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‘Hailey’s Law’ seeks to speed up Amber Alert process

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A new bill has been introduced this week, seeking to get Amber Alerts out quicker.

Rep. Curtis Trent, R-Springfield, is the sponsor of the bill, HB 697, or as it’s being called, ‘Hailey’s Law’.

Trent introduced the bill after meeting with the family of Hailey Owens, a 10-year-old Springfield, Mo. girl who was abducted and murdered by Craig Wood in February 2014. Though police were on the scene within minutes, an Amber Alert was not issued for more than two hours.

Since Owens’ tragic death, the Springfield community has rallied around her parents, Jeff and Stacey Barfield, urging lawmakers to speed up the Amber Alert process.

And earlier this month, the parents of both Owens and Wood united in an unlikely partnership to advocate with others for a more streamlined reporting system.

“While it was Craig’s tragic decisions and not the slow alert that is ultimately responsible for what happened to Hailey, I feel if an effective Amber Alert System had been in place I would have recognized the license plate and could have intervened to possibly save her precious life,” Jim Wood said. “Recognizing this possibility causes me such deep anguish and has motivated me to help the Barfields with their mission.”

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Barfields in seeking enhancements to the system,” Lt. Darewin Claridy of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. “We believe these upgrades in our Amber Alert system will help streamline the reporting process in a common sense way that could help children in the future.”

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