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Crime

Amber Alert System raises questions, receives praise

SACRAMENTO, CA - The latest Amber Alert catches the eye of many drivers thanks to highway signs and high tech digital billboards.

Exactly how helpful have amber alerts been though since 2002 when it was first activated?

"We've been tremendously successful. We've had 175 activations and recovered 213 children," Assistant Chief of the California Highway Patrol Ike Tani said.

Authorities also caught more than 100 suspects.

During the past three years, 24 Amber Alerts were sent out statewide each year, even more kids are found. In many cases, authorities catch the suspects.

The California Highway Patrol said it's been a great service, but not perfect. In fact, some people question why the CHP doesn't issue Amber Alerts sooner.

"Normally, that has to do with investigating agency, the investigating agency has to put the criteria together to make that determination," Tani said.

Impersonating someone online will soon be a crime

SACRAMENTO - With the start of the new year, maliciously impersonating someone online - with a phony Facebook page or e-mails apparently sent from their account - isn't just a cruel prank anymore. It's a crime.

Senate Bill 1411, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), becomes law January 1, updating California's 19th century impersonation law to the Internet age.

"A 19th century law is no deterrent for 21st century impersonators," Simitian said.

Online impersonators who assume someone else's identity to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud may be charged with a misdemeanor.

"E-personation," said Simitian, "is the dark side of the social networking revolution. Facebook or MySpace pages, e-mails, texting and comments on Web forums have been used to humiliate or torment people and even put them in danger. Victims have needed a law they can turn to." 

Sacramento couple sentenced in 5-year-old's torture killing

SACRAMENTO, CA - A Sacramento mother and her boyfriend convicted of murdering her 5-year-old son were given long prison sentences Friday.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny sentenced Eduardo Zamora Jr., 32, to 23 years to life in prison and a second life term in the first-degree murder and torture of Braeden James Gardner in June 2009.

Amber Ingram, 26, convicted of second-degree murder, received a 15 years to life sentence for child endangerment for leaving her son with Zamora while she went to work.

According to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Zamora called 911 on June 17, 2009, from the couple's home to report the boy had stopped breathing. Paramedics took the child to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Hospital officials said the boy had extensive bruising and injuries indicating he had been abused.