TULSA, Okla. – It’s rare that Amber Alerts work like they are supposed to, bringing missing children home safe as quickly as possible.
A little girl was taken from a swing set at 7 p.m. on Sunday in Tulsa, but by 2 the next morning she was back in the arms of her parents.
Officer Jillian Roberson with Tulsa Police says, “The whole time we were holding our breath because we don’t know what he’s doing to her.”
A happy ending to a scary night, but unfortunately it’s not an ending police are used to.
As little as 1% of missing children come home safe.
Amber Alerts are supposed to make a difference but that doesn’t always happen.
“We cannot dictate the actions of that suspect that takes that child,” says Roberson. “So it would be really hard to really pin point that and say, Oh yes if we took this step and this step we can change that number and make that percentage go up.”
“Everything happened the way we needed it to,” says Roberson.
It started with Slatton’s suspicious behavior at a Dollar General store, just before the little girl was taken from a Tulsa playground.
“The employee at Dollar General had no idea that this abduction had occurred but they were aware enough to know this is not right. This is a little bit odd,” says Roberson. “It says sex offender on his driver’s license, he’s buying children’s books, coloring books.”
Hours after the abduction Shawn Scott met Slatton in a Whataburger drive-thru.
He had a feeling Slatton was up to no good, those suspicions were confirmed when sheriff’s deputies arrived.
“He puts it in reverse, hits the deputy sheriff’s car and hits this bump and that curb over there,” says Scott. “The deputy I guess was hanging on to the car and he dragged him from here all the way over to where that red Jeep is.”
Police say things came together just the way they needed them to, but unfortunately not many abducted children have people like the Dollar General employee and Shawn Scott.
“When they told me, ‘Your phone call pretty much helped us track the suspect from the Amber Alert down,’ I was just amazed,” says Scott.
Officer Roberson says, “We were able to make that phone call to her mother and her father and say we found her and she’s safe.”
Police say this is a good opportunity to teach children they can’t trust everyone.
It’s also a good reminder how important it is to pay attention to Amber Alerts.