SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A law named after a Springfield girl will change how Missouri's Amber Alert system operates.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson will sign Hailey's Law Thursday afternoon. The law is named for Hailey Owens. She was kidnapped, raped, then later killed in February 2014.
Senator Eric Burlison and Representative Curtis Trent, both of Springfield, pushed for Hailey's Law in the Missouri legislature for years. The Amber Alert process at the time took several steps that kept the alert from going out sooner. Hailey's Law will ensure law enforcement agencies' software systems will work together to help streamline the process. It will also improve the Amber Alert board, which the state already has, but the law will require it to meet at least once a year.
"I have daughters that are the age now that Haley was when she was abducted, and it just stares at you," said Sen. Eric Burlison. "I think that this community will never be the same, but we can learn from what happened. I think that's what we've done. We have learned from what happened, we've made ourselves better, and that's what this bill is about. It's about making sure we as a state have a better system in place so that this hopefully will never happen to another child again."
Hailey's father worked closely with the father of convicted killer Craig Wood to push for the improvements. The say it was the grace of God the two could work together following the tragedy.