House unanimously passes expanded notification for disappearances from state facilities
Bill sponsored by Parker would increase communication
Editor’s note: Video of today’s proceedings is available here.
The House of Representatives today approved a bill increasing communication to state law enforcement as well as victims and witnesses of crimes committed by the mentally ill when a patient from a state facility escapes or disappears.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, who said he was discouraged by the amount of time it took to recover Phillip Paul after his escape from an outing with Eastern State Hospital in September.
“It took more than two hours for officials at Eastern State to send out a statewide alert,” Parker said. “State law enforcement must be notified earlier so they can locate a missing person faster, so they can get help for the patient as well as protect the community from harm.”
On the House floor, Parker read part of a letter sent to him from Helen Mottley, the daughter of Ruth Mottley, who was murdered by Paul. It reads:
“My connection with these bills is not political but personal. I found out about it the same way the rest of the country did – on the national news. When it sank in, [it was] almost a sense of physical pain, like being kicked in the stomach with his brutality again; deep sorrow as I relived my mother’s loss; paralyzing fear for our family’s safety; and then finally, hope that no one else would have to be at his mercy again; hope that his keepers would properly keep him from harming anyone,” Mottley wrote.
“We passed this bill today not only to provide a tool for law enforcement, but also to honor the family and friends of victims,” Parker said.
House Bill 2422 was confirmed by the House 96-0. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Contact: Sarah Lamb, public information officer, (360) 786-7720
###Washington State House Republican Communications