OGDEN -- Parents involved in two of the most infamous child abduction cases in Utah history were in Ogden on Wednesday to talk about the state's child abduction alert system.
Ed Smart and Elaine Runyan-Simmons spoke before the Rotary Club of Ogden at the Marriott Ogden Hotel, discussing the benefits of the Amber Alert Program.
Smart is the father of Elizabeth Smart, who on June 5, 2002, at the age of 14, was abducted from her Salt Lake City bedroom.
Elizabeth was found alive nine months later about 18 miles from her home, in the company of Brian David Mitchell.
Runyan-Simmons' daughter Rachael Runyan, was 3 years old when she was abducted near her home in Sunset by a stranger offering ice cream in August 1982. Rachael's body was found in the mountains of Morgan County three weeks later, bound and murdered. The perpetrator has not been caught.
The Amber Alert Plan in Utah was spurred by the Runyan case and was once called the Rachael Alert.
Since renaming the alert plan, the Rachael Runyan Award has been created to honor Utah residents who help in the recovery of an abducted child.
Runyan-Simmons, who has been an active advocate of finding missing children since the kidnapping, said her daughter has probably saved the lives of countless children because of changes that have come forth as a result of her case.
"We've come a long way since 1982," she said. "There was no Amber Alert back then. We had to call the police, the media. We spent $10,000 on fliers that were sent all over the country.
"After we laid her to rest, we wanted to make sure no one ever had to go through this again."
Smart also praised the program, saying the alert helped mobilize more than 10,000 volunteers who searched more than 4,000 miles in the immediate days following his daughter's kidnapping.
"The volunteerism was amazing," Smart said. "We knew the only way we were going to find her was to get as many people together as possible and literally hunt her down."
Smart said the program combines the forces of law enforcement, media and the general public -- all of which played a crucial role in bringing his daughter back home.
Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Utah Attorney General's Office and state coordinator for Utah's Amber Alert Plan, said that after 10 years, Utah's program has sent out 39 alerts for 34 children, with 17 children returning home safely, exclusively because of the program.
Murphy said social media has made the program even more potent, noting the state's newly created Facebook and Twitter pages.
Amber Alert Plans have assisted with the recovery of more than 200 children nationwide. Utah was the ninth state to adopt a statewide Amber Plan.
Today, every state has a statewide child abduction alert plan.