The Nalani Johnson Rule: Immediate Amber Alerts to Help Save Young Children Abducted in PA

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Two-year-old Nalani Johnson of Pittsburgh was kidnapped and killed on August 31, 2019.  An acquaintance of Nalani’s father has been charged with her murder. Within a few minutes of Nalani’s abduction, her father called 911 and reported the abduction to the police along with the name of the kidnapper, the make and model of the vehicle and the direction the vehicle was traveling in.  The 911 operator and local police, however, following the PA State Police Protocol in place for Amber Alerts, delayed issuing the Amber Alert for over two hours. Within minutes of the Alert being issued, the woman who abducted Nalani was arrested. Unfortunately, however, it was too late for Nalani. By then two-year-old Nalani had been killed and her body was found in a park in an adjoining county.

Statistics show that 20% of child abductions are like the Nalani Johnson case and involve abductions by strangers or slight acquaintances, and 75% of all children who are kidnapped and murdered are killed by the abductors within the first three hours of the abduction. This Petition supports House Bill 2295, or the “Nalani Johnson Rule,” to change PA’s Amber Alert law to require police to immediately issue Amber Alerts in stranger adduction cases involving small children like Nalani. The Rule provides: “[I]f a parent or family member reports that their child was abducted by a non-parent or non-family member, there shall be a presumption, absent immediately available clear evidence to the contrary, that the Particularly Vulnerable Child [under age 13] is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death and the Missing Endangered Person Advisory System shall be immediately activated without additional investigation prior to activation of the Amber Alert System.”

We support the passage of the Nalani Johnson Rule and the efforts of the bill sponsor, PA Representative DeLuca, and the Co-Sponsors, to push for passage of the bill in the PA Legislature in the current term. Congressman Doyle, PA Representative DeLuca, District Attorney Zappala, and the 20 PA Representative co-sponsors of the bill, including both Democrats and Republicans, support this important legislation to better protect small children in abduction cases through the stronger use of police technology and updating the Amber Alert process, and/or have expressed enthusiasm to take action in PA to further protect our children. By signing the Petition, you will show your support for the Bill passage and signing into law by the Governor of Pennsylvania.