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WESTON (CBSMiami) – It’s every parent’s nightmare – their child goes missing.
South Florida law enforcement trains for such a scenario and on Wednesday members from 16 different agencies gathered in Weston to take part in and FBI Miami child abduction training exercise. It capped a week of classroom work and practical exercises which address such topics as AMBER Alerts and working with the media.
On Thursday, they worked together to solve the fictitious kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl whom they named Maggie Powers.
“She’s 4’5″, approximately 92 pounds. She was wearing Converse shoes with hearts on it and a gray backpack and brown glasses,” Coral Springs police officer Ernesto Bruna told a gathering of reporters at a mock news conference.
Bruna said a man in a white van took Maggie. Members of the press were urged to pepper investigators with questions to help prepare them.
“So you think she’s in danger,” asked CBS4’s Donna Rapado.
“We’re still investigating. We’re still interviewing. We have law enforcement personnel on scene,” replied Bruna.
The FBI trains law enforcement across the country to hone their skills and techniques.
“Time is of the essence in these sorts of cases. We’re really racing against the clock. And we’re trying to preach to these detectives to have a plan in place in the event of an actual child abduction,” said Special Agent James Lewis. “We’ve been fortunate down here. Most of these missing kids it’s resolved quickly. That’s because law enforcement down here is so well prepared.”
Lewis pointed to a recent case in which law enforcement came together to find a child who had been abducted.
In February, two month old Tyrigee Kemp was taken at gunpoint from her home near Ft. Lauderdale by a relative back.
Multiple agencies from across the state worked together and she was found less than 24 hours later, unharmed, in Orlando.