WEST PALM BEACH — It has been nearly 30 years since 5-year-old Amanda Dougherty disappeared from her North Lauderdale bedroom in 1994. Two days later, her body was found in a canal in West Boca.
To this day, Dougherty’s murder remains unsolved, but Attorney General Ashley Moody is hoping that getting the word out about a statewide anonymous tip line could help crack that case and others like it that span multiple jurisdictions.
“We ask the public to help us to solve that crime,” Moody said at a news conference at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office training facility Wednesday. “If you have information related to that crime, please call ** TIPS. Even if you don’t think the information you have is significant, please let us make that determination.”
Moody joined John Walsh, the former host of America’s Most Wanted, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, and Frank Brunner, executive director of the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, to ask Floridians to help them solve unsolved crimes and report potential crimes, like shootings, before they happen using the tip line.
“In today’s atmosphere when we have mass shootings, workplace violence, school shootings, there’s always a piece of information out there that could’ve helped us prevent, and I use that word prevent, the thing from happening,” Bradshaw said.
Moody started **TIPS with the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers in 2020, hoping it would make it easier for citizens to report crimes with the promise of anonymity and reward money. The organization also launched an app, P3 Tips, where people can report crimes.
Walsh, a longtime friend of Bradshaw’s, started America’s Most Wanted after his 6-year-old son, Adam, was abducted from the Hollywood Mall in 1981, his severed head found two weeks later in a canal in Indian River County. Serial killer Ottis Toole later confessed to the murder.
The U.S has more mass murderers than any first-world country, Walsh said, and is the number one leader of first-world countries in child sex trafficking.
He hopes to help make Florida’s Crime Stoppers tip line the “model” for the rest of the country.
Each of Florida’s 27 Crime Stoppers offices has its own local number. But calls to **TIPS will automatically be routed to the Crime Stoppers office in the area they originated from, circumventing the need to know that number.
“You don’t have to call individual Crime Stoppers numbers,” Walsh said. “You can go **TIPS or you can go to our app and get all the information you want. Now, our job is to let everybody in Florida know what that number is.”