WSP explains why there was no Amber Alert for 4-year-old Ariel Garcia

EVERETT, Wash. — We’re learning more about the law enforcement efforts that led to the tragic discovery of the body of a 4-year-old Everett boy who was reported missing Wednesday.

Ariel Garcia’s body was found along I-5 near Lakewood on Thursday.

His mother, Janet Garcia, was arrested in connection with his death. She was booked into Snohomish County Jail Friday night on murder and assault of a child charges.

Just minutes before the body was found, an Endangered Missing Persons Alert was sent out to phones throughout Western Washington.

“That’s an alert for anyone who for whatever reason, their age or physical ability or mental abilities aren’t able to take care of themselves,” said Chris Loftis, Public Information Officer with Washington State Patrol.

Ariel was reported missing ‘under suspicious circumstances’ by Everett Police Thursday.


It left many people wondering why an Amber Alert wasn’t sent out instead.

Loftis told KIRO 7 this specific case did not meet the requirements.

“At that point, the investigation didn’t show abduction threat that the abduction threshold had been met,” he said.

He said Amber Alerts have four federal requirements:

-Child aged 17 years or younger

-Reasonable belief that an abduction has occurred

-The child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death

-Descriptive information like license plate or suspect description

In this case, Loftis said police could not confirm Ariel had been abducted.

“One of the reasons they’re effective is they’re so rarely used, and people really pay attention to them,” he said.

Whether it’s an Amber Alert or an Endangered Missing Persons Alert, he says both are usually very effective.

Since January 2023, Loftis tells us seven Amber Alerts were sent in the state of Washington. Each case had been met with recovery.

Another question was why the alert was sent out so late. It alerted phones just a few minutes before Ariel’s body was found.

With the way the investigation played out, Loftis told us they did what they could when they could.

“When you have a four-year-old, who’s in peril, everybody moves Heaven and Earth, and we do all you possibly can do. But in this situation, you had a situation where that moving Heaven and Earth didn’t make our prayers come true.”