Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Help Find The Missing Act: Needs Our Attention

Have you heard about H.R. 3695, the "Help Find the Missing Act (Billy's Law)," introduced by Representatives Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Ted Poe(R-TX)? An amazing woman, mother, advocate for missing and unsolved murders, Janice Smolinski is the creator of this ground breaking legislation. Her son Billy has been missing since 2004.

This legislation will aid in filling the gaps in the nation's missing persons system and would help bring closure to the loved ones of the missing. It is no longer a rare occasion in which one may become a missing statistic. Every year tens of thousands of Americans go missing, never to be seen by their loved ones again. Additionally, there are also an estimated 40,000 sets of unidentified human remains that are being held or disposed of across the country. Sadly, because of gaps in the nation's missing persons systems, missing persons and unidentified remains are rarely matched. The Help Find the Missing Act (Billy's Law) is an effort to fix these gaps. We want to help families to have the resources so that we can lessen the burden on the system as well as bringing loved ones home for a proper burial.

Your help is important in the passage of this law. Please consider passing it around in your communities, at your place of worship, on grocery bulletin boards, doctors office, at your place of work, commuter train stations, blogs, facebook, websites and where you think someone will read and take action by signing the petition and creating a national movement for change.

We want to have the gaps closed that will enable families of missing to have one source to be able to search for their missing loved ones. Presently, there are no federal mandates in place to have one system in place. This complicates searches when the Government has a database and the FBI has a separate database. This leaves many cracks that those missing, or unidentified, can fall through.

Presently, there are many missing that may be left unattended in a morgue, unidentified. Fact is, 200 unidentified bodies are in Florida, right now from the 60's and 70's.
In Los Angeles, there are 4815 unclaimed. We want to help families to have the resources so that we can lessen the burden on the system as well as bringing loved ones home for a proper burial.
H.R. 3695 is a bill in which we are striving towards federal legislation, not state-to-state.
Please review the below and help by supporting H.R. 3695

This legislation is named after Billy Smolinski of Waterbury, Connecticut who went missing on August 24, 2004 at the age of 31. Billy's family knows all-too-well the systemic challenges in trying to find the missing. They quickly learned that while federal law mandates law enforcement report missing children, there are no such requirements for adults – or unidentified bodies. Compounding this problem is the fact that local law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, and coroners, often don't have the resources or training to voluntarily report these cases. Finally, even when missing adults and remains are reported, the wide-range of unconnected federal, state, local, and non-profit databases to help match the missing with unidentified bodies, makes finding a match an often insurmountable challenge.

Billy's Law builds upon recent efforts to address these issues by:
Authorizing, and therefore helping to ensure funding for, the National Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), which was created in July 2007 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide a missing persons/unidentified database that the public could access and contribute;
Connecting NamUs with the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in order to create more comprehensive missing persons and unidentified remains databases and streamlining the reporting process for local law enforcement;
Creating an incentive grants program to help states, local law enforcement and medical examiners/coroners report missing persons and unidentified remains to NCIC, NamUs, and the National DNA Index System (NDIS);
Calling on the DOJ to issue guidelines and best practices on handling missing persons and unidentified remains cases in order to empower law enforcement, medical examiners and coroners to help find the missing.

Should you have any questions or needs, please contact Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT) or Ted Poe (R-TX).
Please click here to see the PDF of this very important bill. Afterwards, click here to sign and support this bill.

Endorsed By: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Fraternal Order of Police, National Associations of Police Organizations (NAPO), Connecticut Department of Public Safety, National Forensic Science Technology Center, National Center for Forensic Science, Destiny Search Services, Doe Missing Persons Network, Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, Inc., Peace4TheMissing, Please Help Find The Missing Group, Project EDAN, LostNMissing Inc., Center for Hope David Lohr.

The legislation is Sponsored by Representatives Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Ted Poe (R-TX)
Current Cosponsors: Walt Minnick (ID-I), Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
We are appreciative of the endorsement for H.R. 3695 from the National Associations of Police Organizations. (NAPO). Please click here to read their endorsement letter.

1 comment:

Slamdunk said...

Informative post--thanks.

I receieved notice from the Department of Justice last month that NAMUS was ready for citizen browsing and I like the effort that the federal government has put forward to help those missing.

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