The West Haven Police Department initially sent out an Amber Alert for a missing 13-year-old girl on Tuesday morning, however that was quickly changed to a Silver Alert.
Police issued the Amber Alert for Alexis Otero. But, just 23 minutes later, police retracted that and said the situation was really a Silver Alert.
"When we say Amber Alert that absolutely should make everyone jump out of their seat and say what in the world is going on and this is something need to pay attention to,” Trooper Kelly Grant said.
Connecticut State Police said there is a big difference between the two.
"Amber alert is when we have an abduction,” Grant said. “The key word is abduction."
Grant told Eyewitness News that the Silver Alert criteria is set by the individual state. In Connecticut, a Silver Alert can pertain to a missing child under 18 years old, a missing person between 18 and 65 years old who has mental health issues or someone who is over 65.
But, an Amber Alert has to meet federal criteria and can only be triggered by state police, not a local police department.
Police must believe an abduction has taken place and the child must be at risk of serious injury or death. Police also must have descriptive information of the child, captor, or captors vehicle and the child must be 17 years old or younger.
"This is not our decision. It's not a state decision. It's not a state police decision,” Grant said. “This is federal criteria...Amber Alert."
Given the serious nature of an amber alert, Grant said that's even more of a reason that what is sent out needs to be precise.
"That information that you're putting out to the public to keep their eye out for this person, this car, this child, vital that it's accurate,” Grant said.
Otero was found safe later in the day on Tuesday.
The West Haven Police Department told Eyewitness News they made a mistake and immediately corrected it.
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