Nevada’s Silver Alert changed following death of missing Indiana man
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A missing couple’s story sparked change in Nevada’s Silver Alert system.
Last spring a couple from Indiana road-tripping through Nevada went missing for a week and the 72-year-old man did not survive.
Ronnie and Bev Barker traveled through rural Nevada this March. GPS led them astray up a mountain in the area of Silver Peak. Their RV then got stuck in the mud.
Their family reported the couple missing on March 29, but it wasn’t until April 4 that a Silver Alert was finally issued. The alert is like an Amber Alert for elderly people.
“They literally had fallen off the face of the Earth, but we knew they were somewhere. So to face any kind of resistance was just a slap in the face at the time and afterwards,” the couple’s nephew Travis Peters said.
Peters gathered a large following on social media while the couple was lost. Many put pressure on the state to finally issue the alert and successfully got an exception to the rule.
Until now there were six qualifications for a Silver Alert to be issued in the state which included being a resident of Nevada. Bev and Ronnie were not.
The same day the Silver Alert was issued Ronnie passed away. That was just 26 hours before they were found.
“The hurdle of them not being residents of Nevada just seemed very archaic to have a rule like that in a state that relies on tourism,” Peters said.
Peters said that one of the rescuers told Bev they found mountain bike tracks near their stuck car.
“They probably didn’t realize there were two people huddled in the back trying to stay warm,” Peters said.
Peters believes the alert would likely have added more resources to the case that could have possibly saved Ronnie’s life.
The couple’s nephew reached out to leaders around the state to try to get momentum to change the Silver Alert rule. He finally was connected with assemblywoman Alexis Hansen who called for the change to the Department of Safety rule.
Now the in-state qualification for the alert has been lifted, which brings some comfort to Peters and his family.
“His death might not have been in vain,” Peters said. “Down the road, it might be tomorrow - might be 20 years from now. There’s going to be a case that was similar to ours and that issue is not going to come up.”
Peters said Bev is like her old self.
“She’s just full of faith. She still looks at the ordeal as something that was God’s plan,” Peters said.
Ronnie was laid to rest in his home state of Indiana in April.
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