Monday, November 29, 2010

Billy Smolinski, the Missing Son who Inspired the Creation of Billy's Law

We at Peace4 the Missing are so proud to have Billy's Mom, Jan Smolinski as a part of this place ... and even more so forever grateful to Billy and his family for the creation of Billy's Law.

"Uncertainty is a cancer that crushes the spirit of loved ones left behind.  With this bill, we have an opportunity to make changes nationwide and gives families like mine hope for a better, more certain tomorrow," said (Jan) Smolinski.

Every year tens of thousands of Americans go missing, never to be seen by their loved ones again.  At the same time, there are also an estimated 40,000 sets of unidentified human remains that are being held or disposed of across the country, and no organized system to match cases and remains.  Billy's family has experienced many obstacles in searching for their missing son, including disconnected federal databases and a systematic reluctance to prioritize missing adult cases.

"Billy's Law," introduced by Murphy and Poe last year, empowers families and loved ones of the missing to find justice by helping to secure funding for the only federal missing persons and unidentified remains database that can be cross-searched, accessed and added to by the public - the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).  This database enables the loved ones of the missing to spend countless hours searching for a match and add invaluable information to the case profile that only they know.

The legislation helps to streamline the reporting process for law enforcement and medical examiners by connecting two major federal missing persons and unidentified remains databases- the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the NamUs.  Connecting these databases makes them more comprehensive and more likely to lead to a missing person or unidentified remains match.

Billy's Law also creates an incentive grants program to coroners, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to help facilitate the reporting of missing persons and unidentified remains to the federal databases. Grants can also be used for training programs on how to correctly use the databases and best handle these cases.

Billy's Law builds upon Connecticut's 2007 Law Enforcement and Missing Persons law as it also calls for the issuance of broad recommendations for standards and procedures for law enforcement to follow in dealing with missing persons and unidentified remains.

"The Smolinskis story is tragic, but this family's pursuit of justice, and desire to change the system for the better, is nothing less than heroic.  I thank Jan for her courage to fight the system and change it for others across the nation," said Murphy.