Proposed law gives hope to those searching for lost loved ones - WNEM TV 5

Proposed law gives hope to those searching for lost loved ones

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There are currently more than 4,000 people reported missing in our state according to Michigan State Police, but only 500 are entered into NamUs.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, often referred to as NamUs, is an online database used to help find them.

It's run by the US Department of Justice but it’s not mandatory that law enforcement agencies use it. That’s changing soon here in Michigan.

TV5 spoke with the woman who introduced the bill and another whose son went missing from Saginaw seven years ago this month.

“What I’m hoping now is to have some answered prayers that we’re going to find out what happened to my child,” said Jo Anne Franks.

TV5 spoke with Jo Anne back in 2014 when she came to Saginaw to visit where her son, but went missing.

Eric Franks still hasn’t been found, but thanks to a huge push in Michigan state legislature a mother might be just one step closer to finding answers.

“There’s no better feeling to give than those types of answers so they can stop their search so it’s a really gratifying unit to be a part of and I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done,” said Sgt. Sarah Krebs with the Missing Persons Unit of the Michigan State Police.

Sgt. Krebs helped introduce the “NamUs bill”, a bill that would require law enforcement in Michigan to use the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Online Data Base.

Its open to police, medical examiners, and even the general public.

While Jo Anne lives in Ohio, it gives her a huge peace of mind to have access to her son’s case in Michigan.

“That’s a good feeling to me to know that somebody is out there trying to identify my son when they find bodies as well as all the other missing people out there,” Jo Anne said.

There are more than 4,000 people reported missing in Michigan, but only 500 have been added to NamUs.

Now that it will be a requirement, Sgt. Krebs said it’s a turning point for missing person cases.

“This database is just a lot easier to use so it’s going to give law enforcement and the public I think kind of a heads up when you see how useful it is and the fact that pictures can be uploaded into the profiles which is something our current law enforcement database can not do,” Krebs said.

Last Friday, the Senate unanimously approved the NamUs bill.

Now it just awaits the Governor’s signature to be signed into law, something Jo Anne said would help families find closure nationwide.

“It should be mandatory in every state that if you find remains you take DNA and you submit it to NamUs to go into the data base it should be that way everywhere,” Jo Anne said.

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