Her case led to the Amber Alert, but 25 years later still no arrests


Wednesday marks the 25th anniversary of the kidnapping of Amber Hagerman.

Hagerman was only 9-years-old and was riding her bicycle with her brother in the parking lot of an abandoned grocery store January 13, 1996 when police say someone pulled up and forced her into his pick-up truck.

One man saw what happened and called police. He said Hagerman tried to fight back and started screaming, but the kidnapper drove off.

Arlington police found Hagerman's body in a creek bed four days later.

"Why did you take my little girl? Why did you terrify her? Why did you take her clothing from her? And most of all, why did you kill my little girl?" Hagerman's mom, Donna Williams, asked at the time. "My little girl was a nine year old, innocent little girl."

Local police started working together on kidnapping cases that October.

Diana Simone, a massage therapist in Fort Worth, and a friend went to police with the idea for a warning system similar to severe thunderstorms or tornadoes.

"The idea was based on the goodness of people and their desire to help and their wanting to help and simply not having a safe tool to do so," she says. "There's always this outpouring of teddy bears, candles and flowers, which is an outpouring of sympathy and compassion, but that doesn't help the next one."

The state-wide Amber Alert system was adopted in 2002.

Since then, the Texas Department of Public Safety says 251 Amber Alerts have been issued, leading to the rescue of 263 children. Local departments can now issue alerts, placing information on message boards or sending texts and notifying local media, but state-wide Amber Alerts must go through the Department of Public Safety and meet additional criteria.

Arlington police say they have received more than 7,000 tips about Hagerman's kidnapping and murder, but they have not made an arrest. People can share tips at (817) 575-8823. Oak Farms Dairy is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.