Amber Hagerman was born on the 25th November 1986 in Arlington Texas. She was the eldest sibling to little brother Ricky. On the 13th January 1996 Amber and Ricky went out to ride their bikes around their local area. It was described as a warm winter day and the two kids were eager to be outdoors. The two rode to an abandoned grocery store that had a bike ramp in the parking lot that many kids in the area played on. After a while Ricky wanted to go back home and left his big sister to continue riding on her own.
Jim Kevil a 78 year old retiree was in his backyard and saw Amber riding her bike in the car park. He then witnessed a man jump out of a dark blue or black pick-up truck and grabbed the little girl pulling her inside his vehicle. Jim called the police immediately to report the incident. He described the suspect as being a white or hispanic male aged between 25-40 years old and was medium build. He also said Amber screamed and was kicking when she was pulled into the vehicle. The police arrived at the scene within minutes and a large scale search took place with authorities, Amber’s family and members of the community participating in the search for the little girl.
Four days passed with no further evidence or clues to Amber’s whereabouts until a man who was walking his dog in the nearby area came across the body of a young girl. She was laying in a creek behind an apartment block which was less than 5 miles away from where Amber was last seen alive. A short time later it was confirmed the body was missing Amber Hagerman. The autopsy results revealed she had been beaten, sexually assaulted and her cause of death was a deep laceration to the throat. She was then thrown into the creek after death. The autopsy also uncovered that Amber had been deceased for only a short amount of time and could have been kept alive for up to 2 days after she was initially abducted.
Shortly after Amber’s murder a woman by the name of Diana Simone called a local radio station questioning the broadcasters on why they alerted citizens about weather warnings but not about child abduction cases. If the local community knew about Amber’s abduction, the suspect and description of the vehicle there’s a chance she could’ve been located alive in the 2 days between being kidnapped and before her death. This question rallied the media for change and the idea eventuated into the child abduction emergency alert which is more commonly called an Amber Alert named in memory of Amber Hagerman. An Amber Alert contains details of a missing or abducted child along with any relevant evidence such as vehicle or suspect descriptions which are then placed in public settings to gain mass attention in the local area. The police can authorise an Amber Alert message almost instantly after an abduction is confirmed and can then distribute it via radio broadcasts, televised broadcasts, text messages and electronic traffic condition signs/billboards. It can even be tracked on Google maps where if a user searches in an area where an Amber Alert is placed they will also be alerted to the incident. This system is in place to gain community support and mass assistance in the case of a child abduction in the very crucial early stages of an investigation. The Amber Alert system has been rolled out across the Unites States and in various other countries around the world. As of April 2019 a total number of 957 children have been recovered using the Amber Alert system.
Due to a large storm in the area at the time and her remains being discarded in a body of water very little forensic evidence has ever been recovered in Amber’s murder. Although nearly 8,000 leads have been reported and close to 50 police offers have worked on the case over the past 2 decades unfortunately to this day Amber’s murder remains unsolved. The only evidence reported by police was the single eye-witness account and the case today remains open with a $10,000 reward offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect. If you have any information about the murder of Amber Hagerman please contact Tarrant County Crimestoppers on 817-469-TIPS.