Zara case may lead to Amber Alert changes

February 24, 2010 2:49:53 PM PST
The murder charges against Shamsiddin Abdur Raheem make it clear. Police believe he did throw his 3 month old daughter Zara over a bridge into the Raritan River on February 16th to her death.

Four hours had passed that afternoon before an amber alert was issued for Zara.

"Had that amber alert been up immediately, it could have saved that child's life," State Sen. Dick Codey said.

The problem? Amber Alerts were designed more for stranger abductions, not parents. "Up until now, police were less like to issue one against a parent," Codey said.

Attorney General Paula Dow, in light of Zara's possible murder, wants to toughen Amber Alert where parental abductions occur. It's a good move, says one strong activist.

Rosemarie D'allesandro's 7 year old daughter, Joan, was abducted and murdered by a neighbor in 1973. As a child protection advocate, she says Amber Alerts can't reach too far, even in domestic situations.

"We have to be on the safe side to make sure we protect the child," she said.

Codey says, for one, more questions will be asked and the situation scrutinized.

Dow is already working on closing those loopholes in Amber Alert. We may see stronger guidelines over parental abductions within a month.