Why No Amber Alert Issued? Or Was One Started?


Police say the situation turned into a parental abduction the moment James Denny fired the gun.

Many of you are asking why an Amber Alert wasn’t sent out.      

So we asked and have the answers for you.

This situation isn’t a simple one.

James Denny is the biological father to the 18-month-old and had parental rights.

Police did begin the process to file an Amber Alert, but decided they needed to move quickly.

Law enforcement responded to 1136 Maple Avenue Sunday afternoon.

They were told Denny had fired a gun inside the home and taken his daughter, sparking officers to fear the little girl was in danger.

So they did what they had to do.

“That process was started,” says Chief John Plasse. “It just takes a while and sometimes you don’t have, you know, a while to get someone before something bad will happen.”

It takes five steps to get a statewide Amber Alert.

The first step is that law enforcement must have reasonable belief that an abduction has occurred.

Once Denny fired the gun, that qualified as reasonable belief, which also takes care of the second step of law enforcement believing the child is in danger.

Third, police need good descriptive information to give the public.

Fourth, the child must be 17-years-old or younger.

The most critical element, and the one that’s also the most time consuming, is filing a report with the National Crime Information Center.

“And one of the comments they made is if they don’t go through and verify all this…they could have one issued like every half hour,” says Chief Plasse. 

So that’s when THPD turned to social media.

“That’s just what we wanted to do is get information out,” says Chief Plasse. “Get more eyes and ears out looking. And get the child back. That was our main focus at that point is to make sure that child wasn’t hurt.”

Whether it be by the Nixle announcement, through social media or by local news efforts, the 18-month-old was returned and James Denny voluntarily turned himself in to authorities.

All that happened before the Amber Alert became official.

“I’m just pleased that ya know, when you hear that a child is gone…we want to do everything we can to get that child back and safe,” says Chief Plasse.

Monday a judge declared that probable cause was justifiable for the arrest of James Denny.

He is currently in the Vigo County Jail on $50,000 bond with no 10%. 

James Denny will appear in Division 6 Superior court, this Thursday, for his initial hearing. 

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