Amber Hagerman

8 minutes was enough to commit a crime.

It was a cold winter when Amber Hagerman—a nine year old innocent girl—and her five year old little brother, Ricky, visited Arlington, Texas to meet their grandparents. Glenda Whitson and Jimmy Whitson were pleased to see their grandchildren and their daughter Donna. It was January 12, 1996 around 3 p.m when the children and their mother arrived. As the children often did when they visited their grandparent’s house, they asked if they could ride on their bikes. Since Donna used to bike near the house often, they did not give a second thought and allowed them to go. Donna told them not to go further than a block but they did not listen. Amber and Ricky peddled until Winn-Dixie grocery store, which was two blocks away from the house.


Amber (9) and Ricky (5)


Ricky got worried and thought about what his mother had said. He told Amber that he was going back, and left. When Ricky arrived home, his mother and his grandparents asked where Amber was. After telling them what happened, they sent Ricky back to bring his sister with him.

It was too late. Amber was nowhere in sight. Ricky, apprehended, rapidly peddled back home. After hearing that Amber was missing, Jimmy got on his car and rushed to the Winn-Dixie grocery store. Police had arrived after a call from an old man named Jim Kevil but all there was left was Amber’s bike. According to Kevil, a young man forced Amber into a dark truck and drove west of Arlington.


Glenda Whitson holding a picture of Amber and Ricky


This case was soon on the front page of the newspapers. Police and FBI did their best investigating the case. They put pictures of Amber everywhere in the hopes of getting other witnesses who had seen the incident. Donna was on television pleading the stranger who abducted Amber to let her free.

Despite all this hardworking, nothing came back.

Four days later, a man unexpectedly found Amber’s naked body. There was blood and bruises all over her body and her throat was slit.

A few weeks after the incident, the police let out several theories that could have possibly made the criminal act the way he did. Police believed that something triggered the criminal to abduct Amber; it wasn’t something planned in advanced. Some say that the criminal might have had a fight with a lover, lost his job or just something that psychologically led him to abduct Amber. Investing $1 million solely on this case, everyone slowly abandoned it. The theories did not really help the investigation and nearly after 10 years, it’s still left as an unsolved case.



After this incident, the Dallas Amber Plan (1997) was created. Here, the radio and television broadcasters were to inform instantly about the abductions happening. The plan was proved useful when a babysitter who was on drugs disappeared with an eight-week-old baby. Through this program, the baby was safely returned.

In 2000, an official Amber Alert program was made and around 240 children were rescued from abductions. Amber alerts were useful, but overuse and misuse of it worried the federal government. Therefore, an age limit of 17 and below who were in dire situations was set.

Every time a child is safely return through this program, Glenda Whitson thanks Amber for it. She grieves for Amber and still has hope that the strange criminal will get caught before she dies.

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