Legislation For Families of Missing Persons

Sep 23, 2013

Cold cases are frustrating to police and to family members whose loved ones disappear. Jan and William Smolinski of Cheshire have been looking for their son, Billy, for nine years. He disappeared in 2004.

Speaking on WNPRs Where We Live, Jan Smolinski says while there are missing person cases that do not involve a homicide, they suspected foul play when he disappeared. She says the night he went missing, her son called another man who was dating Billy's girlfriend. 

"The truck was parked in the wrong place in the driveway. There were many red flags," said Smolinski about the first signs that something was wrong with her son. "Days went by and a lot of forensics were destroyed. The first 24, 48, 72 hours are the most important when a person goes missing, and that's really what police need to take notice of."

Smolinski says police initially thought her son had just left for a few days and would come home. But he never did. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy says he worked with the Smolinskis to draft legislation called Billy's Law to help other families in their situation. 

"It provides money to local law enforcement to help train them on the ways in which they should deal with missing persons cases," said Murphy. "But more importantly, it requires these two databases that have all this information about missing persons and unidentified remains at the federal level to be linked. And often, there's information on one that's not in the other database."

There's a website that tracks many Connecticut missing person cases called CTColdCases.com. Its creator, Terry Sutton, says family members often add information about their loves ones who have disappeared.