Kidnapping & Murder of Amber Hagerman
Updated: Apr 18
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Everyone knows about AMBER ALERTS, we get the text alerts on our phones, the news plays a recording, and signs go up everywhere. What many people don’t know is the story behind how the AMBER ALERT came to be. Above is a picture of Amber Hagerman the little girl whos kidnapping would kick start the missing child alert system.
Amber Rene Hagerman was born on November 25, 1986. She was described just as any child should be, worryless and happy. Even at just 9 years old she enjoyed playing with her 5 year old brother. Normally, an age gap of 4 years would mean the children didn’t associate with each other as much as parents would like. But that was never a problem for the Hagerman family.
The lovable 9 year old took her brother outside to ride bikes during a warm winter day in Arlington, TX on January 13, 1996. The children had a range of how far they could ride from home but like most children Amber didn’t pay too much attention to it. They made their way to a parking lot and rode around there for a while. Eventually the 5 year old brother decided to go back home, most likely to not get in trouble for being too far away. Anyways, this left Amber riding alone in the lot.
Merely minutes after her brother left, Amber was abducted. A neighbor who lived across the street from the lot Amber was in stated that he didn’t realize he was witnessing an abduction until it was too late.
“I saw this pickup; he pulled up, jumped out and grabbed her,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “When I heard her scream, I knew something was wrong.” (chicagotrinbune.com)
He alerted the police while Amber’s little brother went home to tell his parents. Chaos ensued with calls to the FBI, more police, family and friends. Searches started immediatley after these calls to the police were made but they were to no avail.
These searches kept going for four days until January 17, 1996 when her body was found. Around midnight a man walking his dog found her body in a rain risen creek less than 5 miles from where she was taken. From the state of the body the police knew immediatley that whoever did this was a very sick person. Amber was covered in bruises and her throat was slit multiple times.
During the autopsy it was determined that Amber was kept alive until January 15, 1996. Before that date she was beaten and sexually assaulted which painted a very sad picture of her last days. Although this case caught national attention there were no leads that led to the killer(s). Amber’s family was just left with heartbreak to bury their little girl.
This is not a case with multiple theories, each one being crazier than the last. We discuss many of those cases here but this one really only has one theory. The theory of a random kidnapping and murder.
For me, and I am sure many others out there, this is the scariest theory that is possible. If it really was a random kidnapping and murder then that means it could happen to anyone else at any time.
This killer most likely had a want and a plan in his head to do this to someone in the near future but was simply looking for the opportunity. When he was driving past the lot and saw Amber alone he took that oportunity and ran with it.
The other idea is that this man had been driving around with the thought in his head and saw Amber and her brother in the neighborhood. Once they got to the lot and her brother left he pounced since it was easier to kidnap one child rather than two .
The only witness in the case, Jim Kevil, states that the man was either white or hispanic, aged 25-40, under 6 foot tall with a medium build. This mans car was a black or dark blue pick up truck.
There has been no forensic evidence in this case due to Amber being found naked and the creek water washing everything away. The investigator (Simonds) in charge of Amber’s case stated this,
“There had been a very large storm and Amber was not only in water but in running water in a creek bed, so there had been a tremendous amount of water flow over her body which obviously made it hard in terms of trace evidence.”
There are many of people, investigators included, that believe whoever did this to Amber could have commited other crimes like this. It takes a unique and terrible mindset to do something like this.
If you have any information at all please call the Arlington Police Department at (817)459-5700.