Missing persons bill signed into law

‘Molly’s Bill’ would label ‘high-risk’ missing cases

Indiana governor Mitch Daniels signed a bill into law in late April that would make it easier for a missing person to be found by classifying them as a “high-risk missing person.”

House Bill 1306, or “Molly’s Bill,” as it has been dubbed, is named after Molly Dattilo, who went missing July 2004 while attending summer classes at IU-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Her case remains unsolved. The Dattilo family has coped with the idea that Molly is no longer alive, Keri Dattilo, a cousin, said.

The bill would require state police to collect DNA evidence from people who are missing and from unidentified bodies.

Under the bill, there are 13 qualifications that would classify a person as a “high-risk missing person” case, such as “a person who is missing as the result of abduction by a stranger” or “a missing person who may be at risk due to abduction by a noncustodial parent.”

Keri Dattilo, who pushed for the missing person’s bill to be passed into law, said she believes her cousin’s legacy has helped create the momentum that culminated in Daniels’ signing of the bill into law on April 26.

It took six weeks for police to begin investigating Dattilo’s case when she was reported missing. By that time, there was little evidence to determine what happened to her.

“When someone goes missing, (who) do you turn to? You turn to law enforcement,” Keri Dattilo said. “You think law enforcement is going to do the job. And that is not always the case.”

House Enrolled Act No. 1306, or “Molly’s Bill,” will go into effect July 1, just five days short of the 3-year anniversary of Molly’s disappearance.

Keri Dattilo said she found a passage in Molly’s journal that summed up a lot of what this new law was meant to do, she said.

“It said, ‘I truly want to do something to better the world.’ With the Molly Dattilo Law,” Keri Dattilo said, “she has done just that.”

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