Parents aware of Amber Alert thanks to cell phones - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Parents aware of Amber Alert thanks to cell phones

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KANAWHA COUNTY, WV -

Peyton Parsons is Stepmother to three year old Carlea Whaples.  Parsons recalls playing a game last night when they were interrupted by a loud beeping sound from her cell phone.  It turned out to be the Amber Alert for missing 11 year old, Caitlyn Marie Virts, who was last seen Thursday morning in Dundalk, MD, with her father Timothy Virts.  Parsons doesn't know how she got the alert or why, but she is glad she did.

Vickie Crawford from South Charleston Resident is also a mom.  She says the cell phone Amber Alert went off repeatedly, but it didn't bother her at all.  She says it's great because it gets the message out to people quick that there is a child missing.

Many people didn't even realize an Amber Alert would be sent to their cell phone.  Some phones have a setting to turn government alerts on and off.  Parsons says the alert is great because nearly everyone these days has a cell phone, but not everyone may see the highway or televised alerts.  The beeping, she adds, grabs your attention and forces you to check your phone.

John Jack is a father living in Clendenin.  He also received the cell alert and says he will be on the lookout for the anything suspicious.  The more eyes and ears on the lookout, the more helpful tips are to law enforcement.  Lieutenant Michael Baylous with West Virginia State Police says they can't do their job without the help of the public.

During an amber alert, every second counts.  Lt. Baylous says with West Virginia being so close to major metropolitan area like Washington, D.C. and New York City, it wouldn't take much for a suspect to get on an airplane and be in a totally different location in just a matter of hours.

Crawford is glad West Virginians are on the lookout saying, "if it were my daughter missing I'd want an Amber Alert everywhere from here to Kalamazoo going off".