Family hopes Kelsey Smith Act becomes federal law

OVERLAND PARK. Kan. - Congressman Kevin Yoder will propose legislation Monday in Washington D.C. in honor of an Overland Park high schooler who was abducted and murdered six years ago.

Kelsey Smith was shopping at a Target store off Quivira right next to Oak Park Mall when a man she did not know grabbed her in the parking lot and pulled her into his car. Investigators say he sexually assaulted Kelsey then killed her, dumping her body in a wooded area.

Kelsey's family desperately pleaded with their cell phone provider to allow police to "ping" her phone and reveal her location. It took four days, and by then their 18-year-old daughter was dead.

Kelsey's parents, Missy and Greg Smith, have worked tirelessly since then to pass the "Kelsey Smith Act," which would make it mandatory for cell phone companies to give police officers cell phone location information in an emergency.

It's now law in nine states. Rep. Yoder will make a push to create federal legislation.

Missy Smith says the act has already saved lives by locating a Tennessee child who was being held by a sex offender and helping emergency workers find an elderly Kansas man who had a stroke.

"This law would not have saved Kelsey's life. Kelsey was probably murdered within the first hour of her abduction. But it would have saved 4 days of agony of not knowing where she was," Missy Smith explained.

The Kelsey Smith Act has failed twice in congress, but Rep. Yoder says he's confident it has a chance this session.

"It's going to take a lot of work. It's not easy to get a bill through the House and Senate right now and get it on the president's desk," Yoder explained, "Yet, it starts today as we introduce the legislation and build co-sponsors' work to get a hearing and take it from there. But it may take some time to get this done."

Companion legislation is also being proposed in the Senate.

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