22 years later, Amber Hagerman’s legacy lives on through AMBER Alert

NORTH TEXAS -- An AMBER Alert rang out the first Saturday in October. A three-year-old in Richardson, potentially in grave danger, was last seen in a pink shirt and black pajama pants.

Over the next few days, Wesley Mathews story of what happened to his daughter fell apart, but another thing happened too. Hundreds of people who received that alert came to Richardson to search for Sherin Mathews, and eventually her body was recovered, leading to Friday's capital murder indictment against her adoptive father, Wesley.

"We will be tenacious, we will be persistent, and we will prosecute this case to the fullest," Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said Friday.

The discovery of Sherin and the eventual charge may have never happened without that AMBER Alert.

And AMBER Alert wouldn't exist without Amber Hagerman, the Arlington nine-year-old who was abducted January 13, 1996, and found dead four days later.

Amber's parents wanted a better way to get the media, Police, and community behind the efforts to find abducted kids, and the AMBER Alert was born.

"I'd just like people to remember why it started, what her legacy is and what kind of person and child she was because she'll always be 9," then-Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said in 2016, the 20-year anniversary of her death. "It's a tough thing we live with, but I'm proud to say something will live on, and she'll always be remembered in some way, shape, or form."

No, the alert wasn't able to save Sherin Mathews' life, but it has save plenty of others, and it helped make sure Sherin gets the justice that Amber never did.