When a 5-year-old Indianapolis girl wandered away from home Tuesday, hundreds of people in her neighborhood knew about it within minutes. The girl was located safe a short time later.
IMPD initiated a phone alert by reporting the incident to "A Child is Missing," a nonprofit group which helps law enforcement agencies across the country by sending out recorded messages to people who live near a case involving children or elderly people who have gone missing.
Like any good boy scout, 12-year-old Ross Davis is full of good intentions, but when he decided to take the family dog outside in January, his good intentions were ruined by his mischievous dog.
"Mom was sick so I didn't want to pester her," Ross Davis said. "I reached for the leash and he's like, 'Oh, this is the perfect chance to escape."
Ross chased his dog more than a mile through Plainfield before he found himself lost and asking one question.
"Why is there like trees around us?" Ross Davis said. "I'm like, 'Look what you made us do.'"
When Laura Davis woke up she couldn't find her son.
"You know when over an hour goes by and you've called his best friends and he's not with either one of them and nobody in the neighborhood has seen him, then things start to get a little scary," said Laura Davis.
Once she called Plainfield police, it didn't take long for them to call "A Child is Missing."
The nonprofit group offers a simple, free service to law enforcement agencies across the country. As soon as an officer makes a report, the company uses satellite coordinates to identify the immediate area that needs to be searched, it then sends a recorded message to phones in that area at a rate of up to 1,000 calls a minute.
"Right away we've got more than just four or five police officers," said Captain Darel Krieger of the Plainfield Police Department. "We've got maybe 50 to 100 neighbors looking for that child."
"Thank goodness for that call," Laura Davis said.
In the Davis’ case, a neighbor got the message and all he had to do was step outside.
"A person found me," Ross Davis said. "He was like, 'Are you Ross Davis?' I'm like, 'Yeah, who wants to know?' And he's like, 'Your mother, she's looking for you."
"I'm sure he thought he was in trouble," Laura Davis said with a laugh. "You know, when you see all these police cars outside your house."
"There was cops, there was policemen, there was detectives," Ross Davis said. "And mom was like crying and everything."
According to "A Child is Missing," the service often fills the gap between amber and silver alerts. The Davis family said it helps connect people with good intentions.
"It lets you know how much family members miss you," Ross Davis said. "And this makes you want to get home a little bit faster."
"Thank goodness, you know that program is there because otherwise, who knows what might have happened," Laura Davis said.
You can sign up for the service online.
Nonprofit uses phone to alert community about missing kids
A Child is Missing is a nonprofit group which helps law enforcement agencies across the country by sending out recorded messages to people who live near a case involving children or elderly people who have gone missing.