-- is now co-sponsoring (Senate bill) S.3019 aka "Help Find The Missing Act" & "Billy's Law" at the request of LBTH (Let's Bring Them Home)

It will reflect here soon --

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d111:2:./temp/~bdJCYU:@@@N|...

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-3019

--
Todd

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Comment by Shannon Vita on March 8, 2010 at 1:16am
Ladonna is the bomb if i do say so myself lol and Chris has been working wonders for Arkansas and getting all the cases into Namus as fast as he can . such a great bunch of people coming together to make it all work .Big changes are ahead, I can see it coming...
Comment by Larrry/Peace4 Admin on March 7, 2010 at 7:37pm
Bipartisan In the Senate that's a beautiful thing.
Comment by Sara Huizenga on March 7, 2010 at 7:29pm
Let’s Bring Them Home
http://www.lbth.org/
Comment by Todd Matthews on March 7, 2010 at 7:04pm
Finding the missing goal of ‘Billy’s Law’
Bill would aid agency data-sharing
By C.S. Murphy

Sunday, March 7, 2010

When Richard Lee Heisel left Lubbock, Texas, on a bus in June 1996, his family and friends didn’t know his plans.

His family reported him missing when he didn't come home after a few days.
There was no reason to suspect that the 46-year-old would make his way to
Van Buren, Ark.

So in July 2000 when a crew clearing brush behind a hotel on North Sixth
Street discovered a human skull, no logical roads led to Lubbock.

Supporters of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs)
want to connect those roads. They hope that legislation now pending in Congress
will give NamUs the financial support and authority necessary.

The legislation, named the Help Find the Missing Act, is sponsored by U.S.
Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat
of Arkansas. It would formalize a reporting process between law enforcement
and medical examiners by pouring data from the FBI?s formidable National
Crime Information Center (NCIC) into the fledgling NamUs system. Matching
data from the two systems is expected to identify numerous people who have
been missing for years.

The bill passed the House and was introduced in the Senate late last month.
If NamUs was functioning as intended, investigators believe, Heisel?s family
would have been spared years of worrying and wondering.

The U.S. Department of Justice created NamUs in 2007. The system, which can
be used by police and civilians, uses extensive and detailed twin databases
to match cases of missing people with unidentified remains.

Ideally, each entry should include detailed information about missing people,
including their dental X-rays, and about unidentified remains, such as where
the remains were found and even DNA extracted from them.

Van Buren Police investigator Lt. Steve Weaver spent years chasing leads
in his search for the identity of the remains found behind the hotel in 2000.
More than once, Weaver sent information on possible missing-person matches
to the state Crime Laboratory in Little Rock, where the remains were stored.

Enter Chris Edwards, coordinator of unidentified remains at the state lab.

Edwards has spent more than a year creating an inventory of the state morgue's
104 sets of remains. Key to that task is entering details of each case into
NamUs.

NamUs now holds information on 2,856 missing people and 6,241 unidentified
remains, but doesn't include thousands of FBI records, nor an untold number
of cases from across the country.

Many states also haven't entered their data into NamUs, or if they have,
the information is incomplete. Arkansas, for example, has more than 600 missing
people listed with the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC), but only
21 are entered into NamUs.

Compounding the problem, many states don?t require authorities to enter missing
adults into NCIC. In states such as Arkansas, police often don't comply with
state laws requiring them to enter information about missing adults in databases
such as ACIC.

So it was no surprise to Edwards when he wasn't able to quickly discover
the identity of the Van Buren remains when he entered information into NamUs.
He knew several more pieces of the puzzle were missing.

In this case, it would take connecting the lab, Van Buren police, the Lubbock
Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Both Edwards and Weaver had pored over reports from neighboring states, looking
for 35- to 50-year-old white males who disappeared 10 or more years earlier,
information provided by an anthropologist at the University of Arkansas who
had examined the remains.

At the same time, law enforcement agencies across the country were able to
access information about the Van Buren remains through NamUs.

Eventually, Edwards came upon Heisel?s story and began to suspect the skull
belonged to him.

Edwards worked with Lubbock officials to obtain DNA samples from Heisel's
children to compare with DNA of the remains, which confirmed that the skull
was Heisel's.

Weaver believed from the beginning that the unidentified person killed himself
because a rope was found nearby, indicating that he hanged himself.
"Now we know he was having a lot of struggles financially and with his wife,"
Weaver said.
. . .
The proposed legislation would require the FBI to share information, excluding
sensitive and confidential data, from its national crime-information database
with NamUs, which allows the public access to its databases. It also would
authorize $50 million in grants over five years to encourage state and local
officials to share information on missing people and unidentified remains.

The legislation?s nickname, "Billy?s Law," recognizes Billy Smolinski of
Waterbury, Conn., who disappeared on Aug. 24, 2004, at the age of 31.
Pryor, who was Arkansas? attorney general when the Morgan Nick Alert system
launched, said Thursday that Billy's Law is "near and dear" to his heart.

"The National Center for Missing Adults and Let's Bring Them Home, headquartered
in Bentonville, do an extraordinary job coordinating missing-persons services,
but I know this legislation could produce even more success stories," he
said in a statement.

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln said she?s still studying the bill, but added
in a statement: "As a mother of young boys and as a co-founder and chair
of the Senate Missing and Exploited Children?s Caucus, I remain committed
to ensuring further progress is made in providing law enforcement agencies
with the tools and resources they need to protect all Americans, especially
children."

Rose Sacchetti, a regional administrator for the National Forensic Science
Technology Center in Florida, said she's been working with officials at ACIC
to get more information about Arkansas' cases onto NamUs. The Florida center
manages and operates NamUs for the National Institute of Justice.

Every state manages its data differently, Sacchetti said, which is a big
part of a systemic problem in identifying remains when a person disappears
from one state and is found dead in another.

ACIC officials have been eager to work with NamUs, Sacchetti said, so she
believes it?s only a matter of time before Arkansas' missing-person cases
are loaded into the NamUs system.

"We're working on a data exchange now," she said. "They've been very much
cooperative."

In many states, the primary barrier to participating in NamUs is a lack of
funding for the technology and personnel required.

"I think Billy's Law is going to help law enforcement use the system to its
full advantage," Sacchetti said.
Comment by Todd Matthews on March 7, 2010 at 6:40pm
LBTH have fully endorsed NamUs and vow to help in any way possible - inlcuding routing new cases they intake also into NamUs.

LaDonna has been copying me on several ongoing conversations with families and officials as things continue to move in a positive direction.
Comment by Todd Matthews on March 7, 2010 at 5:26pm
Love to get a Republican on board to demo the bipartisan nature of things.
Comment by Findmywayhome on March 7, 2010 at 5:24pm
Awesome!
Comment by Larrry/Peace4 Admin on March 7, 2010 at 4:15pm
very cool thank you LBTH
.
Comment by Sara Huizenga on March 7, 2010 at 4:08pm
Awesome ... Nice Work, LBTH!!!
Comment by Maureen Reintjes-Peace4 Admin on March 7, 2010 at 2:45pm
YES!!!! Love this kind of news! Thank you LBTH!

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