Missouri will become the eighth state on Tuesday to adopt Kelsey's Law that requires cell phone providers to give police a customer's location in an emergency.
Losing a child would be enough to make many families crumble, but for Greg and Missey Smith, losing their daughter Kelsey, when she was abducted outside an Overland Park Target in 2007, spurred them into a crusade.
"I don't think of Kelsey as anything other than 18. It is hard. She has missed out in so much," Missey Smith said. "To know that there are people out there alive because Kelsey isn't, makes it worth it."
After a grueling cross-country travel and constant testifying, the Smiths asked lawmakers to pass Kelsey's Law. The law makes it mandatory for cell phone companies to track a phone and tell police where it is in missing persons cases.
"No family should have to sit there and wonder where is their loved one, and what has happened, when technology is available," Missey Smith said.
"It is not who they've been talking to. It is not let me see the text messages. It is just where is the phone, and then they have a starting point to try and find that person," Greg Smith said.
The Smith family's tragedy exposed how hard it can be to get the records and how vital they can be.
"She was missing for four days before they actually got access to those records. Once they got access to her phone, it took them about 45 minutes to locate her body," Greg Smith said.
Investigators found Kelsey Smith's body in Missouri, yet since the first Kelsey's Law took effect in Kansas in 2009, it has taken three years and six other states, as far away as Hawaii, signing on, before Missouri passed its law.
Kelsey Smith's parents said it is a long-awaited landmark honoring their daughter's memory.
"I think she would think it is the neatest thing ever. I really do," Greg Smith said.
Missey Smith knows her daughter would have said it has taken too long for states to adopt Kelsey's Law.
"It has taken too long, it needs to be done in all 50 states. We only have 42 more to go," she said.
Edwin Hall, of Olathe, is serving a life sentence for abducting and murdering Kelsey Smith. He is not eligible for parole.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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