Some California residents and a law-enforcement expert say police in Tracy, Ca., should have publicly expressed more urgency about the disappearance of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, reports the Associated Press. Police had referred to the girl’s disappearance as a missing persons case, not an abduction, for 10 days until farm workers drained an irrigation pond and found her body stuffed in a suitcase. Police say they had scoured the area, called in reinforcements and explored theories from dealing with a runaway to looking for a kidnapper.
Police did not issue an Amber Alert because they had no information on a suspect or mode of transportation connected to an abduction. Joseph Pollini of the law and police science department at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice disagreed with that decision. “Even if it’s just some nuance of information, we still want to get that out there,” said Pollini, who headed the kidnapping and cold-case homicide units during his 33 years with the New York Police Department. Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, defended police handling of the search for the missing girl and said they made the right call in not issuing the Amber Alert.