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'Kelsey Smith Act' aims to help locate kidnap victims faster

Oklahoma Capitol building
Posted at 10:20 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 10:01:34-05

TULSA, Okla. — Time matters when someone is abducted.

A new bill could give Oklahoma law enforcement an important tool to help in such crimes thanks to a Kansas mother who is using her heartbreak to help others.

Kelsey Smith was just 18 years old when she was abducted from a Target parking lot in Overland Park, Kansas in 2007.

Law enforcement couldn’t get the location of her cell phone to lead them to Kelsey until four days later when it was too late. Since then, Kelsey’s parents made it their mission to get this law passed in their daughter’s name with the "Kelsey Smith Act."

It requires cell phone companies to provide phone location information to law enforcement in an emergency situation involving risk of death or serious harm.

While some raise privacy concerns, in this case, law enforcement would only get the phone’s location.

“No text messages," Smith said. "No phone calls. No history of the phone. Just where is the phone? So that when someone is missing, it gives them a tool to be able to locate a missing person faster. Or in Kelsey’s case, to recover her body and bring her home.”

Oklahoma State Senator Darrell Weaver said we would be the 28th state to turn this bill into law, and he’s already heard from at least one phone company.

“We have a very good relationship with our providers," Weaver said. "One, in particular, a very large one, has already reached out to me and said 'Hey, we’re supporting this.'”

After spending three decades in law enforcement, Weaver said the “Kelsey Smith Act” is something the Sooner State should have had years ago and needs it now.

“We have these abductions," Weaver said. "We have people missing. We have these types of things. So, we need to do everything in our power, I believe in a public safety sense, to do something about that.”

Weaver will introduce the bill when the legislative session begins next month.

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