The Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would expand the AMBER Alert child abduction warning system to Indian Country.
The legislation would provide federal grants to tribes plus oversight of communication plans with local law enforcement agencies. The Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act is named for an 11-year-old Navajo girl who was kidnapped 10 hours before an AMBER Alert was issued.
Arizona Representative Andy Biggs sponsored the legislation.
“Tom Begaye Jr., Ashlynne’s perpetrator, admitted that Ashlynne was alive when he left her stranded in the desert,” Biggs said. “Had Indian Country been included in partners in AMBER Alert plans law enforcement might have rescued Ashlynne in time. She might still be alive and with us today. When a child is abducted action in those first hours is crucial to their safe return.”
The Navajo Nation used its own funds to install an emergency alert system this month, almost two years after Ashlynne Mike’s abduction.
The amended federal legislation now moves back to the Senate.