Peel Amber Alert Causes Complaints From Sleeping Citizens; Riya Rajkumar, 11, Found Dead Hours Later

Some residents didn't care for being woken up by the blaring sound of the alert.

This is a stock photo of concept art for amber alerts
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Some residents didn't care for being woken up by the blaring sound of the alert.

Police in the Canadian municipality of Peel are “disappointed” after residents have been complaining that an Amber Alert woke them up. The alert was for a missing 11-year-old girl, who was found dead hours later, Global News reports.

Almost all cell phone manufacturers and carriers have a cooperative arrangement with local governments that allows Amber Alerts to be sent to cell phones. You may have received one: the noise can be deafening, and startling if you’re not expecting it. Of course, that’s kind of the point: authorities want cell phone users to take notice.

In the Canadian municipality of Peel, which is a sort of conglomeration of three Ontario cities (Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon) with its own shared police force, authorities sent out such an alert when an 11-year-old girl named Riya Rajkumar went missing.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Riya had been last seen alive when she was dropped off at a gas station so that her non-custodial parent, dad Roopesh Rajkumar, could pick her up for a visit. By 7:00 p.m. local time, Riya had not returned, and her mother notified police. Hours later, at 11:36 p.m., police issued the Amber Alert.

Several citizens of Peel were sleeping at the time, and did not take kindly to being woken up by the noise. They have been complaining, via phone calls and emails, ever since.

Peel police media relations officer Constable Akhil Mooken said in a series of tweets that he is “extremely disappointed” that some of the people of Peel missed the point, and chose to complain about being inconvenienced rather than focus on the fact that a vulnerable child was missing.

“I can’t even begin to describe how disappointing and upsetting it is to read the comments, emails and calls to our communications bureau complaining about receiving an Amber Alert late at night… the immediate need to locate the child outweighed the momentary inconvenience that some people encountered.”

Riya’s body was found a while later. Her father has since been charged in her murder.

Not for nothing, although the Amber Alert failed to save the young lady’s life, the system may have helped Peel police apprehend her alleged murder. Authorities say that the Amber Alert resulted in at least one tip that led them to Roopesh’s whereabouts, and he was arrested in what authorities describe as a “high-risk takedown” in a town about 80 miles away.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the Amber Alert system for at least partially doing its job that day.

“Amber Alerts like the one so many of us received last night are critically important to helping police when a child’s life is on the line.”