Monday, April 25, 2011

RIT Friends of George DeLany Successfully Lobby Senator Schumer's Support of Billy's Law

We at Peace4 the Missing along with the family of Billy Smolinski extend our deeply heartfelt gratitude towards George Delaney, whose life has propelled so many others to pick up this cause and successfully encourage Senator Schumer to support Billy's Law.  We are so very humbled and moved by all of you.

Schumer Announces Support For "Billy's Law"

By WKBW News, April 25, 2011 Updated Apr 25, 2011 at 2:57 PM EDT  

Schumer Announces Support For "Billy's Law"

WASHINGTON, DC (release) Monday, United States Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his support for legislation called "Billy's Law," also known as Help Find the Missing Act, to close loopholes in our national missing persons systems.

Schumer has sponsored this legislation in the past, and his co-sponsorship this Congress comes in the wake of the recent death of George Delaney, a Rochester Institute of Technology student. When George Delany went missing on March 12th, RIT faculty and students joined with law enforcement and the community to search for him.

This week they wrote to Senator Schumer in support of Billy’s Law, after experiencing firsthand the gaps in our national missing person response system. Schumer states that the enactment of Billy’s Law will provide law enforcement officials with the tools and resources it needs to better conduct the search for missing adults.

“George Delany’s death is a tragedy for Rochester and all of New York,” said Schumer. “And, what is even more difficult to believe are the loopholes in our national missing persons system. Just as we provide law enforcement with tools like the Amber alert and access to missing person databases when children are missing, we should not tolerate delays and lapses in information when people over the age of 18, like George Delany, are missing. Billy’s Law would provide the critical tools and alerts to law enforcement officials that are essential in the search of missing adults. What’s more, Billy’s Law seeks to bring our national missing persons databases into the 21st century, creating a central resource for officials and families that are so desperately trying to locate their loved ones.”

Students Finding George DeLany

RIT professor Paloma Capanna, along with a dozen RIT students who were personally involved in the search for George wrote to Senator Schumer in support of this legislation stating, “Our support for this [legislation] comes from our personal experience with our classmate and friend, George Delany. At least two college students go missing every week. And, nationwide, more than 20,000 persons are reported missing each year. The federal government should intervene to ensure that any barriers to participation in and access to all available databases are eliminated, including supplements for any fees that may be prohibitive within county budgets.”

Billy’s Law would authorize 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 to. The law would connect 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. Billy’s Law would expand current law by requiring missing children be reported to NamUs in addition to NCIC, and would create a grant program to help states, local law enforcement and medical examiners report missing persons and unidentified remains to NCIC, NamUs, and the National DNA Index System (NDIS). And, finally Billy’s Law requires the DOJ 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.

Billy’s Law is named after Billy Smolinski of Waterbury, Connecticut who went missing on August 24, 2004 at the age of 31. Billy’s family 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.

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Who is Billy?

To find out more about how and Billy's Law greatly benefits families of the missing please go to the following link ...

Peace4 the Missing
A voice platform and support network for those with missing loved ones and victims of crime
http://peace4missing.ning. com/
Peace4's Facebook Page ges/Peace4-the-Missing/114 101641947

RIT Honors George DeLany By Lobbying For Billy's Law

Adjunct R.I.T. faculty member Paloma Capanna reads a letter from the DeLany family at the memorial service for George DeLany Tuesday.
By Andrew Poole
Posted Apr 20, 2011 @ 01:59 PM
“We will find you — don’t lose hope.” 
“I personally don’t know you, but please come back soon.” 

“Strangers are praying — come home.”

Those pleas are just three of hundreds written on a banner for George DeLany, the previously missing Rochester Institute of Technology student whose remains were discovered Sunday night in a shallow indentation near the Wayland-Cohocton town line.

DeLany was last seen March 12, the day before his car was found in the Town of Wayland. State police in vain led massive search efforts, but it was a landowner who found DeLany in a previously unsearched area, two-to-three miles from the missing student’s vehicle.

Tuesday evening a crowd of approximately 75 gathered at the Schmitt Interfaith Center for a memorial service on the R.I.T. campus to remember their friend, classmate, and student.

“For those of you that knew George, I’m awfully sorry for your loss. For those of you that didn’t know George, I’m sorry for your loss, that you didn’t have a chance to get to know him,” said Mary-Beth Cooper, senior vice president for Student Affairs at R.I.T.

Adjunct faculty member Paloma Capanna, who was active in the “Students Finding George DeLany” organization publicizing his disappearance, read a letter from the DeLany family. The family wasn’t in attendance.

The letter summed up DeLany as a “nice person” who wanted to be known as a “tough guy,” despite it being against his nature.

“We are all a bit shy, and George inherited that trait,” said the letter. “That was tough to deal with as he grew older. Once he became involved with people, he could open up, and show the young man we loved so much.”

Much of the conversation at the memorial service centered on the community that developed during DeLany’s disappearance.

“Over the past month, our group (Students Finding George DeLany), with everyone here and in the community, has experienced something special, and that’s because of George,” said R.I.T. student James Brigden. “Not only has he built a sense of community that people work forever to try to build, he’s built it strong ... People work a lifetime to try to build a sense of community, and George did it in a very small amount of time.”

R.I.T. President Bill Destler, speaking before Brigden, also emphasized the community that had developed, and needed to continue.

“I hope all of us will dedicate ourselves to that basic idea, that we are all a family. Those of us that need help, need to know that we can help them,” said Destler. “We don’t know, we may never know, exactly what happened to George. But I think we do know that we have a responsibility to try to minimize these kinds of tragedies.

“If I’m proud of anything, I’m proud of the fact that this community kept its vigil going, both in person here on campus and on social networks ... I’m proud we didn’t give up hope until the very last.”

The discovery of DeLany’s remains would seem to bring closure, but Capanna and Brigden said they wouldn’t step back from the incident that has enveloped them in the past month. Capanna said she and the students will lobby to get Billy’s Law, legislation previously rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee, back to the Senate.

The law would create stronger sharing of information between missing persons databases and provide grants to municipalities and states to share information, according to an article from the Los Angeles Times.

Some of the details of the case — such as why DeLany was in Wayland, or the official cause of death — aren’t known. To Brigden, whatever details still unknown are irrelevant.

“We’re at the point where we have an answer for George’s family. The details we don’t know, and there aren’t many, aren’t as important to the students,” he said.

Others, though, such as sophomore D.J. Abele, are still curious as to what happened to their classmate.

“I’m torn. Part of me wants to know what happened. I don’t want more horrible news. I don’t,” he said.