Missing children cases on mainland reminds Kailua father of missing daughter killed

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The month of August is always a hard one for Tip Gilbert.

“August 23 is my son’s birthday and it was his birthday party that she was taken from,” Maile’s father Tip Gilbert said.

Gilbert will never forget the day he loss his 6-year-old daughter Maile.

“When people said you’ll get over this you never get over the loss of a child especially an abduction and a murder you learn to live with it,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert says any time he hears about a kidnapping on the news, he is reminded of his daughter.

“We did everything we could to keep Maile safe and it still happened,” Gilbert said.

Since, Maile’s death, Gilbert has been very involved in helping other parents find their children if they go missing.

He says comparing the California teen kidnapping to a missing child case in Hawaii is very different.

“If there’s an abduction here in Hawaii they’re going to stay localized on the island. If they go to the airports, they’re going to be seen it’s not as easy for them to disappear,” Gilbert said.

According to the state attorney’s office there are three things that need to be in place before a Maile Amber Alert is issued.

  • A child must be 17 years of age or younger
  • There must be sufficient information to indicate child is in danger
  • And, there must be descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or the suspect’s vehicle.

And once all that happens…

“There will be notification of various people through the network,” State Attorney General David Louie said.

Louie says the only time an alert was issued was in 2005 when a man stole a mini van after a mother went inside a bank in Ewa Beach, and left her sleeping 2-year-old and 4-year-old boys inside with the engine running.

“I think whenever a child is in danger boy the community really responds people are very in tuned and sympathetic to that situation and they want to help,” Louie said.

According to the attorney general, the first three hours of a child’s disappearance are critical because that is when the child is either hurt or killed.

The Maile Amber Alert system in Hawaii is a voluntary partnership between all county police departments, civil defense and the attorney general’s office.

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