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October XX, 2009
TO: Congressmen XXXX
FROM: Name – Address – City/St/zip
RE: H.R. 3695, The Help Find the Missing Act (Billy's Law)
Dear Congressmen XXXXX:
Thank you, in advance for reviewing my letter and the information below. As a Representative of our district, I am hoping that you will support H.R. 3695. This is very important to me and as a member of our community I believe this is important to all, and hopefully to you as well.
It is no longer a rare occasion in which one may become a missing statistic, rather it happens more often than we would like. The growing number of citizens with Alzheimer's and other cognitive disabilities also has shown a tremendous increase in missing loved ones, which also includes those with other cognitive disorders such as autism.
Your support, and those of your colleagues, are desperately needed. We feel if we do not gain support the bill will just die off. This bill is very necessary. We only want to have the gaps closed that will enable families of missing to have one source to be able to search for their loved ones.
Some recent published examples are:
* 200 unidentified bodies,in Florida, right now from 60's and 70's lying in wait in county morgues, unidentified. Orlando Sentinel
* In Los Angeles, there are 4815 unclaimed.
Los Angeles County Department of Coroner
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.
Please review the below and help by supporting H.R. 3695
Filling in the Gaps of the Nation’s Missing Persons Systems
Endorsed By: Connecticut Department of Public Safety, National Forensic Science Technology Center, National Center for Forensic Science, Doe Missing Persons Network, Center for Hope, Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, Inc.
Sponsored by Representatives Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Ted Poe (R-TX)
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.
In closing, I thank you again for your review and hopeful support. Should you have any questions or needs, I am sure that Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Ted Poe (R-TX) would be honored to respond to your inquiries.
Peace4 the Missing