TUCSON, Ariz. – Two teams from the Air and Marine Operation’s Tucson Air Branch (TAB), responding to an Amber Alert released today out of Chandler, Arizona, joined with the FBI and Navajo Nation police to locate a missing girl, and detain a male suspect involved in her disappearance.
The Amber Alert was issued Jan. 16 for a 15-year-old girl last seen in Chandler, Arizona.
After the FBI obtained information on the girl’s possible location on the Navajo Nation, the TAB launched two aircrews to help the FBI and Navajo Nation Police Department search for the girl and man suspected of taking her.
A TAB helicopter had to land several times while tracking the duo, according to one pilot. “Again and again we would find their trail, track it, lose it, land to find it again, take off to follow it and lose it again.”
Searchers eventually located the man and girl north of Tuba City. The FBI took the man into custody and the girl was reunited with her family.
“This is an example of how Air and Marine Operations is ready to assist its partner law enforcement agencies when needed,” said Tucson Air Branch Director Mitch Pribble.
Several other agencies were also involved in the search effort, including the Chandler Police Department, Coconino County Sheriff's Office, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Page Police Department.
The Amber Alert Program, named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year old girl abducted while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and later found murdered, is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and the wireless industry. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and the safe return of the child, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.