Athena Strand-inspired 'Athena Alert' bill passes Texas House
AUSTIN, Texas - Tuesday, the Texas House passed a bill that would establish a new alert in Texas, inspired by the death of 7-year-old Wise County girl Athena Strand.
The so-called ‘Athena Alert’ bill would allow law enforcement to issue alerts in the region when a child goes missing, even if there is no confirmation of an abduction, which is required to issue and AMBER Alert.
Delivery driver Tanner Horner is charged with kidnapping and killing Athena Strand after hitting the girl with his delivery van in December 2022. Horner has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Strand was discovered to have disappeared on Wednesday night, but an AMBER Alert was not issued until Thursday afternoon.
The alert went out on Thursday even though the sheriff did not have evidence to indicate that she was abducted, meaning the case did not fit the qualifications for an AMBER Alert.
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House Bill 3556, authored by Rep. Lynn Stucky (R-Sanger), looks to shorten the time between when a child vanishes and a statewide AMBER Alert can be issued.
If the bill is passed, law enforcement could activate an alert for a 100-mile radius and to nearby counties of where a child was believed to be last seen.
HB3556 passed the House with a 142-0 vote, with two present representatives abstaining from voting.
It now moves to the Senate, where State Senators Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) and Angela Paxton (R-McKinney) will carry the bill.
If passed it will go on to the Governor's desk.