NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The family of Noah Clare, the once missing 3-year-old, asked lawmakers for changes to Tennessee law regarding missing children.
Noah was taken by his custodial father, Jake Clare, on Nov. 5, 2021. He wasn't returned the following Sunday, which eventually triggered a nationwide manhunt.
While an endangered child alert was issued after a few days, an Amber Alert wasn't issued until Nov. 16.
Noah's family — mother Amanda Ennis and uncle Adam Ennis — expressed their disappointment about the time it took for that action.
The family posted relentlessly on social media, which spread widely across the country.
Eventually, a woman in California was able to identify Noah, his father and another missing 16-year-old girl who Clare is accused of kidnapping. It resulted in Clare's arrest.
However, the family wondered if it wouldn't have happened more quickly if missing children were treated differently in the state.
They met with Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, other lawmakers, the TBI and sheriff's association at the legislative office building Monday. Rep. Garrett said it's likely new bills will be introduced in the session to speed the release of information like in Noah's case.
"Right now, the Amber Alert, it has no designation," said Rep. Garrett. "It doesn't treat the 1-year-old any different than it does a 17-year-old and I do believe that is something that needs to be looked upon. Does the age of someone that's missing when an Amber Alert comes out, does that need to be a trigger?"
Since the Amber Alert is a nationwide program, Garrett said he doesn't know if any changes can be directly made.
However, it's possible state law could be changed to speed up the communication between law enforcement agencies.
"If it's not necessarily the Amber Alert, well what else is out there that can help us make sure Noah's case is the outcome that we want [when] the child comes home to their families," he said.
The TBI has specific conditions that must be met before an Amber Alert is triggered.
First, the person must be 17-years-old or younger. The child must also be in danger of injury or death. There must be a description of the child, abductor or vehicle.
Tennessee can also issue an Amber Alert at the request of another state.