Abducted 4-year-old found after girls respond to Amber Alert in Long Beach

ABDUCTED 4-YEAR-OLD LOCATED after two young girls respond to Amber Alert in Long Beach. (HindustanTimes)

Nicolle Generaux | Editor-in-Chief

February 21, 2024

On the Tuesday of February 13, father of 4-year-old Justin Chan left his car running with Justin in it for several minutes, and when he returned both the vehicle and Justin were gone. An Amber Alert was sent out in the Orange County area following the abduction in Long Beach. Luckily, two young women –Reagan Dunn and Yenny Lu– decided to take action after receiving the alert and drove around to search for the 2021 gray-colored Honda Accord sedan. Before long, Dunn spotted the Honda with the given license plate number abandoned on the side of the road. 

“I think it’s really admirable that those two women took time out of their day to help Justin,” commented senior Ryder Ayala. “I think it’s an important lesson for all of us to take Amber Alerts seriously.” 

Following the women notifying 911 of the Honda’s location, the police tracked it to Pine Avenue, near The Pike Outlets shopping mall in Long Beach. The police found Justin in the back seat of the car still strapped in and unharmed, just three hours after sounding the Amber Alert. The police continued their search for the abductor, who they would later identify as 34-year-old Timothy Wood, a homeless man in the Long Beach area. Wood has been charged with child endangerment, kidnapping and vehicle theft. 

An Amber Alert can mean the difference between life and death for many children across the country, including Justin. 

The Amber Alert was originally established subsequent to the kidnapping and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman in 1996, in Arlington, Texas. Even though the police had an eyewitness of the kidnapping and a vehicle description, many of the officers and investigators on the case recount difficulty in attempting to broadcast Amber’s situation and details of her abduction that could help locate her. Television newscasts did not stream until hours after the initial capture, and there were no phones or social media to get the information out– only bulletins outside law enforcement agencies. Police believe if the Amber Alert system was in place at the time of Amber’s abduction, it is possible she may have been located alive. 

Luckily after that tragedy, the Amber Alert system was instituted, and spread all across the country, eventually being established in California in 2022. In just two decades, the Amber Alert has been a crucial tool in saving more than 1,100 children in the United States. 

“I will definitely take into consideration what I can do when I receive an Amber Alert,” said senior Samantha Mitchell. “I had no idea that people like me could make such a large impact.” 

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