'It's the starting of the healing': Gov. Evers signs Prince Act, changing missing children alert criteria

NOW: ’It’s the starting of the healing’: Gov. Evers signs Prince Act, changing missing children alert criteria

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – New legislation will change the way people in Wisconsin hear about missing children.

Governor Tony Evers signed the Prince Act on Tuesday morning, implementing a state alert system for missing children that don't meet federal criteria for Amber Alerts.

The signing ceremony took place at Hawley Environmental School in Milwaukee, where the bill's namesake, 5-year-old Prince McCree, attended.

"Any child that could be saved, should be saved in the least amount of time it takes possible," said Prince's father, Darron McCree.

Prince was reported missing last October, and his body was found days later.

An Amber Alert wasn't issued, as police determined his case didn't meet the requirements.

A similar situation happened in 2022 in Chippewa Falls, for 10-year-old Lily Peters.

After Prince's death, his neighbor, state Senator LaTonya Johnson, pushed for a new system.

"Their deaths were not in vain, because it changed the trajectory of the resources that these children will have statewide," Johnson said Tuesday.

The Prince Act allows the state to send alerts for missing children under 10 years old, and children under 18 with physical or mental disabilities, who don't meet Amber Alert criteria.

"Alerts will be broadcast across highway signs, digital billboards, social media, and our state's emergency alert system," Governor Evers said.

Prince McCree's family joined the governor for Monday's signing.

"Hopefully his name out here gets known as a hero for all these other kids," said his mother, Jordan Barger.

Through grief, Prince's father said the bill has brought them some comfort.

"It's like putting on a bandage. It's the starting of the healing," Darron McCree said.

With the legislation now in place, Governor Evers said he expects the alerts to be implemented by state agencies in the coming days.

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