Levi's Call - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/22/03

Levi's Call

Thousands of children are reported missing across the country each year. But just because a child is missing doesn't mean that a national Amber Alert or even a statewide Levi's Call will be issued.

"Each situation would be treated different," said Garden City Police Chief David Lyons.

The Garden City Police Department learned that firsthand when six-year-old Christopher Davis was reported missing on Saturday. Davis is autistic and cannot speak. His mother reported him missing early Saturday morning. About 12 hours later, Garden City Police got a call from someone who had seen the boy.

Police found little Christopher in a parking lot with John Brown. Brown lives in the boy's home. Police say Brown had the mother's permission when he left with the child.

Chief Lyons said, "If there's any possibility this is an abduction or a child may be in danger we're going to call the GBI."

That's just what the department did Saturday, but Christopher's situation didn't qualify with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's five strict guidelines. The GBI says in order to issue Levi's Call, there must be a confirmed abduction. That means no runaways, no parental abductions. If it's a parental abduction, the child's life must be in danger of harm or death. The child must be under the age of 17. There must be enough descriptive information for police to give the media. And finally, it must be entered into the National Crime Information Center database.

"I think it's great, but in some cases the criteria may be too rigid," Chief Lyons said.

When Saturday's case didn't qualify, Garden City police did what they could to get the public's help on their own, which ultimately ended in the safe return of six-year-old Christopher.

Reported by Holly Bristow, hbristow@wtoc.com

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