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Missing Austin mom and 3-week-old baby: Why wasn't there an AMBER Alert?

In order for an AMBER Alert to be issued, the case must meet several criteria set by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: On Dec. 20, Heidi Broussard has been found dead at a Harris County home and a baby was found in the home alive, according to ABC News and KTRK. There have been significant updates in this case. Click here for the updating story.

Heidi Broussard, 33, and her 3-week-old daughter have been missing since Dec. 12 – but there was never an AMBER alert issued for them.

For an AMBER Alert to be issued in Texas, the case must meet the following list of criteria defined by the Texas Department of Public Safety:

  • Is this child 17 years of age or younger, whose whereabouts are unknown and whose disappearance law enforcement has determined to be unwilling which poses a credible threat to the child's safety and health? And if abducted by a parent or legal guardian, was the abduction in the course of an attempted murder or committed murder? or
  • Is this child 13 years of age or younger, who was taken – willingly or unwillingly – without permission from the care and custody of a parent or legal guardian by 1) someone unrelated and more than three years older or 2) another parent or legal guardian who attempted or committed murder at the time of the abduction?
  • Is this child in immediate danger of sexual assault, death or serious bodily injury?
  • Has a preliminary investigation verified the abduction and eliminated alternative explanations for the child's disappearance?
  • Is sufficient information available to release to the public to help locate the child, a suspect or the vehicle used in the abduction? 

If each criterion is met, law enforcement can request that an AMBER Alert be issued for a child.

RELATED:

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'We have no reason to believe' missing Austin mother, baby are harmed: Police

According to a press conference the Austin Police Department held on Tuesday, 3-week-old Margo Carey's disappearance with her mother did not completely fulfill the criterion for an AMBER Alert. Therefore one wasn't issued.

Based on the information currently available to the public and statements from APD, the police have yet to rule out the possibility that Broussard left on her own with her daughter – in which case, an AMBER Alert would not be issued.

Austin police set up a designated tip line number for this case. If you have any information regarding their whereabouts, call 512-974-5100 immediately.

WATCH: Missing Austin mom Heidi Broussard and her baby: Live updates from APD

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