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Weinberg’s ‘Patricia’s Law’ Clears Senate

TRENTON – A measure known as “Patricia’s Law” and sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg to help law enforcement personnel locate and safely return missing persons to their families was unanimously approved today by the full Senate.

The legislation is named for Patricia Viola, a Bogota woman who disappeared from her kitchen in 2001 and has never returned. Patricia relies on medication to control her epilepsy. Patricia’s husband Jim has led the fight for this legislation, said Senator Weinberg.

“When a loved one goes missing, family members immediately go into panic mode, and those feelings do not subside until the missing person is found,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “By establishing real guidelines for law enforcement to follow when searching for missing people, this bill would give hope to their families that the police are doing everything possible to find and safety return the missing person to their family.”

Senator Weinberg’s bill, S-2255, would also work to improve the process for identifying human remains.

The bill reflects model missing persons legislation proposed by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, a federally funded resource center created to support research, legislation and program development for criminal justice, said Senator Weinberg.

This legislation now awaits approval from the Assembly.

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