Ending the alerts: studies show domestic abuse behind majority of Amber Alerts issued

It is a noise that will wake you up -- an Amber Alert sent to your phone.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln started looking at what’s behind these alerts after a local mother reached out to her about their custody battle.

Lincoln found out many of the alerts are linked to domestic violence.

In some cases where the children are present during domestic situations, they will end up in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services.

In cases where tensions run even higher, some experience cases of abductions done by parents, which can result in an Amber Alert.

On the night of Jan. 21, Lonniesha Robinson of Henry County said she was fighting for her life and her daughter’s life when her husband began assaulting her.

“I literally felt myself leaving my body,” Robinson said. “He threw my phone out of my hand and he started choking me, and he just kept choking me, and he didn’t stop.”

Robinson, who’s healing from those injuries, is now having to deal with a custody battle for her 5-year-old daughter.

“I never thought something like this would happen,” Robinson said.

She said DFCS stepped in after that Jan. 21 domestic incident.

“My daughter… I just miss her,” Robinson said.


Reports of domestic violence have reached startling peaks since the start of the pandemic.

Domestic violence counselors say in cases where children are present, that leads to an increase in the number of child custody disputes and Amber Alert cases.

Last week, a 4-year-old was kidnapped by his mother in Haralson County after a shooting incident at her ex-husband’s home.

In December, a 6-year-old was abducted by her father after a domestic dispute in Forsyth County. Authorities later found the girl in Mexico.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported that the number of Amber Alerts jumped in 2020 to 200 cases that year, compared to 145 in 2019.

“We have seen trends that have caused concern,” said Nancy Friauf, president of the Partnership Against Domestic Violence.

Friauf told Lincoln they’ve been helping victims of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve seen an increase in the level of violence that the survivors who call us have experienced,” Friauf said. “I just encourage women to get out.”

Robinson said if she could change things, she would have left at the first sign.

“I would say, get out the first instance you see anything wrong,” Robinson said.

According to NCMEC, about 60% of children are usually found within 12 hours.


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