Officials say the Amber Alert system played a huge role in finding arson and murder suspect Matthew Slocum. Our Lori Chung has more on why police say the system has become an indispensible crime fighting tool.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- It wasn't long after cops say Matthew Slocum killed three people in White Creek and fled with his girlfriend and baby son that residents in four states were put on notice.
"There were a number of leads called in about vehicles matching the description of the suspect vehicle," said Gary Kelly, NYSP Senior Investigator.
Officials say tips generated by Amber Alert helped lead to the moment when Slocum gave himself up in Gilsum, New Hampshire after several hours on the run.
"Amber Alert was significant in help with this and I think it's an excellent tool," said Roger LeClaire, Washington County Sheriff.
It's a tool police don't take lightly. A case has to meet certain criteria for an Amber Alert activation: A child under 18, a confirmed recent abduction and a threat of imminent danger of bodily harm or death.
Kelly is the state's Amber Alert Coordinator.
"We hit about 73 TV and radio stations that received a broadcast, there were 725 emails and faxes sent simultaneously to broadcasters and to law enforcement in those regions, as well as the Thruway Authority" said Kelly.
Slocum is now charged with arson and murder of his mother, stepfather and stepbrother among his alleged victims. It's another reason to breathe a sigh of relief that his four-month-old son is now safe.
"Time is of the essence. We've seen when a child is abducted and murdered, 75 percent of the time that happens in the first three hours" said Kelly.