CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Just a few hours after a 5-year-old was kidnapped Wednesday morning, police found him safe and took a 36-year-old man into custody. Police say the suspect, identified as 36-year-old Brian Depriest of The Dalles, knew the mother of the boy. She and the child’s father were both attacked with a hammer before the abduction. They were taken to a hospital with injuries considered serious but not life-threatening.
As soon as police know that boy was missing, an Amber Alert was issued and alerts were sent to many cell phones all over the state. Even though it all happened to the north, police say it’s important for Southern Oregonians to be aware of these types of incidents. Interstate 5 is a prime gateway into and out-of the state. Oregon State Police say the minute an Amber Alert is issued, they take it seriously and are on high alert for the suspected vehicle and person of interest. OSP officials say I-5 is always a likely route for suspects.
Since Oregon adopted the Amber Alert system in 2002, 19 alerts have been issued in the state, resulting in 21 children being returned safely. Locally, Medford Police say they have policies and procedures ready to go should an Amber Alert need to be called for an abducted Medford child, but it’s not just police who help.
“We need the public’s eyes and ears, and when it’s an Amber Alert, it’s not only all hands on deck from a law enforcement standpoint, but a community standpoint as well,” said Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.
Medford Police officials say time is of the essence in abduction cases and would work around the clock as the lead agency in the case of a Medford abduction. Many smart phones have a message pop up automatically whenever an Amber Alert is issued. It varies phone by phone and provider by provider, but the option can generally be turned on under the settings and notification menus.