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MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) activated an Amber Alert at approximately 11:20 a.m. on July 3, 2007, at the request of the Police Departments in Madison and Middleton, Wisconsin. The request was made when Craig Underkofler (age 56, of Middleton) failed to return his four children and investigators had reason to believe the children's lives were in danger.
The DOJ - Division of Criminal Investigation expanded the Amber Alert at approximately 1:30 p.m. to include all of Northern Wisconsin, Northeastern Minnesota, and ports of entry into Canada.
On Wednesday, July 4, 2007, Underkofler was taken into custody by the Lake County, Minnesota Sheriff's Department when deputies acted on a tip from a hotel employee who was aware of the Wisconsin Amber Alert activation. All four children were safely recovered and are back in Wisconsin. Underkofler was taken to the Lake County jail where he is awaiting extradition to Wisconsin. He is facing multiple felony charges.
"I am grateful to the Madison Police Department, Middleton Police Department, Lake County, Minnesota, Sheriff's Department, the personnel at our Division of Criminal Investigation, and to all our Amber Alert partners in law enforcement and the media for their work in successfully activating and resolving this Amber Alert," Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "Thanks in large part to their diligence and that of the alert hotel employee, four endangered children are now safe."
Since the start of Wisconsin's Amber Alert program in 2003, 19 children in danger have been successfully recovered after Amber Alert activations.
Wisconsin's Amber Alert Program is a collaborative partnership between law enforcement agencies, other state agencies, and broadcasters to alert the general public when a child is abducted. Partners to the program include the Wisconsin Broadcasters, Dane County 911, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Wisconsin Lottery, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Wisconsin. More information can be found at the DOJ Amber Alert Web Site.
When an alert is activated, radio and television stations interrupt programming with an emergency tone similar to the one used to warn about severe weather conditions utilizing the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The EAS provides a rapid response in the search of an abducted child. When a warning alert is activated, the community becomes aware of the abduction, providing law enforcement with the eyes and ears of the entire community to locate a missing child and save a child from harm.