A horrifying scene played out in Ardmore, Oklahoma, over the weekend when a 7-year-old girl was forcefully abducted by a stranger Saturday afternoon. Within hours, police issued an AMBER Alert for the girl, describing the vehicle that drove her away as a silver PT Cruiser driven by a white male. That AMBER Alert led to an anonymous tip directing to Fount Duston, a 34-year-old man living in Marietta, about 20 miles south of Ardmore. The caller was apparently an acquaintance of the supsect and recognized the description of the vehicle in the AMBER Alert as the same type driven by Duston. When police arrived at Duston's door Sunday morning, he acted suspiciously, refusing to let them in before brandishing a shotgun. Officers used a taser to subdue the man and forced their way into the home, where they found the missing girl. Duston was arrested and booked into the Carter County jail on charges of kidnapping and first degree rape. As of this writing, he is held on $750,000 bond. In this case, the AMBER Alert worked as it was supposed to--finding an abducted child and reuniting her with her family. Fortunately, the girl was found alive. She had been missing for more than 18 hours, and more than 75 percent of children murdered in a child abduction are killed within three hours of being taken. The AMBER Alert system is designed to help quickly recover missing and endangered children. According to the United States Department of Justice's AMBER Alert website at amberalert.gov, a missing child case must meet 5 recommended criteria before an alert is issued:
- There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred.
- The law enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
- There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.
- The abduction is of a child aged 17 years or younger.
- The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.