HARRISBURG – The loved ones of Pennsylvania’s more than 400 missing persons now have at their disposal a tool that is described as vital for keeping memories alive, thanks to legislation co-authored by state Reps. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder) and Dave Millard (R-Columbia) that has been signed into law.
“The toll on a missing person’s family and loved ones is unimaginable,” said Culver. “The terror they feel at hearing the news is horrific…always wondering how and where it happened, as well as where are they now haunts them. I’m so happy to see House Bill 930
signed into law (as Act 4 of 2022
), especially for the families who came forward and generously shared their stories with us, which I know could not have been easy for them.”
Act 4 now requires the Pennsylvania State Police to turnover DNA samples of missing persons and unidentified decedents to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS), a nationwide clearinghouse that went online in 2008. NAMUS has expanded in subsequent years by linking with other national databases and collaborated with the FBI in 2012 to add a fingerprint unit to its search capability.
“It’s been my pleasure to work with Representative Culver on this legislation from start to finish,” Millard said. “NAMUS offers a unique feature that allows family members of missing persons to access the database and play an active role in the search for their loved one at no financial cost, as they look for closure in these cases which may have gone cold.”
“Before we began to research the bill, I had never heard of NAMUS and didn’t understand how or why it worked,” added Culver. “We were quickly contacted by families across the state concerning the importance of this database in locating missing persons.”
“Every week in communities across the Commonwealth, we hear an Amber Alert or see a headline that indicates an elderly person with dementia, or a high school student thought to be studying at a friend’s house, is missing,” said Millard. “While many of these cases get resolved quickly, there are far too many that do not. We hope Act 4 will be of help.”
Representative Lynda Culver
108th Legislative District
Representative David Millard
109th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little