Attorney: State twice rejected Lee County appeals for AMBER Alert in Alvarez case

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SAN CARLOS PARK, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement twice rejected Lee County Sheriff’s Office attempts to send out an AMBER Alert for missing 9-year-old Diana Alvarez before the alert went out five days after her disappearance, lawyers for her family said.

The laywers also said Jorge Guerrero, a person of interest in the case who was named in the alert, was detained and released before ultimately being taken into custody a week ago. Guerrero is currently in the Lee County Jail and facing child pornography charges.

Rita Hernandez, the mother of the San Carlos Park girl, called Guerrero shortly after she discovered the girl missing on the morning of May 29, but he hung up when she asked about Alvarez, according to attorneys Thomas R. Busatta and Joshua Lopez. Guerrero used to live at their home but moved out after Hernandez confronted him about his relationship with the girl, Hernandez said.

Guerrero’s ex-girlfriend said to WINK News this week that Alvarez told Guerrero she wants to marry him when she grows up. Hernandez has also publicly expressed concerns about the way the 28-year-old Guerrero and the 9-year-old Alvarez interacted.

Law enforcement initially thought Alvarez was a runaway, the attorneys said. The criteria for an AMBER Alert stipulate that authorities must believe an abduction has taken place, and descriptive information about a suspect or a suspect’s vehicle must be available. Also, the child must be at risk of serious bodily injury or death.

Several local, state and federal agencies are involved in the ongoing search, which has encompassed multiple locations across the state. The lawyers revealed that sheriff’s offices from Pasco, Jackson and Orange County are a part of the effort. The FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Wildlife Commission and a handful of other sheriff’s offices are also on the case.

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