After the loss of Mary Black, Silver Alert is approved by the Ar - Tucson News Now

After the loss of Mary Black, Silver Alert is approved by the Arizona Senate

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Little more than two months after the disappearance and death of Mary Black from Cochise County, the Arizona Senate approved a system that might have saved her life.

"If they'd have done that with my mother, who knows?  We might have been able to get her sooner, safer," said Mary Ann Black, as she remembered the string of events after her mother, Mary Black disappeared on a November Sunday.  She said that her mother suffered from Alzheimer's.  A driver in Pinal County reported Black's white SUV on Sunland Gin Road that day.  But the dispatcher did not make the connection.

"If there had been a Silver Alert up on those billboards, then maybe that dispatcher might not have overlooked that call," Mary Ann Black said.

"One of the first things is to make sure the system is in place.  As we discovered in this one, the system wasn't in place.  So, knowing the system's in place, as long as we coordinate the information and get to the proper sources, we can only expect that it will get out there soon," said Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels.

Mary Black's body was found in the desert near the Pinal County line the next weekend.  In the wake of that tragedy, Sheriff Dannels is urging lawmakers to enact the Silver Alert system, which is similar to Amber Alert.  But this system is for older adults who disappear.  The Arizona Senate just approved it.

"With all those eyes looking, I mean, it should, the odds of recovering and finding the person are so much higher than it is right now," Sheriff Dannels said.

The network for Silver Alert already exists because it would use the same resources as Amber Alert; therefore, it is not anticipated to add any cost to the state.  But it will hopefully save lives, as it could have helped save Mary Black.

"It's a little late for Mom.  But, maybe it will save somebody else, them going through all of the sad things that we went through," Mary Ann Black said.

The Arizona House of Representatives must still approve the legislation before the governor can sign it.  Fifteen other states have Silver Alert systems.

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