Police defend ten-hour span before Amber Alert issued

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Mar. 3, 2015) -- CBS4 asked police why it took so long to issue an Amber Alert in the case of two abducted teens. One thing is for sure: 16-year-old Aaron and 13-year-old Emma Blackwell are alive and safe. Much of their case remains unsure, though, including why the teens were abducted and driven to Detroit. It's a case that has gripped the city with its twists and turns.

"(It's) a very complicated case, (with) lots of moving parts," Indiana State Police Capt. Dave Bursten said.

CBS4 asked Bursten why it took ten hours to issue an Amber Alert in the teens' case. He said that while it may seem like a long time, from his perspective it's standard.

"Our concern is to preserve the value of the alert," Bursten said.

Bursten said ISP won't issue an alert until they have credible, descriptive information and it took a while to get credible information from family members.

In fact, in the past five years police departments across the state have  requested 29 Amber Alerts. Of those, only eight met the strict criteria and actually resulted in an issued alert.

More questions also surround why those teens were abducted at all. Police took their sister, Whitney Blackwell, to jail on a warrant. They believe she may have stolen $48,000 and drugs from a dealer in Detroit, possibly leading to the kidnapping.

"Stan's going after the money right now. I want my babies back," father Isaac Pernell said.

Pernell made that statement in the hours after his children went missing. CBS 4 has since learned that police arrested Stanley Parnell, who told officers he is related to Blackwell, in connection to a home where some of the stolen money may have been hidden.

All of the pieces add up to a potentially dangerous situation with the two teenagers right in the middle.

Ultimately, though, Bursten said the Amber Alert is not what led police to the suspects and missing teens.

"All of the things involved in this particular investigation would’ve happened whether there was an Amber Alert or not," Bursten said.

For more information about the parameters for an Amber Alert to be issued in Indiana, visit the  website here.

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