In cases when a person with an intellectual disability is missing, an Endangered Missing Persons Alert may be issued.
The alert is similar to the Silver Alert, but is intended for adults who have disabilities such as autism or developmental disorders, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which coordinates the sharing of state advisories.
In 2011, the Amber Alert program was updated to include missing people of all ages with an intellectual disability. To avoid confusion with Amber Alerts for abducted children, the Endangered Missing Person Alert was created.
A person must meet several criteria for the state's alert network:
- Has the missing person been diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability and/or a pervasive developmental disorder, including Asperger's disorder, autistic disorder, autism spectrum disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett's disorder, or a pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified? A written diagnosis is required from a physician or psychologist licensed to practice in Texas, or certified by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services and/or Texas Department of State Health Services.
- Is it confirmed that an investigation has taken place, verifying that a reasonable explanation for the missing person's disappearance has been ruled out and that the disappearance poses a credible threat to the health and safety of the missing person?
- Is the alert request being made within 72 hours of the missing person's disappearance?
- Is there sufficient information available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the missing person?
Highway signs will only be activated for an alert if there is accurate vehicle information available, and it has been confirmed that the missing person was in the vehicle when they disappeared, according to the DPS.
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Texas Statewide Alert Programs
There are six kinds of alerts that can be issued for people in Texas. They are listed below with links to a page with more information.