Amber Alert: Criteria Must Be Met

It's a long and detailed list that law enforcement officials must check-off before they can submit a request to the Texas Department of Public Safety for an Amber Alert.

Harlingen Police Sgt. Dave Osborne said it's done this way to conserve the integrity of the system.

When Harlingen police first got the report that 11-year-old Julissa Perez ran away from home Monday, Osborne told Action 4, there was simply not enough to meet the requirements to issue the Amber Alert.

However, all that changed Wednesday night.

"In this case, we received information that she may be staying with an older man who may have had bad intentions with her," Osborne said.

Luckily, police said, this did not turn out to be the case.

Instead Julissa was found safe and unharmed at a neighbor's apartment, just feet from her own mother's home.

Osborne said it's against the law to harbor a run-away, but right now the woman who Julissa was staying with is not facing any charges.

"In other cases we have seen, where a child may be in a household where there is violence where they run to the neighbor's for help all the time, or the neighbor knows there is always problems, Osborne said, the neighbors will bring-in the children a day or so, until the household calms down."

Police are not specifying why Julissa ran away from home, but said it happened after a disagreement with her mother.

Osborne said with runaway children, the blame can't always be put on the parents, but they need to stay vigilant and involved in their child's lives.

"In the event that a child does run away, it's not necessarily the parent's fault, Osborne said. Sometimes there's things going on with the child that they have not expressed or not told anyone and they're kept it in. Children can leave their home and they are not really aware of the dangers out there."

The case is still under investigation and it will be reported to the county TMs juvenile court system so that an officer can follow up on Julissa TMs well-being.