When Silver, Amber Alerts are not enough

North Carolina

Most people’s jobs aren’t filled with life-or-death decisions. Most days, Nona Best’s job is.

She runs the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons. It’s Best’s job to put out alerts – Silver Alerts for adults, Amber Alerts for people 17 and younger – when they go missing.

Silver Alerts are much more common – more than 400 in 2018, the last year for which North Carolina has complete statistics – vs. just 8 Amber Alerts, though juveniles are much more likely to go missing than seniors.

Most have happy resolutions when the person is found, but those rare cases that don’t can be difficult for Nona.

“You never get any leads of what happened to them,” Best said. “You presume that they’re deceased after they go so, so long without being found or no leads or anything like that. And so, it does happen, it does happen. And it happens to good people, too.”

Nearly three out of four are resolved within 72 hours. But when they are deactivated and the resolution isn’t a good one, the pain can linger for all involved.

“It can be very difficult to do, when you get a deactivation form for a Silver Alert and it says, ‘Found deceased’,” Best said.

See some of those cases in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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