Senate Passes Legislation to Aid in the Search for Missing Persons

(HARRISBURG) – The Pennsylvania Senate has approved House Bill 930, by a vote of 42 to 7. Under the proposal, Pennsylvania would become the 11th state for law enforcement to collect and submit DNA samples of missing persons or unidentified remains through a secure database, to the Pennsylvania State Police, and then to be shared with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS).  Senator Baker offered remarks on the Senate Floor, emphasizing the importance of this bill, and how it can help the families of missing persons.

“Like the sponsors of House Bill 930, there have been several families in my district over the years, who I have met with regarding their lost loved ones. The families of Shelva Rafte and Phylicia Thomas have become advocates for missing persons. Nearly seven years ago, two sisters of Shelva, Joanne Decker and Shirley Masters, took their pain and channeled it into helping others, through the creation of ‘Lead Me Home Today’, a non-profit organization.

“When a loved one vanishes, be it family, friend, co-worker, or neighbor, it creates an unimaginable void. The harsh reality is that 600,000 people go missing each year, and while most people return home, many tragically do not.

“Thanks to technological advances in the world of criminal justice and investigation, law enforcement and investigators are able to increase their success of finding fugitives, keeping tabs on wrongdoers, and shining new light on old crimes. The legislation that we are advancing will help to provide law enforcement with a secure and necessary tool, while also giving hope to the numerous families and friends who want and deserve answers.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Flessner (717) 787-7428 kflessner@pasen.gov