The case of a missing 3-year-old Las Vegas boy has turned into a homicide investigation after his body was found in a remote area near Lake Mead early Monday morning, according to Metro Police.
Daniel Theriot was reported missing Sunday by his 20-year-old mother Cassie Smith. Metro said she told officers the child walked away while she was on the phone at Sunset Park, but officers said her story didn’t check out.
Smith and her 40-year-old boyfriend, Joshua Oxford, were arrested by police after the body of Daniel Theriot was located.
“My heart’s broken, and I really was hoping that we could find this baby and bring him home safe,” said Margarita Edwards, Executive Director, Nevada Child Seekers.
During all of the commotion Sunday, a missing person’s notice was sent out, giving daniel’s description to the public. But to some people’s surprise, an Amber Alert was not issued.
According to the Nevada Department of public safety, Amber Alerts are for confirmed and critical child abduction cases. Daniel was only reported as missing.
The Nevada Highway Patrol says a vehicle description is also required, and it needs to include a lot of information, such as the license plate and car registration for an Amber Alert to be issued.
Nevada Child Seekers is a group dedicated to finding missing children. They say it’s more efficient to put out a “be on the lookout” warning in cases like these, instead of issuing an Amber Alert.
“The Amber Alert in Nevada is activated when there has been a child abduction with a vehicle description,” Edwards said. “The child needs to be deemed in danger, so that way the Amber Alert is activated in the correct manner and the citizens are aware that there has been some suspicious activity in terms of the missing child.”
Only law enforcement, in conjunction with the Nevada Department of Public Safety, can activate an Amber Alert.
According to DPS, the alerts are for confirmed and critical child abduction cases.
Officials say it’s more efficient to put out a “be on the lookout” warning instead.
“We have over 8,000 kids that go missing a year in Nevada, and there’s no way that we can activate 8,000 Amber Alerts, that would be at least 20 a day,” Edwards said.
Nevada Child Seekers says in addition to law enforcement, they also send out state-wide missing child alerts, which are different from Amber Alerts.