The Peoria County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois said a story about a 13-month-old baby being abducted over the weekend was fabricated, according to reports.
An Amber Alert was issued for Bentley Dutz, the child, after reports said he was in the back of a gold 2000 Ford Taurus when it was stolen at a gas station.
However, Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell told the Central Illinois Proud website that the story appears to be fake.
Officials are now working to gain details about what happened.
A Facebook post from the Illinois State Police reads: “UPDATE: According to Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell, the whole story is fabricated. There is not a child in danger. Illinois State Police say they have a suspect in custody. They are working to find out what happened.”
A prior update said: “AMBER ALERT: A 13-month-old baby boy is missing after three people stole a car he was in. Vehicle was stolen from the Circle K in Farmington, Illinois. An Amber Alert is being issued for 13-month-old, Bentley Dutz.”
One person is now in custody.
A suspect was named in the case before officials described it as a hoax. James T. Jackson, 24, was named as a suspect in the case, but he is now saying he was not home at the time and had nothing to do with the crime, according to the report.
There were about 464,324 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center last year, said the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. When a child is reported missing to law enforcement, they must be entered into the database as per federal law. “Unfortunately, since many children are never reported missing, there is no reliable way to determine the total number of children who are actually missing in the U.S.,” said the group.
“Of the nearly 25,000 runaways reported to NCMEC in 2017, one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 88 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing,” the group says on its website. Another 5 percent are family abductions, less than 1 percent are nonfamily abductions, and 1 percent are lost, injured, or otherwise missing children.
Meanwhile, the organization has received more than 10 million reports via its online tipline and the majority are about images that show alleged sexual abuse of children, online “sextortion” attempts, child sex trafficking, and sexual molestation
According to the NCMEC’s website, if your child appears to be missing, it recommends searching through piles of laundry, in and under beds, in large appliances, vehicles and trunks, crawl spaces, or other places.
“Notify the store manager or security office if your child cannot be found when in a store. Then immediately call your local law enforcement agency. Many stores have a Code Adam plan of action in place. When you call law enforcement provide law enforcement with your child’s name, date of birth, height, weight, and descriptions of any other unique identifiers such as eyeglasses and braces,” the organization says.
It also recommends to immediately call the police or sheriff’s department.
It says: “Tell them when you noticed your child was missing and what clothing he or she was wearing. Request law enforcement authorities immediately enter your child’s name and identifying information into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center Missing Person File.”