An Amber Alert issued in eastern Canada this week has received an explosion of backlash, with some upset that the alert looking for a dad who has since been charged with the first-degree murder of his daughter disrupted their sleep.
Peel Regional Police has since defended its use of the emergency amber alert for missing 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar, which was issued Thursday at 11:36 p.m. EST to cellphones in Ontario and Ottawa.
Riya was with her father for her birthday when she didn’t return home. Police said Friday that the mom contacted police and told them that her daughter’s father, Roopesh Rajkumar, was going to harm himself and Riya.
The girl’s body was found in a Brampton residence. Rajkumar was arrested in Oro-Medonte, north of Toronto. He has since been charged with first-degree murder.
In total, the alert lasted less than an hour.
This push notification is a great idea and should stay, but the execution is awful. I thought it was a nuclear attack or something, heart still pounding. Doubt I'll be sleeping tonight #AMBERALERT #heartattack— magisa233 (@magisa233) February 15, 2019
Peel police spokesperson Const. Akhil Mooken took to Twitter to share his disappointment in the numerous complaints.
“I appreciate that a lot of people were sleeping but the immediate need to locate the child outweighed the momentary inconvenience that some people encountered,” he said.
“Tragically this incident did not have the outcome we were all hoping for but the suspect was located as a direct result of a citizen receiving the alert and calling 911. The system works.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also quick to defend the system, and sent his condolences to the family and friends of Riya.
“Amber Alerts like the one so many of us received last night are critically important to helping police when a child’s life is on the line,” he said in statement on social media.
Others to condemn the complaints included Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Rick Mercer.
I don't want to live on a planet where people complain about amber alerts. https://t.co/WoDrQw4nEg— Rick Mercer (@rickmercer) February 15, 2019
It’s just annoying to think about how people were complaining about the #AmberAlert the other night. They complained about losing sleep, when a little girl died. 😠— lexmark66 (@lexmark66) February 16, 2019