Senate bill promises to highlight missing New Mexicans

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Lawmakers say as of January, about a thousand people are missing in New Mexico.

A new bill will make sure those people are not forgotten, and that their families get the help and closure they need.

Senate Bill 13 would essentially create an annual event in the state to bring awareness to those cases. It would create a day where law enforcement and related agencies come together and provide help, information, status updates on those missing people’s cases.

The sponsor, Linda Lopez, said this idea was really inspired by a focus on missing and murdered indigenous women.

It is a helpless reality plaguing families around New Mexico.

“I don’t know if he’s sleeping on the streets,” said Tina Webb. “I don’t know if he’s wrapped up you, just some bad situations…is he in another state? Is he safe? That’s my main concern that this point. Just to know that he’s safe and he’s ok and he’s got somewhere warm to sleep.”

Webb said her nephew, 16-year-old Rick Allison, ran away from CYFD custody around the first of the year. He was last seen at a CYFD facility. But Webb said she hasn’t really heard anything since.

“I’m frustrated, I’m confused,” said Webb. “As parents, if our children were to run away, or to come up missing the first thing we would do is call law enforcement file a police report and get the word get it out on social media, any way we can. I don’t think CYFD has done everything they can do to locate him.”

In her plea for answers, she came to KOB 4 – hoping to spread the word so she can find him. But that’s not always the case in New Mexico.

“We have heard the frustration of the feelings of isolation that families experience with regards to their missing loved ones,” said Lopez in a committee hearing Jan. 24.

SB 13 calls for establishing a Missing in New Mexico event – a place where all parties can meet to raise awareness and get information. The idea came from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force.

“For Indigenous, Black, Latina, and trans women, we almost never will know their names. This bill will allow us to speak their names,” said an advocate in support of SB 13 Monday.

With the hope of bringing closure or even better, a happy ending to families still searching for their loved ones.

SB 13 passed its first committee Monday.

KOB 4 reached out to CYFD about Rick Allison, a spokesperson sent this statement:

“Our investigators are working diligently alongside law enforcement to attempt to locate this child and safely return them to state custody. Missing children are also reported to the National Crime Information Center and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Anyone with information on a runaway child is asked to report the information to local law enforcement or to CYFD by calling #SAFE (#7233) from your cell phone or 855-333-SAFE (7233) from a landline.”