DPS Declines to Sanction Amber Alert for 11-Year-Old

Car suspect may have been driving involved in Irving hit-and-run

Police have issued an Amber Alert for an 11-year-old girl from Tyler who went missing with her adult boyfriend, but the Texas Department of Public Safety declined to sanction the alert because the child left willingly.

Iridian Rodriguez was last seen Saturday night, and investigators believe she may be with 23-year-old Enrique Vasquez, a convicted felon.

Tyler police said Vasquez may be headed for Mexico. The 1999 blue Firebird he was believed to be driving was involved in a hit-and-run crash Tuesday night in Irving.

Witnesses told police that the driver of the vehicle, whose description matched Vasquez's, fled the scene on foot.  According to witnesses, there were no reports of a female being in the vehicle or leaving the vehicle.

Investigators said Rodriguez had been sneaking out at night to see Vasquez, who was convicted of burglary in 2006.

DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said the case did not meet the agency's statewide Amber Alert criteria because a person must be unwillingly taken or abducted.

"It's one of those things where we have to be very stringent because we don't want to wear out the welcome through the public or news media," she said.

Although the alert was picked up by news outlets and Web sites statewide, it was not carried on any billboards or electronic signs operated by the state.

Tyler police, who issued their alert through a nonprofit contracted by the governor's office to assist with Amber Alert logistics, disagreed with the state agency's characterization.

"Our thinking is this is an 11-year-old girl and he's a convicted felon," said Tyler police spokesman Don Martin. "Yes, we think she's in danger. I wish I could say it was a full-fledged Amber Alert through the state, but we can't get it."

Police have an arrest warrant out for Vasquez on a kidnapping charge and probation violation.

The Irving Police Department entered into a joint investigation with Tyler police in hopes of finding the missing girl.

Anyone with information regarding the location of Rodriguez or Vasquez is asked to call the Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000 or enter their tip online at www.tylerpolice.com.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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