Nodaway County, Mo., Sheriff Ben Espey, was frustrated. A pregnant woman had been killed and the child ripped from her womb. The Missouri Highway Patrol refused to issue an Amber Alert because it lacked information about the child – hair color, height and other details. The “Tory Jo Loophole,” named after Victoria Jo Stinnett, the abducted child, stopped the patrol from issuing the alert for eight hours after the murder and abduction were discovered. U.S. Rep. Sam Graves and U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, Missouri Republicans, will introduce legislation to close that loophole. Although the child eventually was found, Graves said the wait for the alert to be issued was too long.
The legislation basically would allow law enforcement agencies to issue an alert even though officers may not have a detailed description of the victim. There have been fewer than a dozen cases of children stolen from their mother’s wombs since 1984, said Steve McBride of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.