WATSON, Ill. (KSDK) - With all of the social media postings and news flashes issued for 7-year-old Willow Long earlier this week, one seemed to be missing - the AMBER Alert.
It was never issued.
During the search for Willow, whose body was found after an extensive two-day search, several on social media and throughout the community questioned the policy for issuing an AMBER Alert. But now, Kelli Connours has created a petition on Change.org called "Willow's Warning" to get the AMBER alert guidelines changed for the future.
Under federal guide lines, the America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response or AMBER Alert, is to be used for children who have been abducted, are at risk of serious injury or death and have a sufficient description for the child, captor and captor's car.
Effingham County Sheriff John Monnet said in a press conference with reporters earlier this week that Willow's disappearance wasn't described as an abduction and therefore didn't warrant an AMBER Alert.
Currently, the petition has more than 4,500 signatures, including Willow's father.
"She is my daughter, and no one should be dismissed from an amber alert after being gone for so long," Thomas Long wrote on the petition.
Check out the video above of Sheriff Monnett explaining why there was no AMBER Alert.
On the KSDK NewsChannel 5 Facebook page, Kevin LeJeune Rogers wrote in a post Monday, "Why would it hurt to go ahead and issue an Amber alert even if foul play isn't suspected?"
Tonya Lanzante also posted the same day, "Everyone say a prayer for the safe return of Willow!! Just said ... I think the AMBER ALERT guidelines seriously need to be revised!"
The petition is more than 400 signatures from reaching its goal. To see the petition check out Change.org's website.