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MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Department of Justice activated an Amber Alert on July 5, 2010, at the request of the Milwaukee Police Department. The request was made after Lavatta Smith and her children were discovered missing during a fire investigation at their residence.
At about 4:30 p.m. on July 5 a citizen was listening to the Brewer game in his vehicle when the broadcast was interrupted for the Amber Alert. The citizen noticed the suspect vehicle in front of him on the freeway in Kenosha County. The Wisconsin State Patrol and Kenosha law enforcement officers stopped the vehicle. Lavatta Smith was taken into custody. There were 5 children in the vehicle. Three of those children were the focus of the Amber Alert. The Amber Alert has been cancelled.
"I am grateful to the Milwaukee Police Department, Kenosha County law enforcement, the Wisconsin State Patrol, 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," said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "Thanks in large part to their diligence and that of an alert motorist, three endangered children are now safe."
Since the start of Wisconsin's Amber Alert program in 2003, 26 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 at www.amberalertwisconsin.org
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 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.