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.
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.