People living in Bathurst are wondering why an Amber Alert wasn't issued after 14-year-old Madison Roy-Boudreau disappeared last week.
The Bathurst teen was last seen getting into a grey Ford Ranger the morning of May 11. Police and rescue workers have been doing ground searches of the area this week, with no new developments.
On Tuesday, Bathurst Police Chief Stéphane Roy said the force was investigating Roy-Boudreau's disappearance as suspicious, adding the truck she was seen getting into has been seized and is in the force's possession.
The decision not to try an Amber Alert in the Roy-Boudreau case was made by Bathurst police, not the RCMP. Bathurst police did not ask the RCMP to send such an alert, RCMP said.
"There are specific criteria and policy regarding the use of Amber Alert to ensure that it is used appropriately," RCMP Insp. Andrea Gallant said during an interview with Information Morning Moncton.
"But I can't provide specific details of the criteria and policies, as that is part of our operations and tactics."
What is an Amber Alert?
On its website, RCMP say its Amber Alert program provides information to the public about child abduction by using widespread media broadcasts to solicit the public's help in having the child returned home safely. They do this through a text message, radio and TV.
When the alert is activated, broadcast media will air it every 15 minutes for the first three hours, then every half-hour for five hours. After that, the alert is included in newscasts for 24 hours.
"When new information becomes available, media is notified," the website said. "The Amber Alert is officially cancelled after 24 hours — it then continues as regular news."
When an Amber Alert can be activated
On its website, RCMP say an Amber Alert can only be issued if:
Police have confirmed that an abduction has taken place.
The victim is a child or of proven physical or mental disability.
There is reason to believe the victim is in danger of serious physical injury.
There is information available that, if broadcast to the public, could assist in the safe recovery of the victim.
"They're only effective if they're used appropriately and not every circumstance warrants their use," Gallant said.
Gallant said an Amber Alert has never been issued in New Brunswick to date. But the Amber Alert system is reviewed by police once a month.
"I think the criteria is very well defined, and it's very well defined for a reason," she said. "Not every situation would warrant an Amber Alert but it would be looked at very closely and very carefully."
Gallant also would not speak to the search for the Bathurst teen.
Roy-Boudreau is five feet four inches tall and 119 pounds, with brown eyes and medium-length brown hair. She was last seen wearing a grey sweater, a pair of camouflage pants and silver shoes.