New alert system named for missing South Elgin resident
A new statewide missing persons alert system has been named after a South Elgin resident who disappeared in 2016 at the age of 17.
The Kianna Alert, named for Kianna Galvin, who would be 20 now, is similar to an Amber Alert that notifies the public about a missing person, according to a news release from the Missing Persons Awareness Network. However, there's one key distinction: An Amber Alert is released for missing children younger than 16 and people with disabilities, and police need to believe the person is in danger; the Kianna Alert doesn't require proof of danger.
"Children are immediately considered runaways and adults are allowed to leave their lives. While that is easily assumed, it most always is not correct," Gia Wright, president of the Missing Persons Awareness Network, said in the news release. "I'd rather be right and alert the public than be wrong and (fail) that person and their loved ones."
Kianna Galvin disappeared on May 6, 2016. She had been reported as a runaway previously but not as a missing person.
No Amber Alert or public release was provided, and her cellphone and social media were inactive for more than a day and a half by the time her missing persons report was official, the news release said.
Police later found her blood on a neighbor's trash can and have long suspected someone murdered her. No one has been arrested in the case.
Kianna's mother, Fiona Galvin, said she hopes this new alert will spare other families from grief such as hers.
"It means so, so, so much, because I don't want another family to go through another circumstance like this," she said.
Kianna's father, Everick York, said he was surprised by the creation of the new alert.
"I'm humbled that someone actually took the initiative to do something like this," he said.
The official announcement of the alert system will come during a news conference at 4:30 p.m. today at South Elgin's Jim Hansen Park, where Kianna said she was headed before she went missing.
The new alert will go into effect Jan. 15. It's a free system, and you can subscribe by texting "Add" to (312)-561-3319 or visiting www.missinginillinois.org.
• Daily Herald staff writer Elena Ferrarin contributed to this report.