Report Title:

Missing Persons; Identification

 

Description:

Improves the capacity of law enforcement agencies to locate and return missing persons by adopting new procedures and by using technology and databases. Effective date of January 1, 2112. (SB1113 HD1)

 


THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1113

TWENTY-FOURTH LEGISLATURE, 2007

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

H.D. 1

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT


 

 

relating to missing persons.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 



SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the State needs to incorporate and adopt rapid advances in technology and national databases to share information statewide to solve missing persons crimes. This Act authorizes law enforcement agencies to use sophisticated technology and databases to solve missing persons and other cases. In addition, this Act protects our children and improves the State of Hawaii's existing procedures to locate missing persons.

The purpose of this Act is to improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to locate and return missing persons by establishing new procedures for missing persons cases.

SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Chapter

missing persons protection and identification

   ‑1 Definitions. As used in this chapter:

"Abduction" means a case in which a person is unwillingly removed from the person's environment without the person's permission or under circumstances that indicate that the person is in physical danger.

"At-risk missing person" means a person whose whereabouts are currently unknown and circumstances indicate that the person may be at risk of injury or death, including a person who has Alzheimer's disease, has suicidal ideations, has a mental illness, is elderly, or is disabled and on life-saving medications.

"Child" means a person under the age of eighteen years.

"DNA" means deoxyribonucleic acid.

"Familial relationship" means a relationship that establishes two individuals as members of a family.

"Family member" means:

(1) A person related by blood, legal custody, or marriage;

(2) A child who lives with an adult and for whom the adult permanently assumes and discharges parental responsibility; or

(3) A person with whom the individual shares or has shared, within the last year, a mutual residence.

"Help locate" means an investigation that is conducted when a reporting individual contacts a law enforcement agency to request assistance to find another person with whom there has not been contact.

"Law enforcement agency" means any county police department.

"Missing person" means a person who is missing and who is under a physical or mental disability that subjects the person to personal and immediate danger.

   ‑2 Missing person report. (a) All law enforcement agencies within the State shall accept without delay any report of a missing person. No law enforcement agency shall refuse to accept a missing person report on the basis that:

(1) The missing person is an adult;

(2) The circumstances do not indicate foul play;

(3) The person has been missing for a short period of time;

(4) The person has been missing for a long period of time;

(5) The reporting individual cannot provide all of the information requested by the law enforcement agency; or

(6) The reporting individual lacks a familial or other relationship with the missing person.

(b) All law enforcement agencies shall accept missing persons reports made in person. An initial report may be made by telephone; provided that the law enforcement agency shall require confirmation in person.

(c) In accepting a missing persons report, a law enforcement agency shall gather information relating to the missing person, including:

(1) The name of the missing person, including alternative names used;

(2) The date of birth;

(3) Identifying marks, such as birthmarks, moles, tattoos, and scars;

(4) Height and weight;

(5) Gender;

(6) Race;

(7) Current hair color and true or natural hair color;

(8) Eye color;

(9) Prosthetics, surgical implants, or cosmetic implants;

(10) Physical anomalies;

(11) Home address;

(12) Driver license number or social security number;

(13) A photograph or photographs of the missing person, with the approximate date the photograph was taken;

(14) A description of the clothing the missing person was believed to be wearing;

(15) A description of items that might be with the missing person, such as jewelry, accessories, shoes, or boots;

(16) Information on the missing person's electronic communication devices such as mobile phone numbers and email addresses;

(17) The reasons why the reporting person believes that the person is missing;

(18) Name and location of the missing person's school or employer;

(19) Name and location of the missing person's dentist and primary care physician;

(20) Circumstances that may indicate that the disappearance was not voluntary;

(21) Circumstances that may indicate that the missing person may be at risk of injury or death;

(22) A description of the possible means of transportation of the missing person, including make, model, color, license, and vehicle identification number of a vehicle;

(23) Identifying information about a known or possible abductor, and about any person last seen with the missing person including:

(A) Name;

(B) Physical description;

(C) Date of birth;

(D) Identifying marks;

(E) A description of possible means of transportation, including the make, model, color, license, and vehicle identification number of a vehicle;

(F) Known associates; and

(G) Contact information such as home or work address and home or work telephone numbers;

(24) Date of last contact with the missing person; and

(25) Other information that can aid in locating the missing person.

   ‑3 Help locate. Time permitting, a help locate shall be initiated whenever a law enforcement agency receives a report requesting assistance to find a person under the following circumstances:

(1) There is no evidence that the missing person is in the law enforcement agency's jurisdiction;

(2) The reporting individual is calling from outside the state and there is no evidence to indicate that the missing person is in danger; or

(3) The circumstances indicate that the disappearance is voluntary and that the person has capacity and is capable of caring for the person's self.

   -4 Notification and follow-up action. (a) The law enforcement agency may provide the reporting individual, a family member of the missing person, or other person in a position to help the law enforcement agency locate the missing person, with general information about the handling of the missing person case or about intended efforts in the case; provided that the law enforcement agency determines that disclosure will not adversely affect its ability to locate or protect the missing person or to apprehend or prosecute any person criminally involved in the disappearance.

(b) The law enforcement agency shall advise the reporting individual, the family member of the missing person, or other person in a position to help locate the missing person to promptly contact the law enforcement agency to provide additional information and materials that will aid in locating the missing person. The law enforcement agency shall also notify the person of the specific information or materials needed, such as credit or debit cards and other banking information, and records of mobile phone use.

(c) When deemed appropriate by the law enforcement agency, the law enforcement agency shall notify the reporting individual that the agency may seek DNA samples from family members of the missing person and that any DNA samples provided for the missing person case are provided on a voluntary basis and will be used solely to help locate or identify the missing person.

(d) If a person identified in a missing person report remains missing after three months, the law enforcement agency shall attempt to obtain:

(1) DNA samples from family members and from the missing person along with any needed documentation, including consent forms, required for the use of local, state, or national DNA databases including the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National DNA Index System;

(2) Additional photographs of the missing person that may aid the investigation or identification;

(3) Fingerprints; and

(4) Dental information and x-rays and an authorization to release dental or skeletal x-rays of the missing person; provided that the law enforcement agency may wait longer than three months before attempting to collect dental information and x-rays and an authorization to release dental or skeletal x-rays of the missing person as the law enforcement agency deems appropriate.

(e) The law enforcement agency shall not be required to obtain written authorization before it releases publicly any photograph that would aid in the investigation or identification of the missing person.

(f) Based on the results of an investigation, an investigator shall determine which:

(1) DNA samples from at-risk missing persons cases pursuant to section    ‑5 shall be immediately forwarded; and

(2) DNA samples shall be forwarded at a later date to the appropriate forensic sciences laboratory for analysis, processing, and recording in the missing persons database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National DNA Index System; provided that a DNA sample shall be forwarded within three months.

(g) Subsection (d) shall not preclude a law enforcement agency from attempting to obtain the materials identified in this section before the expiration of the three month period.

(h) A law enforcement agency shall direct its missing persons unit to routinely review old missing persons case files for appropriate cases from which to submit DNA samples for analysis, processing, and recording in the missing persons database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National DNA Index System.

   ‑5 At-risk missing persons. (a) A law enforcement agency shall consider, but shall not be limited to, the following criteria in determining whether an individual is an at-risk missing person:

(1) The person is missing as a result of abduction by a stranger;

(2) The person is missing under suspicious circumstances;

(3) The person is missing under known dangerous circumstances;

(4) There is evidence that the person is at risk because:

(A) The missing person is in need of medical attention or prescription medication;

(B) The missing person does not have a pattern of running away or disappearing;

(C) The missing person is under the age of eighteen; or

(D) The missing person has been the subject of past threats or acts of violence; or

(5) Any other factor that, in the judgment of the law enforcement agency, may determine that the missing person is at risk.

(b) Upon receiving a missing person report, a law enforcement agency shall immediately determine whether there is a basis to determine that the missing person is an at-risk missing person. If a law enforcement agency has previously determined that a missing person is not an at-risk missing person, but obtains new information, it shall immediately determine whether the new information indicates that the missing person is an at-risk missing person.

(c) Risk assessments shall be performed no later than twelve hours after the initial missing person report is filed or the new information is provided to the law enforcement agency.

(d) Law enforcement agencies shall establish written protocols for the handling of missing person cases for the purposes of this chapter.

(e) When a law enforcement agency determines that a missing person is an at-risk missing person and the law enforcement agency concludes that the missing person may have left its jurisdiction, it shall notify other law enforcement agencies. The law enforcement agency shall immediately provide to the other law enforcement agencies the information most likely to aid in the location and safe return of the at-risk missing person, and shall provide as soon as practicable all other information obtained relating to the case.

(f) Any law enforcement agency that receives notification from another law enforcement agency shall notify officers within its jurisdiction to issue lookouts for the missing person or a suspected abductor.

(g) The law enforcement agencies shall immediately enter all collected information relating to the missing person case in available local, state, federal, and national databases. The information shall conform with applicable guidelines relating to the databases, and shall be entered as follows:

(1) A missing person report, as well as relevant information provided in the report, shall be entered into the National Crime Information Center database within three months after the missing person report is received. If there is information that leads an investigator to believe that the missing person may have left the investigator's jurisdiction, the information may be immediately placed in the National Crime Information Center database. Supplemental information in at-risk missing person cases should be entered as soon as practicable; and

(2) All DNA samples shall be immediately forwarded to the appropriate forensic sciences laboratory for analysis, processing, and recording in the missing persons database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National DNA Index System.

(h) All law enforcement agencies shall ensure that a person entering data relating to medical or dental records into criminal justice databases is specifically trained to enter the information into these databases. The law enforcement agencies shall use either a person with specific expertise in medical or dental records for this purpose or consult with the chief medical examiner of the city and county of Honolulu to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information entered into the databases.

-6 Reporting of unidentified persons and human remains. (a) This section shall apply only after a determination that the human remains are not historic or prehistoric remains that are subject to the provisions of section 6E-43 through section 6E-43.6, and related administrative rules.

(b) The county medical examiner or coroner shall provide information to law enforcement agencies about best practices for handling death scene investigations and shall identify and disseminate any publications or training opportunities that may be available to law enforcement agencies or law enforcement officers concerning the handling of death scene investigations.

(c) After performing any death scene investigation deemed appropriate under the circumstances, the official with custody of the human remains shall ensure that the human remains are delivered to the county medical examiner or coroner.

(d) Any person with custody of human remains that are not identified within twenty-four hours of discovery shall promptly notify the office of the county medical examiner or coroner of the location of those remains.

(e) If the person with custody of remains cannot determine whether or not the remains found are human, the person shall notify the county medical examiner or coroner of the existence of possible human remains.

   -7 Responsibilities for the identification of unidentified persons or human remains. (a) This section shall apply only after a determination that the human remains are not historic or prehistoric remains that are subject to the provisions of section 6E-43 through section 6E-43.6, and related administrative rules.

(b) If the official with custody of the human remains is not a medical examiner or coroner, the official shall promptly transfer the unidentified remains to the medical examiner or coroner to determine the identity of the human remains.

(c) Notwithstanding any other action deemed appropriate for the handling of the human remains, the county medical examiner or coroner shall make reasonable attempts to identify promptly any human remains. These actions may include but are not limited to obtaining:

(1) Photographs of the human remains;

(2) Dental or skeletal x-rays;

(3) Photographs of items found with the human remains;

(4) Fingerprints from the remains;

(5) Tissue samples suitable for DNA typing;

(6) Samples of whole bone or hair suitable for DNA typing; and

(7) Any other information that may support identification efforts.

(c) No person shall dispose of unidentified human remains, or engage in any action that will materially affect the unidentified human remains before the county medical examiner or coroner obtains samples suitable for DNA identification and archiving, takes photographs of the unidentified person or human remains, and completes all other appropriate steps for identification.

(d) Cremation of unidentified human remains is prohibited, except as provided in sections 346-15 and 841-16.

(e) The county medical examiner or coroner shall make reasonable efforts to obtain prompt DNA analysis of biological samples, if the human remains have not been identified by other means within thirty days.

(f) The county medical examiner or coroner shall seek support from appropriate federal agencies for human remains identification efforts. Such support may include but is not limited to available mitochondrial or nuclear DNA testing, federal grants for DNA testing, or federal grants for crime laboratory improvements or improvements to the medical examiner or coroner's facilities.

(g) The county medical examiner or coroner shall promptly forward to the county police department any information that can aid in the identification of missing persons. The police department shall provide the staff of the chief medical examiner or coroner of the same county with training about the data needed by the police department and the formats in which the data shall be recorded.

(h) Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to preclude the county medical examiner or coroner or any county police department from pursuing other efforts to identify unidentified human remains, including efforts to publicize information, descriptions, or photographs that may aid in the identification of the unidentified remains, allow family members to identify a missing person, or seek to protect the dignity of the missing person."

SECTION 3. Section 346-15, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (f) to read as follows:

"(f) All unclaimed corpses shall be cremated[.]; provided that samples suitable for DNA identification and archiving have been taken pursuant to section    ‑7. The department of human services shall authorize the cremation of unclaimed corpses."

SECTION 4. Section 841-16, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"841-16 Disposal of decomposed remains. The coroner's physician may order forthwith the cremation of the remains of any person appearing to have come to death under any of the circumstances set forth in section 841-3 if, in the coroner's physician's opinion, the remains constitute an immediate menace to the public health. The cremation shall be supervised by the coroner and shall take place only after a reasonable amount of investigation has taken place in an effort to establish the identity of the remains and the cause of death[.]; provided that samples suitable for DNA identification and archiving have been taken pursuant to section    ‑7. Such cremation shall take place after a burial-transit permit authorizing cremation has been secured from the local agent of the department of health."

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2112.