Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Unsolved Murder of Amber Hagerman


Snatched from her bicycle
by Robert A. Waters

On the afternoon of January 13, 1996, Amber Hagerman, 9, and her five-year-old brother, Ricky, pedaled their bicycles to an abandoned grocery store in Arlington, Texas. Minutes later, Ricky turned to head back home, about a block away.

Jim Kevil, a 78-year-old retiree, stood in his backyard not far away. “I saw [Amber] riding up and down,” he said later. “She was by herself. I saw this pickup. He pulled up, jumped out and grabbed her. When she screamed, I figured the police ought to know about it, so I called them.”

Kevil described the truck as being dark, possibly black. The abductor was white or Hispanic.

Police arrived within a minute or two. By that time, Jimmie Whitson, Amber’s grandfather, was on his way to the locale of the former Winn-Dixie store to check on her. (When Ricky had arrived back home without Amber, Whitson had grown worried.) By the time he arrived, cops were there.

Experts say that stranger abductions are rare. They are also among the most difficult cases to solve. Even with an eyewitness, investigators were stymied. They theorized that it was a crime of opportunity, that the kidnapper saw Amber alone and impulsively decided to snatch her. The vacant lot where children liked to play was on East Abram Street, not far from a huge General Motors plant. From the beginning, cops felt that the abductor was almost certainly familiar with the area.

Local police were joined by volunteers and the FBI in the massive search that followed. A truck similar to that of the kidnapper had been spotted outside a nearby laundromat before Amber was taken, but investigators never located the vehicle.

Four days later, a man was walking his dog near the Forest Hill Apartments, just a few miles from where the child had been snatched. At the bottom of a creek bed, he saw a child’s body. Amber Hagerman had been found.

An autopsy determined that Amber had been held alive for two days. During that time she was sexually assaulted.

Arlington police and the FBI formed a task force to search for the killer. Investigators followed up thousands of leads, but none turned up the murderer.

By 1999, the task force had been disbanded and the case had gone cold. The killer has gone undetected now for eleven years. Arlington detective Jim Ford recently said, “There would be nothing more important or rewarding than seeing this case get resolved because [it] is as bad as they get.”

Shortly after Amber went missing, a caller to a Dallas radio station asked a simple question: why can’t law enforcement team with the media to quickly provide information to the public when a child is abducted? The idea caught on, and the Amber Alert was born. It began locally as the Dallas Amber Alert. Then it became a state-wide program and finally went national.

Since its formation, the Amber Alert is credited with the rescue of more than three hundred missing and abducted children.

Glenda Whitson, Amber’s grandmother, prays that the killer will be caught. However, she’s not optimistic. “[Police] really don’t have much to go on,” she said. “A few fibers they found on her body, they tell us. They’re still working on it, and they call us now and then. They say they’ll never give up. After ten years, you lose hope that they’ll ever find him, but I still have a little bit of hope.”

A psychological profile was issued by police a few weeks after the murder. Unfortunately, it was a generic rehash of profiles released after many such crimes. The killer was at least 25, cops said. He lived or worked near the scene of the crime. Since Amber was alive for two days after she was kidnapped, the killer had to have had some place to keep the child. Something probably caused him to snap, police said.

Since 1996, a killer has roamed free. Did he keep trophies of his victim so he can relive his crime? Has he killed again? Is he free or incarcerated? Amber Hagerman deserves justice and her killer deserves a Texas send-off to Hell.

48 comments:

Eileen said...

God's got a little Angel now and her name is Amber Hagerman. I hope the man that did this is caught by DNA or somehow. May he rot in HELL!
For Amber's Family, especially her mother and brother the whole world is still praying for you and for Amber.

EN in Md.

savage_tomato said...

I still cannot understand how the police could have missed the car identification. There should not have been billions of dark trucks in the area!! Why didn't they investigate deeply on every owner of such a dark truck in the area? One by one, even if it takes months. Did they do it? Years later this unforgivable murder still makes me so angry.

kelly said...

i think what happened to amber was a horrible thing, just horrible. The guy who did this should rot in jail. let him suffer in jail. if anybody thinks that he should be executed, your wrong! your doing him a favor. your giving him the easy way out. that guy should rot in jail and get what he has coming to him, for a long time. i hope they find the guy, he can spend the rest of his life in jail and get tortured in there.

Ladybug5 said...

Have they ever checked first time offenders? If the person who did this had never been charged or convicted of any sex crime before, would their DNA be in the database? Why not start with people who were charged after that, for the first time? Maybe starting with ones who lived in Arlington at the time?

julie said...

to donna and ricky amber is watching u both she will never forget u both wat u have done with the amber alert is amazing u have saved so many children amber would be very proud of u both and ure family all my love to the amber hagermans family xxx

sara said...

To those who think that the killer should rot in jail. you are gravely mistaken. Prisoners have it easy in the system. I come from a family of Law Enforcement Officers and criminals a murderers never truly get what they deserve until our one and only God judges them for what they have done. No human can truly punish those who have done unspeakable things to our loved ones. Only when God has his turn will this Unforgivable sin be handled!

Michael said...

I knew her my sister always played with her I played with ricky a lot they lived in my apartment complex when I was little if I ever found out who killed the sweetest girl I ever knew I swear I will make him suffer every way he made her suffer and if the cops find him first he is lucky her family was and will always be devastated by this loss I will always have amber in my heart and I am sorry. And im glad to say the amber alert has heled save at least a hundred childern and now that I have a child of my own thank god for sex offender resgiter but a impossiable cost we paid REST IN PEACE AMBER MAY U ALWAYS BE WITH US

angelica12 said...

Hi my name is Angelica and i was born the same year as your little girl and the frist time i saw the movie of your little girl it touched me and i cry i couldnt imagen what you have went threw. I now have a little girl and she 5 years old and me and her watch the movie of amber and she cry when she saw and now she looked at me and she said i know why mommy you dont let me go out side and ride my bike by my self she looked at me and gave me a hug and i cry bcause i dnt imagen what you went threw. My she Rest In Peace....

Molly said...

hi i am 12 years old not that much older than amber when she died i saw my mom reading this i caught the name and went and looked it up i wasnt born yet when this happened i dont really know what to say i guess all i can say is this story really touched me and WOW and like ever one else may this man rot in HELL!!!

Amyn said...

Amber's soul may rest in eternal peace. She lives on saving so many vulnerable kids. God bless her soul. Ameen

Jazmin said...

I am so truly sorry for the loss of Amber. Donna and Rick know that she is watching you both. I am a mother myself and i dont know what i would do in your shoes, i know i wouldnt be alive. i just watched the movie on Lifetime and that man deserves to be in jail and have the same things he did to amber done to him. God is watching and that bastard will get what he deserves.

Allyson said...

I wish that little blehhh didn't do that to that sweet little girl.If you did it, how would you feel if somebody did that to you.You deserve to rot in jail for your sick crime.Your also a sick hearted man.Rot in heck!!!!!!Even if you are mean and nobody likes you and yu'll probably never get a girlfriend and yeah afense!Chew on dirt sicko!!!!

Sandra M said...

Don't give up hope of solving Amber's case. Lisa Bonham, who was 6 years old, was abducted from here (Reno, Nevada) in 1977. Her case went cold for 23 years before her murder was solved. We never thought anyone would be arrested, but now her murderer is serving a life sentence.

Sherry said...

I hope this culprit rots in hell to hurt that child like that and take her from her loving family Someday he will pay for this on his judgement day.

katie-angel said...

as soon as i saw the movie i was crying and i was so upset i didnt want to watch the reat but i did and i think that the killer will rot in hell

Graced said...

Precious little Amber Hagerman will never be forgotten. She is dancing with the angels today in God's glorious Kingdom.

daisy rodriguez said...

to the family of Amber Hagerman i am so sorry for ur lost i have four kids my self and i wouldn't want to ever have to go thou anything like this but i do pry for him to get capture and get life in prison so he could get what he have coming let the prisoner to with him as they see fit.and i think u should keep on looking for him if the cops do have fiber that they did find on ambers body with the new upgraded technology that they have the should be able to find him i do wish u the best and my heart goes out to u and ur family and good luck i really do wish they find cause u and amber deserve that much much love and again i am so sorry about ur lost daisy

Jennifer said...

This is such a tragic, heartbreaking story and horrible crime. There has got to be something they can do NOW to figure this crime out. Truthfully, I don't think the police did everything they could to find her those first couple of hours. I do not understand how anyone could hurt a child :( God Bless her Mother and family.

KatrinaKay said...

I knew Amber very well as a child... we went to school together at C.B.Berry Elem. and we were also in girlscouts together. As well as the fact that I lived right down the road from her grandparents house. I was in Wisc at tye time of her murder due to the passing of a very dear uncle and to this day I wish that I had been there... I still ask myself "could I have done anything to stop it?"... although a very dear angel was taken at such a young age I know she is up in heaven smiling down at us! God bless you Donna and Ricky to this day you are still in my prayers! I love and miss you very much Amber Rene may God guide you through the roads in heaven till we can all meet up with you again!!!

Veronica said...

This family is in my prayers. This family is so much stronger than they should ever have been made to be.

Veronica said...

God's got the best little angel now. This family is in my prayers each and every day. They are so strong, they are stronger than they should ever have been made to be.

Jenn said...

Was any of the killers DNA left of that little girls body? Semen, a hair folical,or skin under her nails?! Anything?! This is a horrible thing that happened to this little girl & her family! You best believe what the police can't solve, God can! REST IN PIECE AMBER!

Amber Hansen said...

Wow.. This is quite the story.. I never knew the reason why it is called an "Amber alert" until now.. I hope and pray that Amber's family receives some sort of justice and closure on this terrible crime. It is so heartbreaking to know there are people who prey on children.. My heart goes out to the family and my prayers are going out to Amber's soul and healing for her family..

jacob Da pissed off father said...

still this crime hasnt been solved how can they not find her killer withing 24hours unlikely right,my god they havent found him yet \, im wacthing the movie with my girl and it angers us they say crime is impossible how come u cant get away with robbing a bank why because they now take procederes how come they are not with all our children america is a fucking same of what we the poeple allow and care about ID the che children have them swipe in one the bus oh wait that would take movie right what the fuck is worng wheere our tax money going lets fucking change this shit our children lives are at stake so freaking mad im off here

freewriterguy said...

government workers are dumb, as was the family it seems, if only the caller would have said, a dark black pick up truck just took a little girl, the cops in the area could have immediately been looking, but as is so often the case, the "its not my job mentality overode common sense" surely giving speeding tickets to the working class citizens is more important, as our ever in search of a profit government continues as usual. i would have pulled over every black truck if i was in the police force, would have radioed all other patrol officers to drop the mundane tasks they were doing. But then again, when you look at how our country is being destroyed by rich corporate execs hoarding the wealth while we the people struggle, it just seems ironic. The people on this planet dont seem very intelligent or edumacated after all.

tarablanco97@gmail.com said...

I live in florida, I have a child of my own so I know how you feel. I hope this bastard rots in hell too, and he will justice will be served for amber florida

tarablanco97@gmail.com said...

Amber God is with you Florida

tarablanco97@gmail.com said...

teresa, Amber justice will be served I know in my heart youir abductor will be caught

Unknown said...

You knew her? Hows her family doing now? I hope he gets the electric chair. And those cops didnt do enough. They were to busy talking to the news station. Im actually watching the movie now. Its so sad. I dont know what i would do if my boys were tooken. I would sit home i know that. Shes helped so many kids become saved from the amber alert. Im in washington state. And i look for the signs everytime when i see a amber alert

JM said...

I was a classmate of Amber at CB Berry Elementary. It seems like once a year I still look online to see if they have ever found the killer. I am now a father of two handsome boys and could not imagine losing them. I still think about who could have done such a horrible thing. RIP Amber, always in our hearts.

Jesus M Arlington, TX

texasbaby said...

i was a lilttle girl who lived in watauga tx when she was taken. it make so sad then and now that im grown its makes me sick to tummy to no some one of that kind is still out there. im so sorry and i will never forget u amber.

texasbaby said...

i was a lil girl who lived in Watauga TX when Amber Hagerman was taken. Still to this day im so sick to no that the great state of TEXAS has not found this guy. Im so sorry for what happin there are no words for how i fill. Just remember god will provide. I will always keep u in my pryers.

Fredric Dennis Williams said...

You might want to change the title of this entry. I don't think you want to suggest that Robert A. Waters was the murderer of Amber -- which is the way I read it when I first saw the title. -- FDWilliams

Sgraser said...

I lived a couple of miles from where she was taken... I had a strong faith & prayed on my hands & knees for God to save her!! I felt for sure she would be saved. I have since questioned my beliefs. I dont understand how God could allow that to happen. My faith has been shaken such that I don't even attend church anymore. (& my father is a pastor). I want to speak to her Mother....I want to apologize for not being faithful enough to save her. I think about her every day....

Sgraser said...

I lived a few blocks from where Amber was abducted. I still question why God would allow an innocent baby to be be taken. I was on my hands & knees praying for her safe return... My faith has never been the same since. I feel the need to speak to her Mother & beg for her forgiveness...

Jason Graham said...

I was 17 or 18 at the time, was driving home from high school. I remember seeing Amber and the boy riding there bikes in the (shutdown) Win Dixie parking lot. I remember smiling as I once rode my bike there just a few years earlier. I lived in the neighborhood just behind the Burger Box. That was 15 minutes before she was abducted. I wished I had been a bit late from leaving school that day.

vivian gordon said...

I was born the same day as amber, every time I see the movie I always cry when I see the part where her mother reacted to learning her little girl had just been taken, i would die if my little girl was taken from me, she is my world.

vivian gordon said...

No that means he is the one that posted the sorry

vivian gordon said...

Why would you ask for her forgiveness, did you do it, probably not.

vivian gordon said...

Yes I do wonder y the police didn't immediately start looking for the black truck when the elderly neighbor said that someone in a black truck just took a girl. Thank God for the amber alert.

Baby Bull said...

Very sick, the problem is; the parents nor the children, how come parents let their kids alone without supervision
They shall be punish too. For the sick bastard who killed this inocent child, He must died by head off or trow his ugly and sick body to the lions "a life" no remorse for this sick Bastard... Deserved to died...

Cindy Newvine said...

I can't figure out why the police and other officials have not found this creep that killed Amber. That is so very sad that this sick killer has roamed free all these years. I feel so bad for this child's mother...that is awful! That poor little girl...

Ashley Butts said...

So tragic such a sweet innocent little girl. Prayers for the family and that her killer will get caught or has already died. So sad I can't imagine that poor little girls terror she felt. I feel so sorry for her family. They have been so strong.I don't know what I would do if something happened to my daughter

Melanie henson said...

Did The police ever check for dwi 's in the area of men driving a dark truck?

nothingelsematters said...

this is so sad.. and I dont know why police didnt search every single corner, questioned every person..they are not doing enough...hoping they will find her killer. this will bring some peace to her family and loved ones....

erica.warren said...

amber Hagerman was a good little girl and did not deserve to get killed. But however the man who killed her should go to hell. But amber is in a better place now. I am still praying for her. bless ambers family.

rebecca cichock said...

how can police not find the evil man who did this, since she was sexually assaulted it would have left dna
from the murderer
whoever killed deserves the wrath of god for killing one of his precious children
AMBER RIP

Chris Barrett said...

Now im only 12 but If he sexually assaulted her shouldn't his DNA be inside her therefore the trace his body and find who he is and all of his information??