FBI holds child kidnapping training in Smithville

FBI holds child kidnapping training in Smithville

Credit: Shannon Murray / KVUE

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) held one of its child abduction training sessions in Smithville on Wednesday.

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 15 at 5:56 PM

SMITHVILLE, Texas -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) held one of its child abduction training sessions in Smithville on Wednesday.

The week-long training includes a simulated kidnapping. Department of Public Safety troopers, the Smithville Police Department, the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Rangers participated in the training.

The mock child abduction included a live victim and various role players throughout the community. Local news stations were also asked to assist by being on scene and asking "aggressive" questions to investigators, family members and neighbors.

In the scenario a 12-year-old girl, Emily Austin, is missing. Investigators are told she was last seen at 7:30 a.m. walking from her home in the 400 block of Byrne Street to Smithville Junior High School. She was wearing a purple long-sleeved shirt and multi-colored hoodie with peace symbols on it. She was also carrying her purse and a black and red backpack.

Throughout the course of the mock investigation, officers questioned neighbors and family members. They also uncovered the first pieces of evidence -- a cell phone and backpack.

Multiple press briefings were held for reporters throughout the day, and eventually information came out about a potential suspect -- the girl's 19-year-old boyfriend.

FBI Supervisor Robert King said the training should be as realistic as possible because it's the best time for all agencies to learn since there is no real life at stake.

Neighbors said they were told ahead of time that law enforcement officers and vehicles would be in the neighborhood conducting the training and staging a fake crime scene.

Texas DPS was the lead state agency on the training. FBI agents travel the country holding the training with the Child Abduction Deployment Team. 

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