TN toddler’s abduction case could prompt change in issuing AMBER Alerts

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GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — The child at the center of a nationwide AMBER Alert could prompt a change in the state.

It took nine days for the TBI to issue an AMBER Alert from when Noah Clare’s mother reported to police that her son wasn’t returned home.

“Clearly every second, every minute, every day counts,” House District 53 State Representative Jason Powell told News 2.

He has heard concerns from the community about the lag in time from when Noah was reported missing until when an AMBER Alert was issued.

“This could have turned out tragically but we are so lucky that this happened, but we need to do everything we can to make sure we get these AMBER Alerts out quickly, in a time-efficient matter and so I think it’s all about taking a look at this case, taking a look at the laws and doing everything we can to get these out faster,” said Representative Powell. 

The TBI issued an Endangered Child Alert one day after the police report, once Gallatin police secured a warrant charging Clare with custodial interference.

He made it across the country to California with the 3-year-old and his teenage niece before the AMBER Alert was issued, the same day his car was found in California. 

“I mean it was great that there was an endangered child alert that went out, but clearly an AMBER Alert is broadcast to a much wider audience. It’s not just posted to the media and social media, I got the notice on my phone immediately. I know they go up on our billboards, so AMBER Alerts are so much more powerful and being able to locate these children that are endangered and at-risk and so that’s why we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to get these AMBER Alerts out quicker if necessary.”

A “Noah’s Law” petition on change.org already has around 4,000 signatures. The petition states if an AMBER Alert was allowed right away in this case, Noah and his cousin would have already been home.

News 2 reached out to the TBI for comment, they sent the below statement on behalf of Director David Rausch:  

“The role of the TBI is to support local, state, and federal law enforcement in these types of cases. To that end, we continue to work closely with the jurisdictions involved in the case involving Noah Clare and Amber Clare.

The AMBER Alert system operates state by state, but has very specific guidelines and rules on when it can be activated. TBI followed those rules and best practices in this case. After being requested by the Gallatin Police Department, TBI issued an Endangered Child Alert immediately, based on the facts available to us at the time. The ECA, which proves successful dozens of times a year, operates in similar fashion to an AMBER Alert: it provides the public the necessary information to assist in the case. As we’ve done in several other cases in the past, when new information surfaced and when the local agency secured a new charge of Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, TBI upgraded the alert for Noah Clare to an AMBER Alert.

Throughout this case, TBI shared information with law enforcement partners across the country. California determined it was most prudent to issue an alert similar to Tennessee’s Endangered Child Alert. Ultimately, it had the intended impact: A heroic citizen saw something and said something.

In recent days, plenty of information posted to social media about this case was not accurate or lacked the right kind of context. TBI’s media team worked to provide factual details about this case, missing children alerts, and TBI’s role in these types of cases.

Certainly, our team understands the very serious nature of these cases and the public’s profound interest. I can assure you we share that interest. That’s why we worked diligently to investigate every possible lead to help find and safely recover these two children, and, moving forward, we will continue to work to hold this offender accountable. As with any case like this, we will also have internal conversations about this case to determine if we can learn anything from it that might further sharpen our process.”

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