Advisory in effect as mother, baby still missing
HELENA, Mont. - The incident on Wednesday where 29-year-old Michelle Yallup walked out of a Anaconda hospital with her newborn baby prompted local and state authorities to take action.
State officials issued a Missing Endangered Person Alert (MEPA) shortly after law enforcement contacted the state Department of Justice.
Thursday we spoke to Jennifer Viets, the Amber Alert coordinator with the Montana Department of Justice. Viets explained the different types of alerts that they have to choose from when an incident like this happens.
In Yallup's case, the incident prompted a MEPA because they are concerned about the welfare of the child.
"Anaconda law enforcement agency initially asked for an Amber Alert, and we evaluated the circumstances and determined it did not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert because there was no abduction," said Viets.
Abduction is the No. 1 criterion for an Amber Alert. It would be necessary in a case where a child 17 or younger has been abducted or disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
In this case they used a more localized alert -- a Missing Endangered Person Advisory. The advisory guidelines include an adult or child who is missing under unexplained, involuntary or suspicious circumstances.
It also applies to a person in danger due to age, health, mental or physical disability, environmental conditions or contact with a potentially dangerous person.
This incident that happened in Anaconda focused the alert to five surrounding counties, including Lewis and Clark, Cascade and Silver Bow.
"One of the advantages with the MEPA is targeted to specific areas where the incident is occurring and is not state-wide response," said Viets.
We asked Viets on Thursday afternoon -- more than 36 hours after Yallup and baby John Doe went missing, if they felt the need to change the alert status. She had just checked in with Anaconda law enforcement.
"We just spoke with Chief Tim Barkell in Anaconda, and he agreed that the Missing Endangered Person Advisory. needs to remain in effect, but it did not require escalation to an Amber Alert," said Viets.
For more information about the advisory, you can see the details on the Montana Department of Justice website.