SAN ANTONIO – A missing child or senior sets a multiagency search into motion. The sooner law enforcement has information on the missing person, the better.
For the first time, San Antonio's Crime Stoppers division is offering ID kits in hopes of keeping the community safer.
For children, getting their hands covered in fingerprinting ink may be fun, but parents, such as Gabriella Wetzel, know the pieces of paper her son Tyler is marking could save his life one day.
"Not knowing where your child is, what their thought process is -- it's terrifying. This one is honestly the simplest, quickest, to the point. If your child's lost, gotta find them. This is what you need," Wetzel said.
San Antonio Crime Stoppers Vice President Duane Cruz said it's the only of its kind available for seniors.
Anyone can print the form for free from the San Antonio Crime Stoppers website's prevention tab. On one side, it asks for a recent picture, personal information, physical characteristics, medical information and emergency contacts and emergency contacts, and at the bottom, it has a fingerprinting section. The other side contains a checklist of what someone needs to do if a child or senior is missing.
"There was a need in our community. These are not widely done out there. These kits here specifically follow the format for the Amber Alerts and the Silver Alerts," Cruz said.
Cruz said the form and fingerprints should be filled out ahead of time, to that if a child or senior disappears, a family member can hand the form to police, who will then immediately know who they're looking for.
Gabby Cruz-White wants other kids to fill out the form.
"So they can be protected and safe at all times," she said.
San Antonio police agree. The San Antonio Police Department public information office released a statement Monday that said, "The ID kits will be an additional tool that law enforcement can use in the event that a person goes missing and will be able to assist us in our investigation."
Cruz tells family members to fill it out the form, and keep it in a safe place, though, hopefully they'll never have to use it.