First AMBER Alert issued ends with return of child

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 15, 2003

For more than 24 hours, the family of 11-year-old Robert Dewayne Beck Jr. went through agony, wondering what had happened to the Kinston youth. Known as "Junior," the boy was last seen between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Monday at 236 Pierce St. in Kinston, with Jason Grover Fillingim, 24.

"At that time, Fillingim was supposed to be taking the child to a store, location unknown," read the official news release from the Kinston Police Department.

"It was actually reported last night (Monday), around 9:30 p.m," said Kinston Police Chief Russell Young. "The FBI is assisting. The Coffee County DAs office is here, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation is here, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children."

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An AMBER Alert, a nationwide program to coordinate efforts of law enforcement and the media for child recovery, was issued, the first such case in Alabama since the AMBER Alert's initiation last year. An AMBER Alert issued from Florida did carry over into the Baldwin County area from Pensacola last summer.

Early Tuesday afternoon, according to FBI Special Agent Ray Zicarelli, an individual dropped the boy off at his residence. He was then returned to his family.

"There was no apparent physical harm," said Zicarelli, "but he has been taken to the hospital for a medical examination."

The FBI agent could not release the identity of the person who returned Junior due to the ongoing investigation, but did reveal that it was not Fillingim.

"The child is home safely and the investigation is continuing with the Kinston Police and the FBI and ABI," said another FBI agent in the Mobile office.

According to Zicarelli, the FBI is assisting in the case but because it was in-state, the ABI will be leading the investigation.

"They haven't found the person he was with," said a representative with the Kinston Police Department.

Fillingim was reportedly seen Monday in Opp, sometime around noon, but it was not known if the child was still with him at that time.

Fillingim's description has also been released. The man is six feet, two inches tall and has brown hair with a beard and receding hairline. He has blue eyes and is estimated to weigh 200 pounds.

Fillingim was last seen driving a 1996 Kia Sephia LS, four-door, silver in color, with a cracked windshield. The tag is 23B989F and is registered to Cassie G. Richburg.