• Rick Bergmann

DeHaven Tragedy Leads to Suggested Amendment of the Silver Alert Bill in Annapolis

Before January 2, 2018, Beltsville was a community that not too many people outside of the immediate area had heard of, but that all changed when Daniel DeHaven, 65, went missing from the Costco on Route 1. A little over a week later, on January 9, after multiple news stories and a large police response with helicopters with infrared detectors, bloodhounds, and officers from District I and VI, he was found deceased over 20 miles away in Anne Arundel County. Mr. DeHaven suffered from dementia.

In response to this tragedy, on February 27, Maryland Delegates Joselyn Peña-Melnyk and Susie Proctor brought a new bill to Maryland’s General Assembly. House Bill HB-1209 adds wandering seniors on foot to the Silver Alert bill.

Presently, the Silver Alert can only be activated when missing individuals meet specific criteria, such as the individual who is missing must be in a vehicle. The new addition would make a provision for individuals who wander off on foot.

The DeHaven family and another family, the Butlers, testified on how the Silver Alert might have helped find their family members safe and alive. David DeHaven, the brother of Danny DeHaven, said in his testimony “During our initial efforts to locate Danny, we were informed that a Silver Alert could not be used because it was only available if a motor vehicle was involved. Since Danny was on foot the day he disappeared, we were unable to use a valuable and wide-reaching resource because of the current policy.” Representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association and The Prince George’s Police Department Citizens Advisory Council also added their support.

Hopefully, this amendment will pass and some good will come from this tragedy that happened in our small town.

Photo Caption: David DeHaven, twin brother of Daniel “Danny” DeHaven, sits with his daughter Nicole and Danny’s son, Kevin, waiting over five hours for their turn to testify.

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