Petition could spur Willow's Warning to replace Amber Alert

Published 09/13 2013 04:45PM

Updated 09/13 2013 05:42PM

WATSON -- People in Effingham County were frustrated at the time it took for some things to happen when Willow Long was reported missing, so they started a petition to give kids like her more help. A woman noticed an Amber Alert wasn't issued for Willow. Authorities say the case of the 7-year old didn't meet the criteria. This petition could change that. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley has more.

The petition already has more than 5,000 signatures from people all over the country. It's called Willow's Warning and it aims to take away the strict criteria involved in an Amber Alert.

When someone is missing, in order for an Amber Alert to be issued, police must confirm a child has been abducted, the child must be under 16-years old or have a proven disability, police must have reason to believe the child is in serious danger and have enough information about the abductor's vehicle.

To Kelli Connours, that's too much, so she started this online petition. She either wants the criteria to change or for a new tier to be created called Willow's Warning. It would involve throwing out that criteria and allowing a warning to be issued to communities for every missing child.

More than 5,200 people have signed the online petition. Connours goal is 7,000. Once she reaches her goal, she plans to write state legislators and the governor.

To sign the petition, click here.

Willow's family and friends will lay her to rest Monday. Her funeral takes place at First Baptist Church in Effingham. It starts at 11 am.

A memorial will be held at Effingham High School Saturday from 5 - 10 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to any local organization which participated in the search for Willow.

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