How do alert systems for missing people in South Dakota work?

Sioux Falls, S.D. - Investigators are continuing to follow leads about a missing Sioux Falls woman.

76-year-old Kathryn Ann Butler, who was reported missing last week, used her credit card around 3:30 p.m. on April 24th at a gas station in Orange City, Iowa.

Police said she was identified from surveillance footage from inside the gas station.

“The more information you can get out to the public, to individuals to keep an eye out for anyone matching that description, you have a better chance of making sure no harm comes to that individual,” South Dakota Attorney General’s Office Chief of Staff, Tim Bormann said.

Once officers get information on a missing person, they send that to Pierre.

Then it gets entered into the National Crime Information Center.

“It really just expands the reach that we have,” Sioux Falls Police Department Public Information officer Sam Clemens said. “It doesn’t matter where the person is at in the country. If law enforcement runs their name or runs that license plate number that is associated with them, it’s going to pop up that they are missing and endangered.”

Clemens said Kathryn Ann Butler was placed on the Endangered Missing Advisory.

For someone to be on that list, certain standards have to be met.

“You start with an Amber Alert,” Bormann said. “There are criteria for an Amber Alert that play into an Endangered Missing Alert.”

The criteria for an Endangered Missing Alert includes a variety of things such as if the person could be in danger because of their age or health.

“The endangered tag means that there is some sense of urgency or immediacy,” Clemens said.

But, some are questioning why there isn't a better system to find seniors, like Butler, who disappear.

27 states use a Silver Alert, a system commonly known for elderly adults who go missing.

North Dakota is one of those.

“Our Silver Alert was implemented in 2017,” North Dakota Highway Patrol Sergeant, Wade Kadrmas said. “We don’t necessarily activate it each time because either they find them before we have a chance to activate or they don’t quite meet the criteria. It can be beneficial based on the circumstance. Each circumstance might be different.”

A Silver Alert works similar to an Amber Alert.

South Dakota doesn’t do a Silver Alert, but state officials said the state basically has it.

“In establishing the criteria for the Endangered Missing Person Alert, we included the language that also would have been included under a separate Silver Alert,” Bormann said. “Therefor just make it one alert.”

“One of the things that can be very frustrating is knowing she is out there and there is a chance that she needs some help and trying to find her and hopefully we can find her soon,” Clemens said.

She has a heart condition and it appears she hasn't taken her medication in a week.

Butler’s vehicle is a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with South Dakota plates 4-4-s-w-9-9.

If you have any information on Butler, you're asked to call Sioux Falls police at 605-367-7000.

Statistics on missing people in South Dakota and the criteria for those alerts can be found on the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office website.