Police chief says murdered toddler’s case didn’t meet criteria for Maile Amber Alert

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 5:47 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard spoke publicly for the first time this week about the case of a missing toddler whose father is behind bars for her murder.

Chief Susan Ballard did not do interviews during the search for 18-month old Kytana Ancog.

She told Hawaii News Now in an interview this week that a Maile Amber Alert was not triggered because the case didn’t meet the criteria, even though Ancog was in the care of a convicted felon.

Ancog’s father, Travis Rodrigues, spent time in federal prison for gun and drug crimes and was charged at the state level for similar violations.

[Read more: Court documents reveal ‘horrible’ details about how missing 18-month-old was killed]

Ancog’s mother dropped the child off with Rodrigues on Jan. 31, but she was reported missing when Rodrigues didn’t bring her back.

“There was no indication of any abduction. So with a Maile Alert, there’s certain criteria that has to be present before we use it and there was no indication of any type of abduction,” said Ballard.

But critics of that argument said when Rodrigues did not return the child, the case could have been elevated to a kidnapping.

Travis Rodrigues
Travis Rodrigues(HPD)

“She dropped the baby off with him and never got her back,” said Lisa Mora, the girl’s grandmother.

On Feb. 11, Mora took to social media begging for help because HPD had not put out any information about the missing girl.

A Maile Amber Alert would have triggered a statewide effort to find the child, using street signs to notify drivers. Cell phones would have also been sent information.

“An Amber Alert is a powerful tool for law enforcement to use,” said Randall Rosenberg, an attorney who represents families of murdered children.

“Instead of a small group of people trying to find somebody you’re enlisting the public’s help and there are literally a million pairs of eyes in Hawaii that are driving around, walking around in the neighborhoods.”

Court documents show Rodrigues admitted to beating the child to death, and putting her lifeless body into a duffel bag. The reports also say a friend, Scott Carter, disposed of the bag.

Rodrigues is charged with murder, his trial is set for May. Carter is charged with hindering prosecution.

Since their arrests, tips have come in that sent HPD officers searching spots around the island. But so far, the child’s remains have not been found.

An alert may not have prevented Ancog’s death, but Rosenberg said it could have have brought in helpful tips about the whereabouts of the two suspects during a critical time ― before their arrests.

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