The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently reported the 1,000th successful recovery in the state of Wyoming.
A statement from the Wyoming Highway Patrol says the recovery occurred after the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office in Wyoming requested an AMBER Alert for four missing children, ages 5, 6, 11, and 14, from the Arapaho Tribe, in mid-April of 2020.
“Their non-custodial mother had taken them from home outside the reservation, where the tribe had placed them for protection,” WHP says. “[WHP] confirmed the children were in imminent danger and that there were sufficient descriptions of the vehicle, suspect, and children for the public to help find them.”
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Wyoming’s AMBER Alert Program is managed by the Highway Patrol. They say a tribal court had issued a protective order to keep the mother away from the children, and the WHP activated the statewide alert.
“The alert generated a lead when the mother, Stacia Potter-Norris, 30, stopped at a glass company to have a rear window of the vehicle replaced and, with no money, offered to sell some guns in exchange for the work,” WHP says.
Potter-Norris allegedly left her phone number with the clerk, who turned it over to law enforcement.
Investigators say that another tip came when a homeless man saw the vehicle described in the alert, at a truck stop. The reporting party watched the driver swapping her vehicle with someone she appeared to know in another vehicle.
WHP notes the first vehicle was found abandoned behind a Home Depot.
“Using the phone number the mother gave the store clerk, investigators were able to identify her movements to the Denver area,” the statement continues. “At Fremont County’s request, the WHP requested that Colorado issue an AMBER Alert in that state with the updated vehicle information.”
The Colorado alert is said to have prompted a call from someone who saw a vehicle matching the description, parked at a Motel 6.
“Using the motel’s surveillance tape, the children were found safe in a motel room, but the mother had disappeared,” WHP reports “She was later found, arrested on felony charges, and extradited to Wyoming.”
“This is a success story that could have gone really bad, really quick,” said WHP AMBER Alert Coordinator and Dispatcher Chris McGuire, who expressed pride in the 1,000th statewide recovery. “It really does show how the AMBER Alert works to safely recover children that are placed in harm.”