Child Abduction Response Team Created In Williamson County - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Child Abduction Response Team Created In Williamson County

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. - One local mid-state county is on a mission to help police and parents respond faster and more efficiently to child abductions.

The abduction of a child, it's the worst fear of any parent and Melissa Hazelip is no different.

"You know there are situations where they've gone around a corner in the backyard that alone makes my heart drop. That would be devastating and life altering to have something like that happen," said Hazelip.

Cases like the one of 13-year-old Tabitha Tuders send shivers up a mom or dad's spine. Police believe someone abducted Tuders from an East Nashville bus stop nine years ago. She hasn't been seen since.

Other cases have happier endings. Three years ago someone stole Maria Gurolla's baby, but police found the child two days later safe with a woman in Alabama. Tammy Silas was arrested.

These cases and dozens of others are why Williamson County is forming the state's first local Child Abduction Response Team. The group includes people from schools, police departments, child advocacy groups and the District Attorney's Office. Their mission is to use each other's experience to help police find a child and do it quickly.

"We have three hours or less in order to make a difference. The majority of these kids are victimized, killed and dumped within the first three hours of being taken by a stranger," said Franklin Police Officer Charlie Warner.

The group hopes to be certified by the end of the school year. The idea of a local child abduction response team comes from the Tennessee Bureau Of Investigation. The agency has its own team, but it's for the whole state. The TBI recommends local teams, because in some cases their response may not be fast enough.

The sooner the better for Melissa Hazelip.

"It's comforting to know other people would be out there looking," she said.

The TBI has used a Child Abduction Response Team more than a dozen times since it was formed three years ago. It was most recently used in the Holly Bobo abduction in Decatur County last year.

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