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Fact Sheet About Missing Person Legislation and Resources

Read an outline of Chelsea's Law by Nathan Fletcher, Assemblyman for the 75th District of the California State Assembly and three additional bills sponsored by Moe DuBois, the father of Amber DuBois, as drafted by Pedro Nava and Paul Cook of the California Legislature.

Chelsea King Child Predator Prevention Act of 2010: "Chelsea's Law"

Background

Chelsea King was a 17-year old Poway High School student who will always be remembered by her community for her compassionate heart and positive spirit. Whether she was helping plan a prom for developmentally disabled youth, packing relief boxes for those in need in Africa or serving as a peer counselor at her school, there was very little Chelsea wouldn’t do to be helpful and kind to others.

On Thursday February 25th 2010, Chelsea disappeared after going for a run in a Rancho Bernardo Park. Law enforcement and thousands of volunteers searched for days, until they finally found her by Lake Hodges in San Diego. She was the victim of a terrible crime. A man who was convicted of violently molesting a 13 year old in 2000, but was freed after only 5 years in prison, has now pled guilty to the rape and murder of Chelsea King as well as that of Amber Dubois, a 14 year old who went missing a year previously.

Specifics

Chelsea’s Law includes the following:

  1. A new one-strike life without parole penalty for those sexual predators who commit the most heinous violent sex crimes against a child, as well as increases in other penalties for sex crimes committed against minors by use of force, violence, duress, menace, and fear.
  2. Various increases in parole periods with active GPS monitoring for those convicted of felony sex crimes involving physical contact with children, as well as a new prohibition against loitering in parks where children congregate for parolees convicted of most sex offenses against children.
  3. Implementation of the “containment model” approach to sex offender management proposed by California’s Sex Offender Management Board, including increased oversight, psychological evaluations, and polygraph testing for all sex offenders on parole or probation.
  4. Implementation of a Dynamic Risk assessment model to improve evaluation of sex offender’s potential for new sexual violence.
  5. Authorization for various upgrades to the Megan’s Law website so as to include more useful and informative data to law enforcement and the public on the actual risk of sex offenders in our communities.
  6. Funding for victim’s services and outreach, as well as resource-development for SAFE (Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement) teams in rural, regional areas.
  7. Changes in the state MDO (Mentally Disordered Offender) evaluation process to ensure that offenders deemed by at least two psychologists to be too dangerous to be released are properly detained.

Violent sexual predators that go after children are a uniquely dangerous problem, a problem that requires a comprehensive solution. Chelsea’s Law ensures that the state does everything it can to keep those convicted of sex crimes of this nature from engaging in even more atrocious crimes upon release, and that those who commit the worst violent sexual crimes against children are put away for life.

Impact of Chelsea's Law

Chelsea's Light Foundation prepares an annual report to examine the number and nature of sex crimes against children being prosecuted as a result of Chelsea's law. In 2014, a total of 286 defendants were charged under the various aspects of Chelsea's Law from five counties in Southern California. According to the chief of the sex crimes division of the San Diego District Attorney's office, the law has resulted in substantially greater sentences for offenders.

For more information about missing persons, please visit:

U.S. Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/actioncenter/missing-person.html

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: http://www.ncmec.org

Klaas Kids Foundation: http://www.klaaskids.org/

Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children: http://www.lrcf.org/

Chelsea King webiste: http://www.chelseaslight.org/

Amber DuBois website: http://www.amberleeannedubois.com/

Missing Persons Coordination Act

Every year an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 105,000 in California alone. This equates to more than 2,000 children each day. A large proportion of those are abducted by non-family members under suspicious or unknown circumstances. A number of high-profile missing children cases within the last decade have brought to light the need to bring California’s laws and processes for missing person response and recovery in the 21st century.

General Facts

To date, 495 children have been recovered nationwide because of the AMBER Alert system, according to the Office of Justice Programs.

In 2009 in California, 105,171 children were reported missing, according to the DOJ. Of that number:

100,043 were determined to be runaways

268 were reported “lost"

45 were abducted by strangers

1,210 went missing at the hands of a family member

349 were abducted under suspicious circumstances

3,244 went missing under unknown circumstances

Existing California Resources

Child Abduction Response Teams (CARTs)are beginning to take shape nationwide to respond quickly to incidents of abducted children.

CARTs consist of law enforcement investigators, policy makers, search and rescue professionals, crime intelligence analysts, and other inter-agency resources.

Teams exist in California within the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.

California’s AMBER Alert system was established on July 24, 2003 (AB 415, Runner, 2002).

  • The criteria necessary for the activation of an AMBER Alert in California is very specific. In fact, only .04% of all missing children qualify for an AMBER Alert. Criteria include the following and must all be met:
  1. Local law enforcement belief that an abduction occurred;
  2. Child must be 17 years of age or younger;
  3. Child must be at risk of serious bodily harm or death;
  4. Sufficient descriptive information about the child and/or abductor must exist to disseminate to the public.

For more information about missing persons, please visit:

U.S. Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/actioncenter/missing-person.html

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: http://www.ncmec.org

Klaas Kids Foundation: http://www.klaaskids.org/

Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children: http://www.lrcf.org/

Peace Officer Missing Child Standards Act

Maurice “Moe” Dubois and Rebecca Smith formed the More Kids organization following the tragic abduction, assault, and murder of Moe’s 14-year-old daughter, Amber Dubois, at the hands of a known sex offender. In the months following Amber’s abduction, it became apparent that not all law enforcement agencies had standard procedures in place to handle cases of missing children, particularly procedures for the first several hours after the report of a missing child. Moreover, while there were many resources available to aid the search for a missing child, knowledge of these resources was severely lacking. There is a need for legislation to help connect and maximize resources and to ensure law enforcement agencies have proper policies and procedures in place, so that we prevent future tragedies from occurring.

Existing Law

Currently, there is no requirement that California law enforcement agencies have policies in place and use specific documentation methods when handling cases of missing children.

The California Attorney General must establish and maintain within the Violent Crime Information Center (VCIC) an investigative support unit to assist in the identification and the apprehension of persons responsible for specific violent crimes and for the disappearance and exploitation of persons, particularly children and dependent adults.

Additionally, the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) must develop and implement training for peace officers relative to certain areas of criminal law or procedure, such as missing children.

This Bill

AB 33 (Nava & Cook) requires the following:

The California Department of Justice (DOJ) must distribute POST’s “Guidelines For Handling Missing Persons Investigations” via a DOJ bulletin and through the California Law Enforcement Website. POST shall update their Guidelines For Handling Missing Persons Investigations. goLaw enforcement agencies must establish guidelines on missing persons investigations, adopt a standard checklist document for missing person investigations, and utilize a missing person reporting form (by January 1, 2012). The DOJ, through the VCIC, shall create a list of possible suspects and provide that list to law enforcement, in the event of a suspected stranger abduction of a child.

Missing Child Notification Protection Act

Existing Law

In 1983, federal law was amended to require law enforcement agencies to notify the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) of missing children within 4 hours of a report being filed.

House Resolution 4472, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act,signed into law in 2006 by President George W. Bush, provided additional missing children funds to states that implemented a number of new mandates – one of which was an updated, 2 hour NCIC notification time frame.

To date, only Ohio has complied with the Act due to complexities in meeting mandates.

In 2008, Florida separately acted, as part of the Jennifer Kesse and Tiffany Sessions Missing Person Act to require a 2 hour NCIC notification time frame for state law enforcement agencies.

In 2007, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) was established by the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush’s DNA Initiative.

For more information about missing persons, please visit:

U.S. Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/actioncenter/missing-person.html

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: http://www.ncmec.org

Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website

First established in 2005 as the National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR), NSOPW was renamed by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 in honor of 22-year-old college student Dru Sjodin of Grand Forks, North Dakota, a young woman who was kidnapped and murdered by a sex offender who was registered in Minnesota.

NSOPW is the only U.S. government Website that links public state, territorial, and tribal sex offender registries from one national search site. Parents, employers, and other concerned residents can utilize the Website’s search tool to identify location information on sex offenders residing, working, and attending school not only in their own neighborhoods but in other nearby states and communities. In addition, the Website provides visitors with information about sexual abuse and how to protect themselves and loved ones from potential victimization.

For more, please visit:

NSOPW Website: www.nsopw.gov/en