. Facebook has become a major player in crime solving for his department.
“I use Facebook quite a bit," Kelly said. "It's a wonderful tool. With the push of a button, I can reach tens of thousands of people.”
Technology of all types puts the information in people's face wherever they are. Highway alert boards flash details where people can immediately start to look for the suspect. It all works together to create awareness and hopefully bring a child in danger home safely.
“I think it's tragic that someone could abduct their daughter and kill their wife,” Paul Emmons said.
“I'm scared to death of stuff like this because it's happening here, too, close to home,” Scott said.
If you'd like to see more information on this latest Amber Alert and share it with your friends, just go to our WSAZ page on Facebook.