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Friday, October 7, 2011

Suzanne's Law

"Suzanne's Law'' requires local authorities to notify the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) immediately if someone between the ages of 18 and 21 goes missing.  Suzanne's Law was signed into law by President Bush as part of the PROTECT Act of 2003.

The federal law is named after Suzanne Lyall (pictured above), a State University of New York at Albany student who has been missing since 1998.  Prior to Suzanne's Law, police were only required to report missing persons under the age of 18.  In the Lyall case, police did not begin investigating Suzanne's disappearance until nearly two days after Suzanne disappeared.  The law named after her and drafted by Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, is designed to spur immediate police investigation when college-age people disappear instead of waiting a day, which had been a common practice in these types of cases. "A lot can happen in two days. You can go to China in two days,'' said Mary.

Doug and Mary Lyall, Suzanne's parents championed the law. "I just hope that it's going to bring back some of these kids," said Mary Lyall in an Associated Press article. "They need as much protection while they're at college."

Child Quest International (CQI) is an avid supporter of Suzanne's Law.  Unfortunately, Suzanne's Law is not standard operating procedure for many law enforcement agencies across the U.S.  Due to lack of awareness by these agencies, many left-behind families are met with resistance when trying to report their adult children missing.  This has become a disappointing and frustrating roadblock in the recovery efforts for many left-behind family members.  In our ongoing effort to protect kids and reunite loved ones, CQI regularly assist 18-21 year old missing person cases because of Suzanne's Law, and we continue to educate law enforcement on the importance of the PROTECT Act of 2003.   

Doug and Mary Lyall are an inspiration to us, and we are proud to call them our friends as well as allies in the ongoing fight to protect kids and reunite loved ones.  Keeping Hope Alive!

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