DALLAS -- Fifteen years ago, 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted as she rode her bicycle in the parking lot of an abandoned east Arlington grocery store. She was murdered.
Police say they are no closer to making an arrest than they were in 1996, but Amber's legacy survives in the Amber Alert system operating in some form in 50 states and several foreign countries.
The notification system has been credited with saving 500 abducted or missing children since its inception and is widely praised by experts as an essential tool for quickly moving to rescue endangered children.
But some critics say the system isn't nearly as prolific at saving the lives of children who are in real danger -- primarily youngsters abducted by homicidal sexual predators who don't know their victims -- as its supporters claim.