According to the Idaho Statesman, four Idaho residents who were riding their horses in the area at the time encountered the girl and her abductor apparently camping. The four then reported their encounter to police after returning home and seeing news coverage of the Amber Alert.
This is a classic case of police receiving information from the public that helps in solving a crime and apprehending a criminal.
Deputies often talk about going with your gut to sense that something was out of place. In fact one of the horse riders said that he had a “… gut feeling…” about the situation. Specifically, the newness of the camping equipment seemed to indicate that the two were novices to camping. They said they were heading to the Salmon River which was in a different direction than they indicated. The teen’s sweat pants or pajama pants seemed out of place for wilderness camping. And, the two seemed not to want to talk in an environment where most people are usually very open and chatty.
What’s important here are not the specifics, but that the horse riders took their experience of the environment and their knowledge of camping to judge whether or not there was something unusual about the campers. You can do the same in your neighborhood, at work, or going about your day shopping. Be aware of your surroundings. Having sense of what your neighbors drive can help tip you off to suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood. Knowing when your neighbors are usually home can alert you if you hear an unusual noise or see someone at their house. Rely on your experience and observation to judge your surroundings as normal or out of the ordinary.
And when you sense that suspicious activity, take action by calling 911. Your report might not be the key to solving the crime of the century, or give you nationwide publicity, but it can help the Sheriff’s Office and a potential victim.
For more detail about the Idaho incident go to: