Florida: Silver Alert Profiled in Naples Daily News
The article explores the origin of Silver Alert in Flordia, and the tragic case of Mary Zelter:
A Silver Alert could have been named a Mary Alert after the missing woman’s case that brought the issue to the forefront in Florida. AMBER Alerts were originally named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old who was abducted and murdered in Texas in 1996, but have since become an acronym for America’s Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response.
On Feb. 26, 2008, Mary Zelter, 86, drove her Chrysler Sebring convertible on a short trip to the supermarket, but she never returned to her assisted living facility in Pinellas County. Her body and submerged car were found a week later 10 miles away in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater. This tragedy spawned the action which eventually led to creation of Florida’s Silver Alert program, as well as national legislation to help other states develop similar programs. More than half of the states have initiated programs.
The article also noted a number of Silver Alert success stories in Florida.
“Today, most similar missing person cases have happier endings, but of the more than 500 Silver Alerts activated since 2008 in Florida, only about 65 of these alerts are attributed to have directly or indirectly assisted in the recovery of the missing person. So far this year, 80 Silver Alerts have been issued in Florida.”