Similar to wandering incidents in older adults with Alzheimer's and related dementias, those with intellectual disabilities (Autism, Developmental Disorders etc.), are also prone to wandering into unsafe environments. In year 2011, Texas AMBER Alert legislation was updated to include alerts for missing persons (of any age) with an intellectual disability. In order to avoid public confusion with AMBER Alerts for abducted children, the name "Endangered Missing Persons Alert" was selected.
The below represents Endangered Missing Persons Alert criteria for the state's network:
- Has the missing person been diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability and/or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, including Asperger's Disorder, Autistic Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett's Disorder or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)? If the missing person has been diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability, law enforcement shall require a written diagnosis from a physician or psychologist licensed to practice within Texas, or certified by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services and/or Texas Department of State Health Services.
- Is it confirmed that an investigation has taken place, verifying that a reasonable explanation for the missing person's disappearance has been ruled out and that the disappearance poses a credible threat to the health and safety of the missing person?
- Is the Endangered Missing Persons Alert request being made within 72 hours of the missing person's disappearance?
- Is there sufficient information available to disseminate to the public that could assist in locating the missing person? (Highway signs will be activated only if accurate vehicle information is available AND it is confirmed that the missing person was in the vehicle at the time of the disappearance).