It was a snowy day on Saturday, Dec. 14.

That evening, most of us stayed indoors and watched TV. Suddenly, on the screen, an "Amber alert" flared.

Every now and then viewers receive an Amber alert, which advises us that some youngster somewhere has been abducted. It gets your attention, for sure.

Originating in the United States in 1996, AMBER is officially a backronym for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, but was named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas, in 1996.

This Amber alert was different in that it had local origination. A 4-year-old Palmerton girl was allegedly abducted from her caregiver, her grandmother, by her father.

Fortunately, she was found safe several hours later in the Quakertown area. The father, Timothy Simcsuk, 25, of Palmerton, was arrested.

Although it was excellent police work credited with locating the girl, the Amber alert certainly helped.

It alerted people all over the state to keep an eye out for Simcsuk's vehicle. It was broadcast within minutes after the abduction occurred.

Time is relevant in finding abduction victims.

Upon reading the affidavit of probably cause about Simcsuk's arrest, we see just how fortunate we are that there was a happy ending.

The affidavit said the little girl was playing outdoors in the snow with her grandmother when the abduction happened.

Simcsuk showed up and grabbed the child, then ran with the youngster to his van which had the engine running.

The affidavit says the grandmother pursued, but Simcsuk pushed her to the ground and kicked her in the face. This was apparently occurring in front of the little girl.

Police said that when he was apprehended in Quakertown, he told them he had intended to take the child to Virginia, and that he had considered killing the child, and then himself.

This was the second time Simcsuk stole his daughter and took her out of state, according to police.

A disturbing statement in the affidavit is that Simcsuk told police he intends to come back and take the child again as soon as he is released.

The Amber alert might have saved the little girl's life.

Hopefully, the courts take the threat seriously and do something to protect her from any potentially future abductions as has been threatened. The next time things might not work out as well.

@$:

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com