Local News

Amber Alert Still In Effect For Missing 12-Year-Old

Posted September 27, 2005

— Editor's Note: The identity of the 12-year-old girl in this story has been removed to protect her privacy.

Every minute is vital when a child goes missing. On Friday, those minutes stretched into hours as police tried to get the word out about a 12-year-old girl who may be with a convicted sex offender.

Police officers told media outlets that an

Amber Alert

was issued well before news agencies received official confirmation from the

North Carolina Department of Crime Control & Public Safety

to put out the broadcast.

  • Related Web Site:

    North Carolina Amber Alert System

    , from the N.C. Dept. Of Crime Control & Public Safety

  • Related Document:

    N.C. Amber Alert System Plan

  • Related Section:

    WRAL Amber Alerts

  • At about 9 a.m., Rocky Mount police told a local newspaper reporter that the department had issued an Amber Alert for a 12-year-old girl, who was discovered missing from her home shortly before 7 a.m. Friday.

    Authorities believe the girl may be with 27-year-old

    Phillip Denkler

    , who served time in prison for taking indecent liberties with a child. Denkler is described as a white male with straight, short, black hair and brown eyes.

    At about 2:30 p.m., WRAL saw an article about the missing girl and the Amber Alert on the Rocky Mount Telegram's Web site and called a representative at the North Carolina Crime Control and Public Safety, who said Rocky Mount Police had not contacted the appropriate agencies to officially release the notice statewide.

    Under the North Carolina Amber Alert System Plan, a law enforcement agency must notify the

    North Carolina Center for Missing Persons

    , which is the only state agency that can activate an Amber Alert, as well as the

    National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

    .

    Nearly seven hours later, a statewide Amber Alert was issued at about 4:12 p.m.

    The state would not say police did anything wrong -- only that when it finally received the information, it was definitely considered to be an Amber Alert case.

    Rocky Mount Police Chief John Manley said he was unaware of his officers telling reporters about the alert.

    "Certainly, I had not told a reporter that," Manley said. "If there was some confusion, we are certainly sorry about that."

    Manley said there was no delay and that his officers simply did not have enough information to call for the statewide broadcast until late afternoon, despite the fact that he told WRAL investigators suspected Denkler's involvement earlier in the day.

    But for the girl's grandmother and legal guardian, Dorothy Collie, every day that passes is a delay to her.

    "Personally, I think they're doing a super job," she said of authorities working to find her granddaughter.

    Collie said she was not worried about any confusion on Friday. She just wants to concentrate on getting her granddaughter home.

    "I just want to hear her voice," Collie said. "I need to hear her voice."

    Collie said she remembers the girl taking a late-night call Thursday. Friday morning, her granddaughter was nowhere to be found. There were no signs of a struggle in the girl's bedroom, and relatives said she left a note.

    "She left us a note saying she needed some time to herself and not to be mad and that she loves us," Collie said. "I don't know what he'll do to her. I just beg him, don't hurt her, just bring her home where she belongs."

    On Monday morning, the Alabama Department of Public Safety issued an alert and sought the public's assistance in trying to locate the girl. The department's alert said the girl "is believed to be in extreme danger."

    As of Monday evening, no credible tips had surfaced in North Carolina or Alabama.

    According to the

    North Carolina Sex Offender Registry

    , Denkler's last known address belongs to the N.C. Department of Corrections, where he was jailed for two months this summer for failing to properly register as a sex offender.

    He was released on Aug. 20. By law, Denkler has 10 days to register after his release date. He was in jail on a probation violation for failing to properly register as a sex offender.

    The girl's mother, Kim Baker, said she knew of Denkler, but no one in the family was aware of his criminal record or that he had been in touch with the girl. Authorities said the two had apparently talked on the telephone for months.

    "We were kind of both confused to as to how she met this guy and got so trusting of him," Baker said.

    Police said Denkler stole a friend's car and may have traveled out of state with the girl. They believe he is driving a 2005 beige Hyundai Sonata with North Carolina license plate

    PSA-2000

    or

    NWN-2630

    . Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the two should contact the Rocky Mount Police Department at

    (252) 972-1411

    or

    911

    .

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