Just a few short months after the Expedited Missing Persons Act was introduced in the State Assembly, the bill passed the Senate floor last week, just as this year’s legislative session came to a close.
The bill was introduced after the brutal abduction and murder of Williamsburg real estate developer Menachem Stark in January.
The new law addresses how the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) provides law enforcement agencies with information about deceased missing persons.
Under the new law, the DCJS will be required to send all the information in a coroner’s report to all law enforcement agencies, so they may coordinate their investigations based on the data they had already retrieved on missing persons.
The bill was created in large part due to the efforts of Rabbi David Niederman, the leader of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn (UJO), who had repeatedly pushed for the creation of such a law after the crime, and who lobbied local electeds to amend the existing laws.
“Excruciating hours passed between when Menachem Stark’s body was located, until the authorities realized that the unidentified body in Nassau County was Mr. Stark,” said Niederman. “The family endured needless pain and anguish between when the body was found until they were notified it was Menachem. We hope that no one else experiences anything similar. This bill was introduced to ensure that in tragic events, the suffering is not increased unnecessarily.”
His work paid off when in March State Assemblyman Joe Lentol and State Senators Daniel Squadron and Simcha Felder announced the introduction of the bill in the state legislature.
And last week that work finally paid off.
“The lapse in time between finding an unidentified deceased person and matching them with an identity is crucial to an investigation,” said Lentol. “The new Lentol-Squadron-Felder law will take direct aim at efficiently streamlining this process for both the DCJS and local police precincts, and improve this important section of criminal law.”