Amber Alert Questions - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Amber Alert Questions

Amber Alert Questions

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WSLS received several questions about Amber Alerts since Pulaski infant Cory Cole went missing.

Virginia State Police say the criteria for activation does not consider whether the suspect is a parent. However, very strict guidelines are in place in order to issue an alert.

We asked Pulaski County Police Chief Gary Roche why an Amber Alert wasn't issued when 5-month-old Cory Cole went missing. He said for this situation, investigators decided it was better to put Cory's information on the National Center for Endangered and Missing Children's website. Cory's picture and information was on the website, but was taken down as of Friday morning. Chief Roche says they must follow the protocol when it comes to issuing an Amber Alert.

One criteria is the 'law enforcement agency believes the child has been abducted.' Roche says because the child was with his father, police couldn't absolutely say the infant had been 'abducted.' Pulaski Police were alerted of the child being in possible danger Tuesday afternoon. He says Wednesday police found out more information that led them to file a felony child abuse warrant for father Howard Cole.

Cole was the last known person with his son Cory. He was seen with Cory Monday night, but then he seen alone Wednesday morning at McDonald's in Dublin. A Pulaski County Sheriff Deputy took Cole into custody Thursday morning at the Fairlawn Wal-Mart.

Police did find the body of an infant matching Cory's description Thursday night. Investigators are still waiting on autopsy results to confirm the child's identity.

Here's the full list of Activation Criteria for an Amber Alert:

  • The abducted child must be 17 years of age or younger or is currently enrolled in a secondary school in the Commonwealth, regardless of age, and the law enforcement agency believes the child has been abducted (unwillingly taken from their environment without permission from the child's parent or legal guardian).
  • The law enforcement agency believes the missing child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death. 
  • A law enforcement investigation has taken place that verified the abduction or eliminated alternative explanations.
  • Sufficient information is available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the child, suspect, and/or the suspect's vehicle.
  • The Child must be entered into the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) missing person files as soon as practical.
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