There was not an Amber Alert issued for a Bedford, Texas teen, 14, Kaytlynn Cargill, who went missing on Monday, June 19, and whose body was discovered in an Arlington landfill on Wednesday, June 21. There are still questions swirling around about why one was not issued, despite explanations to the media from authorities with the Bedford Police Department.
WHAS11.co reported that on Monday, Kaytlynn Cargill was walking her dog that evening, at around 6:20 p.m. It was the last time anyone saw her alive. Her parents began looking for their daughter after approximately 30 minutes when she did not return, but were unable to find her.
Cargill’s parents reported her to the Bedford Police Department later Monday evening as missing. The New York Daily News reported that the missing teen’s parents called the police at around 8:15 p.m. They suggested that their daughter might have gone to an apartment complex where a friend lived to visit, but police officers who went to investigate did not find the missing teen there.
Investigators from the police went back to the apartment complex on Tuesday morning, and conducted a further search for the missing teen. They still did not locate her, and the police did not reveal if they have any information that she had ever actually gone to visit her friend on Monday.
On Friday morning, at a news conference, Bedford Police Chief Jeff Gibson said that at that time, the police had no reason to issue an Amber Alert, because they did not have any evidence that Cargill was in danger and they had no suspicion that foul play was involved in her being missing.
Last Tuesday, though the Bedford Police Department did not issue an Amber Alert, it did issue an alert requesting help from the community of Bedford, Texas, in locating the missing teen. Police Chief Gibson said no Amber Alert was issued for the missing teenager because there are strict criteria that needs to be met first. Federal and state law requires that the criteria be met before an Amber Alert is issued.
The Bedford Police Department continued its search to find Cargill, according to the Bedford Police Department, with investigators going back to the apartment complex mentioned by Cargill’s parents once more, last Wednesday morning. Police officers also canvassed the area surrounding the apartment complex, but were unsuccessful in locating Cargill. The teen’s dog was found uninjured, tied up at a local dog park.
Authorities in Arlington, Texas, called up the Bedford Police Department on Wednesday afternoon with the news that the missing teen’s body had been discovered in a landfill. The Arlington landfill is located approximately five miles from the Cargills’ house. Gibson stated that the body matched the description of Cargill, and on Thursday, after conducting an autopsy, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the body found in the landfill was that of Cargill.
During Friday’s press conference, Bedford Police Chief Gibson stated that the cause of the missing teen’s death has not yet been confirmed. He said that there were no obvious signs of trauma inflicted on Cargill’s body, and he did not say if the evidence pointed to the teen’s death having been a homicide. Gibson announced that a criminal investigation has been opened into her death.
Cargill had attended school in Euless, Texas, at Central Junior High School, where she was in the seventh grade. ABC affiliate WFAA reported that Cargill’s fellow students and friends said she had “loved band” and was “vibrant.”
The police have contacted the garbage and recycling service that is associated with the landfill in Arlington in an effort to learn where the trash dump that had included Cargill’s body originated from, to give them clues to determine how the teen’s body ended up at the landfill. The police chief said that there have not been any arrest warrants issued in connection with Cargill’s death and they have not identified a “suspect or person of interest” who might have anything to do with the teen’s tragic fate.
The community of Bedford has raised questions as to why the police department did not issue an Amber Alert. Police Chief Gibson stated during the press conference on Friday the specific criteria needed to have an Amber Alert issued had not been met in Cargill’s case.
To have an Amber Alert issued, a missing person must be 17 years or younger. Cargill fitted into that age range, as she was 14. Another criteria that must be met is that the missing person was possibly abducted or kidnapped and the police believe there is reason to think he/she is in “immediate danger.”
Any possible alternative reasons why a child might have gone missing are required to have been ruled out by law enforcement agencies. The issuing of an Amber Alert must also help to potentially provide a community with information needed to find the missing person involved, like a license number or suspect description, according to KCEN-TV, a NBC affiliate.
Bedford Police acknowledged that Amber Alerts definitely work have proven to be an important way to locate missing and abducted children and often saving their lives. The Bedford Police Department, like all of Texas, follows national guidelines for when an Amber Alert can be issued, and those were not met in regards to Cargill.
No Amber Alert was issued by authorities in Bedford, Texas, when Kaytlynn Cargill, 14, went missing last Monday. Her body was discovered in a landfill in Arlington the following Wednesday. The local school district, along with federal agencies and the Arlington Police Department, have joined with the Bedford Police Department to try to solve the mystery of who might have killed Cargill and then disposed of her body. Police Chief Gibson said that the Bedford Police Department will continue to do whatever they can “to find the answers” the teen’s family and the community of Bedford “deserves.”
By John Samuels
Photo by Bedford Police Department