Amber Alert

Questions About Amber Alerts Abound After 2 Missing Boys, 2 Different Outcomes

"You can either do it when you shouldn’t or not do it when you should," one expert said. "There’s no perfect science to know when it’s right. It’s always a judgment call"

AMBER 1 / 05/14/05 -- Amber Alert is displayed on sign over westbound Highway 401 near Keele St. Pol
Jim Wilkes/Toronto Star via Getty Images

At 7:28 p.m. Sunday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an Endangered Child Alert with a description of a 9-year-old boy whose parents had reported him missing that day, NBC News reports.

The boy, Jordan Gorman, was last seen in a wooded area near his home in Ashland City, roughly 20 miles from Nashville, the agency said.

Less than 24 hours later, the bureau issued a statewide Amber Alert citing "new information and growing concern" about his well-being. By Tuesday afternoon, after local, federal and state investigators had searched for him, he was found safe at a creek bed about three-quarters of a mile from his home. The boy told investigators he found a blue tarp and built a shelter, where rescuers found him.

It was an outcome that the family of 15-year-old Quawan "Bobby" Charles, had hoped for in October. Instead, Quawan was found dead in a sugar cane field, more than 20 miles from his home in Baldwin, Louisiana, days after being reported missing. Authorities are investigating his death as a homicide.

An Amber Alert was not issued for Quawan, because Baldwin police said his disappearance did not meet the criteria.

The teen's family and their attorneys have said the local police were slow to act and have questioned whether his death could have been prevented had officers immediately sounded the alarm about his disappearance.

The drastically different outcomes in Quawan's case and that of Jordan's in Tennessee have led attorneys for the former's family to question whether there are cracks in Louisiana's Amber Alert system.

The Louisiana State Police, which activates Amber Alerts in the state, said it wasn't contacted about Quawan's disappearance and the agency wasn't part of the initial investigation.

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