House unanimously approves Mosbrucker’s ‘MMIWP and Lucian Act’ to provide tools to help locate and recover missing persons

The state House of Representatives gave unanimous approval Wednesday to a bill authored by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, that would provide additional tools and resources to help locate and recover all missing persons in Washington state.

House Bill 1512 is also known as the “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Persons and Lucian Act.” The bill is a recommendation from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People (MMIWP) Task Force and the Office of the Attorney General. It is also named after Lucian Munguia, a four-year-old Yakima boy with autism who was reported missing from a local park on Sept. 10, and, sadly, whose body was discovered nearly three months later in the Yakima River.

“Resources from all over the area and even out of state came to the park and searched for Lucian. There were dog teams and law enforcement who did an incredible job trying to find this little boy and help the family. Children with autism are often attracted to water. The search included a nearby lake, the river and everywhere we could look,” said Mosbrucker.

“But as I watched this process, I was devastated because I saw the family alone in a field in a grass park. They didn't have tools that could help them. I felt like they didn't know what to do next. And I didn't know what to say or how to help. It was such a horrible moment on the worst day of that family's life. And my thoughts and prayers continue to be with Lucian's family and friends,” said Mosbrucker. “This bill seeks to provide a toolkit with the resources that could help other families in the future.”

Mosbrucker also noted tribes have no uniform toolkit when searching for a missing tribal member.

“Over 20 different tribes may handle this crisis differently. Some may use tribal police. Some may turn to the county sheriff, or both. But in many cases, tribes do not have enough resources to find their loved ones,” noted Mosbrucker. “This legislation may help with the MMIWP cases.”

The bill would require the Office of the Attorney General to publish and maintain on its website a “Missing Persons Toolkit” that contains regularly updated information related to locating and recovering missing persons.

“We want to have a resource available to the public about immediate actions that should take place when someone vanishes, like writing down every detail you remember, and uploading photos of the missing person to 911 databases, such as the Travis Alert System, and accessing the NamUs National Missing and Unidentified Persons System,” said Mosbrucker. “This would be a statewide toolkit that could help to save lives, bring loved ones home, and be available to all families.”

Among some of the information included, the toolkit would provide:

  • an explanation of how to report a missing person to an applicable law enforcement agency;
  • an overview of the kinds of information that may be helpful to provide when reporting a missing person;
  • additional steps that may be taken to assist with recovering a missing person once a report has been made;
  • suggestions and resources for navigating difficulties that are commonly encountered during the process of reporting and recovering a missing person;
  • a list of counseling resources and assistance to family members, friends and community members of missing persons;
  • information developed in consultation with the Washington State Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Task Force for reporting and recovering missing indigenous people; and
  • information specifically tailored to reporting and recovering missing persons who are vulnerable due to age, health, or a mental or physical disability.

The bill directs the Attorney General's office to publish the toolkit in the top 10 languages spoken in Washington state. The toolkit would be made available digitally on the Attorney General's website, and a hard-copy version would be made available to law enforcement agencies and other relevant agencies that could be distributed to the public.

“The first 24 hours of when a person goes missing is very critical. This bill would create a much needed resource that could be accessed instantly so that we can help those families who may be missing a loved one,” added Mosbrucker.

The bill passed 96-0. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov