Wrong photo in Amber Alert raises questions for system already under scrutiny for past errors

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is answering questions Wednesday evening after a morning Amber Alert caused new concern about the state’s system.

Fortunately in the end, the two brothers were found safe, but there was a lot of confusion before the were found.

FOX 4’s Shannon O’Brien has been working to get answers about how the mix-up happened.

An Amber Alert could be the difference between life and death. Every second counts.

This latest mix-up comes just 6 months after Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt ordered the KBI to do a full review of the Amber Alert system because of prior failures.

Wednesday morning around 5 a.m., the KBI sent out an Amber Alert with photos, one of which FOX 4 has now blurred because we now know it was the wrong child.

The KBI got the photos from the Ellis County Sheriff's Department. They were supposed to show 1-year-old Caden McDowell and his brother 3-year-old Mason. Police said their dad took the children after attacking their mother.

After FOX 4 aired the photos, the KBI contacted FOX 4, saying the picture of Caden was not him, and they would send another.

Just after 7 a.m., two hours after the initial Amber Alert, we received the new and correct photos of Caden and Mason McDowell.

A KBI spokesperson blamed the delay on an email server malfunction within the agency.

In December a Wichita mother and her three children were kidnapped at gunpoint, and because of an error within the KBI, wireless alerts that appear on cell phones were never sent out.

That is what prompted the Amber Alert review.

Because of an all-day meeting, no one with the KBI could talk with us on camera today.

After our story aired, KBI Communications Director Melissa Underwood emailed a statement to FOX 4.

"During alerts we must rely on local law enforcement to provide us facts, victim and suspect date of births and photos etc. relevant to the abduction incident. For the alert to be impactful all involved must work very quickly to get information sent to AMBER alert partners, the media and the public," Underwood said.