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Living history: Amber alert helps find children

15 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 22, 2002 Pioneer Journal

• Amber alert helps find children

On Aug. 14, radio stations interrupted their programming and TV stations ran text across the bottom of the screen to transmit Minnesota's first child abduction alert warning test.

This alert, called the Amber Alert Warning Plan, is an early warning network that law enforcement can use to alert the general public when a child has been abducted. A message is transmitted over television and radio when authorities have reason to believe that the victim is in physical danger.

The Amber Alert stands for America's missing Broadcast Emergency Response and is like a civil defense test - the warning sound and then information about severe weather, for example. The warning is transmitted by utilizing the state's Emergency Alert System and the Minnesota Crime Alert Network.

The victim in an Amber Alert must be 17 years old or younger and has to be an obvious abduction, Police Sgt. Bruce Uselman said. It was named after Amber Hagerman, 9, who was murdered after she was abducted from her home in 1996 from the Dallas area.

Broadcasters receive the information from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Uselman said. Before the information is sent, it is reviewed to make sure that the individual in question is in great danger. The information will include the description of the suspect and child, the description of the vehicle and where the individuals were seen last.

50 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 24, 1967 Pioneer Journal

• Witthuhn brothers to stand trial on murder charges

Everett Witthuhn, Jr., 20, and his 19-year-old brother Richard, will face a first degree murder charge in district court at the forthcoming fall term which will convene here Sept. 5, with Judge E.G. Ruegemer presiding.

A grand jury was summoned last Thursday to consider the case of the two brothers and promptly returned a first degree murder indictment. The third party in the alleged murder of Walter Saarela, Sebeka gas station attendant, on Aug. 3, is a juvenile and remanded to the custody of juvenile authorities and thus escapes consideration of his case by a grand jury. The brothers will remain in jail until a jury verdict has been announced.

Consideration of the Witthuhn case will be determined at a time that may be set on the court calendar when court convenes.

County Attorney Satterlee will prosecute the brothers and the probabilities are a court appointed attorney will appear for the defense, a procedure prescribed by law when the defendants have no funds of their own to pay for an attorney.

80 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 26, 1937 Pioneer Journal

• Man, wife injured by lightning bolt

Lightning struck the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Martin last Wednesday night. Both Mr. and Mrs. Martin were knocked to the floor and remained unconscious for some time. Neighbors rushed to house and extinguished the flames. Telephone lines were impaired so that the local fire department could not be summoned immediately.

• Printers jailed in bogus ticket sale

Three printers were arrested today for printing and selling bogus Freehorn County fair season tickets. County Attorney Elmer Peterson said the men would be charged with uttering forged documents.

• New beauty shop opens in Wadena

Mrs. Mary Lou Smith of Brainerd came to Wadena Wednesday morning to arrange for the reopening of Thelma's Beauty Shop at 108 ½ Jefferson Street, over the Coast-To-Coast store. The place will be called "Mary Lou Hair Shop" and will be ready for customers Friday. Mrs. Smith owns and operates similar shops in Brainerd and Aitkin. The Mary Lou shops specialize in the care of the hair and scalp.