SOUDERTON, Pa. (CBS) – An “Amber Alert” for nine-year-old Skyler Kauffman was put out about 3½ hours she was reported missing to Souderton police.

Responding to criticism that a more timely alert might have saved the girl’s life (see related story), Pennsylvania state police said today that they followed all the “objective criteria” the governs triggering of such alerts.

Family members last saw Skyler Kauffman around 5pm Monday. She didn’t show up for dinner an hour later, and by about 7:15pm they called Souderton police.  That touched off the local investigation.

Sgt. Anthony Manetta, Amber Alert coordinator for the Pennsylvania  State Police, says that at about the same time, his agency ran down the criteria and analyzed other factors to determine whether to activate an Amber Alert.

Even though a local detective spotted what turned out to be the suspect with blood on his shoes, Manetta says, they issued an alert at 11:48pm Monday night since they had not at that point found the child’s body.

“We issued the Amber Alert ahead of time, knowing certain information ahead of time, that the child may have been assaulted, but we didn’t know to what extent,” Sgt. Manetta said today.

He says that despite finding blood and clothing in the apartment complex, there could have been a second suspect with her, or, after being assaulted, the victim could have been dumped and left alive at another location.

Just minutes after the Amber Alert was activated, a detective found her body in a nearby dumpster.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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