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Why Ruby Kerr's disappearance has not triggered an Amber Alert

Amber Alerts are issued in rare cases of suspected child abductions; 'We do not have any information at this time to suggest that Ruby was taken'

More than 24 hours have passed since 11-year-old Ruby Kerr suddenly vanished, and as time continues to tick by many in the community are wondering the same thing: Why haven’t Sault police issued an Amber Alert?

And concerned citizens aren’t just posing that question on social media.

“We’ve had people inundating the 911 communications centre with calls asking about the Amber Alert system,” says Lincoln Louttit, a spokesman for the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service. “There are very strict guidelines when it comes to issuing an Amber Alert, and the search for Ruby at this time does not meet those requirements.”

Operated by the Ontario Provincial Police, the Amber Alert program kicks into action if authorities believe a child has been abducted, is in imminent danger, and if police have information to share about a suspect and/or getaway vehicle.

That information is then broadcast through television, radio and cell phones via Alert Ready, Canada’s emergency alerting system.

“The issuing of an AMBER Alert is not taken lightly,” says the OPP’s website. “Specific guidelines must be met in order for an AMBER Alert to be distributed.”

For now, at least, Ruby’s case does not meet those guidelines.

“We do not have any information at this time to suggest that Ruby was taken,” Louttit tells SooToday. “We really want people to check their cameras, check their property, outbuildings, etc. for any sign of Ruby. If they do have any of that information, then definitely please call 911 to share that information so search teams can use it. But please don’t call asking about the Amber Alert system.”

A Grade 6 student at Holy Cross elementary school, Ruby disappeared from St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre at around 11 a.m. on Friday.

Five-feet tall with shoulder-length light brown hair, she is believed to be wearing a black T-shirt with an anime design on the front — the same shirt she is wearing in the above photo gallery.

The intense search effort remains focused on the wooded areas surrounding St. Kateri.

“We are using every resource at our disposal to try to find Ruby,” Louttit says. “The Ontario Provincial Police has their K-9 unit out, we have our drone up, the MNRF has their drone, Sault Search and Rescue is out, OPP Emergency Response Team is out, our ESU is out. We have tons of resources out there and we are utilizing everything that we can.”

At this point, there are no plans to open up the search effort to the public.

“We have had people come over to ask if they can help with the search,” Louttit says. “At this time, we do not want people in that area. But we do want people checking their cameras, checking their properties, for information.”

Is it possible that Ruby is no longer in the area where police are searching?

“We are exploring every possibility," Louttit says. "Obviously we haven’t found Ruby yet so maybe Ruby is still not in that area. But I will leave that up to the search team and the incident commander to make those decisions. But that is why we are requesting people in that general area to check their cameras and their outbuildings because maybe Ruby was looking for somewhere to hunker down overnight."