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The Texas Department of Public Safety apologized for an Amber Alert that claimed that Chucky, a murderous doll from a 1980's horror movie, had abducted his (doll) son.
Texas residents were told last week to be on the lookout for an abducted child named Glen. The suspect: his father, Chucky, a 28-year-old described as being just over 3 feet tall, weighing 16 pounds, wearing overalls and "wielding a huge kitchen knife."
His race? "Other: Doll."
The Amber Alert, distributed by email, contained two photos. One was of Chucky, the murderous doll protagonist from "Child's Play", a 1988 horror movie that spawned a series of sequels. The second showed Glen Ray, Chucky's son (also a doll), who made his debut in the 2004 film "Seed of Chucky" and is described on Horror Film Wiki as a "good and meek" soul.
The alert was sent three times on Friday to some subscribers of the Texas alerts system, a mishap the Texas Department of Public Safety said was the "result of a test malfunction."
"We apologize for the confusion this may have caused and are diligently working to ensure this does not happen again," Ericka Miller, the agency's press secretary, said in an email.
According to its website, the Texas Department of Public Safety administers various types of missing person alerts with the goal of "rapidly notifying the public of specific missing person cases" and "promoting tips and leads to law enforcement." Advisories, it notes, can be issued "within any Texas geographical area, including statewide."
Miller did not respond to questions about how and why the alert was distributed, how many people received it, or whether any employees were being disciplined as a result.
According to the alert, Chucky and Glen had last been spotted in Henderson, Texas. "PLEASE FIND THEM," Don Mancini, a screenwriter who created the characters, urged on Twitter.
"Chucky doesn't have custody!" added a Twitter account purporting to belong to Tiffany, Chucky's estranged wife (also a doll).
Chucky himself has not commented. A verified Twitter account for the doll has not tweeted since Jan. 1, when it announced that two Chucky movies—including "Seed of Chucky," featuring Glen's birth—had debuted on NBC's streaming service Peacock.
"Wanna play?" the tweet began.
Mistakes in large-scale alert notifications are relatively rare but usually garner national attention. The most notable in recent years was a January 2018 incident in which officials in Hawaii mistakenly sent an alert instructing residents to take cover and prepare for an incoming ballistic missile strike.
"THIS IS NOT A DRILL," the alert said.
Federal officials determined later that the alert was sent in error after an employee mistook a drill for an actual emergency. It was the third time that employee had confused testing instructions with actual events, according to a state report on the incident. The employee was fired and the administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency resigned.
Kate Elizabeth Queram is a staff correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.