NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. — Our phones all went off this weekend for the Amber Alert in Niagara County. The baby was found safe, but sheriff's deputies are still searching for her father.
The Niagara County Sheriff's Office says it got a call about a non-custodial abduction in the Town of Lockport just before 8 Saturday morning. They told us Anthones Mullen, Junior, 37, is accused of unlawfully going into an apartment and taking his 10-month-old daughter. They found his car with no one in it in the Woodlands mobile home park in Lockport and the baby was eventually found safe at a relative's house.
As this unfolded Saturday, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office posted about the missing baby and dad on their social media pages, then the situation was upgraded to an Amber Alert.
While he can't talk specifically about this case, New York State Trooper James O'Callaghan explained what has to happen for a missing person case to escalate to an Amber Alert.
"Any law enforcement agency can get a case. Once they start working that case and realize that if the victim is 18 years old or younger, and they're at risk of serious bodily harm or death due to somebody else, they can contact NYS Alert," says Trooper O'Callaghan.
That call then goes to the New York State Police Special Victims Unit. If the criteria for an Amber Alert are met, then a call is made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"They will at that point send out that alert that everyone gets on their phones and messaging boards along the Thruway and things like that. Here in Western New York, any time that's met because we're so close to Canada, Canadian authorities, border patrol, all of those agencies as well will get it," says Trooper O'Callaghan.
And in this weekend's Amber Alert, the baby was reunited with her mother.
"It works relatively fast. The originating law enforcement agency gets that information and they're going to do their job and get it done as fast as they can definitely when the victim is at serious risk of death, they're going to just process that information. Turnaround is very quick. They'll look at the information that they have and the evidence that you have, our Special Victims Unit in Albany, and if it meets the criteria, it's a very quick call," says Trooper James O'Callaghan.
The Niagara County Sheriff told 2 On Your Side they are still looking for the father from Saturday's Amber Alert. He says the U.S. Marshals Task Force is also helping them find him.
2 On Your Side contacted T-Mobile Monday morning after hearing from several people who have T-Mobile cell service who got the Amber Alert multiple times after it was canceled. T-Mobile told us that Amber Alerts are canceled through the agency that issues them, but after getting our question, they are looking into what happened.