Bill enlisting resources of state law enforcement for missing children/manhunts wins Senate approval (Athena Brownfield reference)
OKLAHOMA CITY – The full Senate has given unanimous approval to legislation to ensure missing child and manhunt cases will include the resources of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) early in such searches. Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, is the author of Senate Bill 1002, which was approved 47-0 on Thursday.
Thompson said he began formulating the concept for his legislation after visiting with law enforcement about the search for Athena Brownfield, a 4-year-old girl from Cyril, first reported missing on Jan. 10 after her sister was found alone outside their home. Her remains were discovered on Jan. 17 near Rush Springs. Her caregivers were arrested in the crime.
“We now know by the time authorities realized Athena was missing, tragically, she was already dead. But I kept thinking, what about the next child? The additional manpower and equipment of our state law enforcement combined with local law enforcement could literally mean the difference between life and death,” Thompson said. “That’s what this bill is about.”
Under the provisions of SB 1002, municipal or county law enforcement would be required to notify the OSBI and DPS within the first six hours of opening the local investigation into a missing child or a manhunt.
Trooper Eric Foster is the spokesperson for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
“Anyone in law enforcement knows, particularly with missing children, every minute counts. The longer that child is missing, the more dangerous the situation becomes,” Foster said. “I believe this legislation could make a profound difference in such cases.”
SB 1002 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration. Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, is the House principal author.
For more information, contact: Sen. Roger Thompson at 405-521-5588 or email Roger.Thompson@oksenate.gov.
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