AUGUSTA --Today, in a near final step to becoming law, the Senate referred the Cold Case Homicide Squad bill to the so-called “special appropriations table,” where it will be considered by the Appropriations Committee for funding.
The bill, LD 1121, "An Act To Fund the Cold Case Homicide Unit in the Department of the Attorney General," has already received initial approval in both the House and Senate.
Senator Valentino was compelled to bring this bill forward after hearing from several family members of the victims of unsolved murders in Maine, including one in her own community. In 1999, the 15 year old daughter of a friend was murdered. Sixteen years later, her killer has never been brought to justice.
“For more than a decade I have felt helpless and dismayed that there are 120 unsolved murders in Maine; but today, as a Senator, I no longer feel helpless,” said Democratic State Senator Linda Valentino of Saco, a sponsor of the measure. "Law enforcement is now one step closer to being able to take a fresh look at these cases.”
The measure has garnered an outpouring of support from both sides of the aisle and from the public. At the press conference and public hearing, lawmakers heard heartbreaking stories from families, including that of Trista Reynolds, mother of 18 month old Ayla Reynolds who went missing in 2011 and is presumed murdered by police; Ramona Torres, mother of Angel Torres, 21, who police believe was a victim of foul play after he disappeared on Mother’s Day of 1999; Lise Ouellette, mother of Ashley Ouellette, 15, whose body was discovered on the side of the road in Scarborough 15 years ago.
“As a Senator on the Appropriations Committee, I have also introduced an amendment to secure funding in the current budget,” added Senator Valentino. “We owe it to the victims, the families, and the public to make this a priority.”
The bill has been placed on the Special Appropriations Table to await funding.
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