A new law is designed to help find missing and endangered adults more quickly.
Sponsored by House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) and Sen. Dennis Frederickson (R-New Ulm), “Brandon’s Law,” signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty May 7 expands the state’s missing children’s law to include adults who go missing under dangerous circumstances. It takes effect July 1, 2009.
The law is named after Brandon Swanson, whose car got stuck in a ditch near Taunton along the Lincoln and Lyon county line in southwest Minnesota on May 14, 2008. As his parents were on their way to help, the cell phone connection went dead at 3:10 a.m. He hasn’t been heard from since.
Brandon’s parents, Brian and Annette Swanson, and his sister Jamine were in attendance during the governor’s signing ceremony.
The law will require law enforcement to take a missing persons report without delay after notification of someone missing under dangerous circumstances, no matter the missing person’s age; immediately conduct a preliminary investigation to determine if the person is missing, and whether the person is endangered; and promptly notify all other law enforcement agencies of the situation. It clarifies that the agency taking the report be the lead agency in the investigation.
Law enforcement will be required to seek additional information — including DNA samples, dental records, X-rays, photographs and fingerprints — if the missing person is not found within 30 days.
A working group will be convened to create a standardized form for law enforcement to use when taking a missing persons report, and to develop “a model policy that incorporates standard processes, procedures, and information to be provided to interested persons regarding developments in a missing person case.” Its work is to be complete by Sept. 1, 2009.
The Jon Francis Foundation has agreed to pay the approximate $10,000 cost for the working group. Francis, a 24-year-old Stillwater native, was missing for more than a year in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains before his remains were found on July 24, 2007. The parents of Jon Francis, David and Linda Francis, were also at the signing ceremony.
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