The family of 10-year-old Hailey Owens, who was kidnapped and killed in Springfield, Mo. earlier this year, is pushing for a change they hope will save another child’s life.
It’s called “Hailey’s Law,” and it’s meant to speed up the state’s Amber Alert system.
When Hailey went missing in February, every minute felt like an eternity to her mom, Stacey Barfield.
The minutes ticked by as she waited for someone to find her little girl. An Amber Alert sent out the call for help.
“It was late in my eyes,” Stacey said. “I mean, everybody’s like ‘what’s going on?’ Even my phone went off, and I’m like, ‘seriously? This is like two hours after she got abducted.’”
The pleas had already gone out on social and local media.
“I believe it was running right at 6 p.m., so within just right an hour, local media had it running on every station,” said Hailey’s stepfather, Jeff Barfield.
Using his criminal justice background and seeking support from Hailey’s family and local legislators, attorney Stoney McCleery is pushing to improve the Amber Alert process.
“She had been taken about one and a half blocks from my home, and that was something that hit near and dear to me, having a child of my own,” he said.
Having officers use the latest technology to enter crucial information was just one of the changes McCleery hopes the law will bring.
“That portion of it will become fallible, automated, at the click of a button, and it very well could knock out up to a full 30 minutes on the paperwork process side of it,” said McCleery.
The bill also adds two members to the oversight committee and requires an annual review of the system.