What is the Amber Alert criteria for the Navajo Nation?

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The search for a missing 21-month-old boy in Shiprock last week prompted questions about why the Navajo Nation did not issue an Amber Alert.

In an email to The Daily Times, the Navajo Police Department's Office of Chief of Police stated an alert was not issued because Kyron Kelewood was not an abducted child.

Kelewood was listed as a missing person by the agency on June 27. A search team found his body a day later near Horseshoe Canyon, a remote area north of Shiprock.

The police department explained that the Navajo Department of Emergency Management has the authority to issue an Amber Alert for the Navajo Nation and the list of criteria must be met for the alert to be disseminated.

What are the criteria for the Navajo Nation?

  • The Navajo police officer has determined the child is not a runaway and has not been abducted because of a child custody dispute, unless the dispute poses a credible or specific threat of serious bodily harm or death.
  • The abduction poses a credible threat of immediate danger of serious bodily injury or death.
  • The abducted child is under 18.
  • There is enough descriptive information about the child, the abductor and the circumstances surrounding the disappearance to indicate that the activation of the Amber Alert will locate the child or the suspect.
  • There is information available to disseminate to the public, which could assist in the safe recovery of the child or the apprehension of a suspect.

If the Amber Alert criteria are not met, then a missing endangered person advisory will be issued on social media and to the media, according to the police department.

Police issued advisory for Kelewood

Kyron Kelewood

The notification for Kelewood was issued by the police department at approximately 8:15 p.m. on June 27.

"In this case, we utilized our department Facebook page, local and state media," the department stated.

A press release issued by the department on June 28 states a call was received on the afternoon of June 27 from a resident in Horseshoe Canyon, stating that a woman approached the residence and stated that she left her children near the canyon.

The mother took responding officers to the area where she left Kelewood, an infant and an adult male, who had no immediate relationship to the mother and children.

"Based on the initial investigation, interviews and the concurrent criminal investigation, it was determined that Kyron Kelewood was not taken from the immediate area and a grid search was initiated based on the evidence found at the location he was last known to be," the department stated on July 2.

Navajo Police Deputy Chief Daryl Noon, center, talks about the search for Kyron Kelewood during a debriefing after the toddler's body was found in an area north of Shiprock on June 28.

The male and infant were found alive during the search by multiple agencies and volunteers. The infant was transported to Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock.

The police department stated on July 2 that the current status of the infant is not available, and the department does not disclose information regarding patient care.

FBI spokesperson Frank Fisher said on July 2 the FBI is still working with the Navajo Police Department on this case.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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