COLUMBUS—The Senate approved legislation today designating May 25 as "National Missing Children's Day," which is a day aimed at enhancing awareness about missing children and providing support for parents and families searching for their loved ones.

"A child gone missing is every parent’s worst nightmare turned into reality," said State Senator Bob Hackett (R-London), who sponsored the bill in the Ohio Senate. "We want to reassure families that we join them in their resolve to bring their child home, no matter how much time has passed. We owe it to these families to do all we can to inform the public and support efforts to find their missing children."

In February 1999, nine-year-old Erica Baker, of Kettering, went missing. Her disappearance prompted a search which ultimately led to the conviction of one of the men responsible for the child's death and disappearance.

Earlier this year, Greg Baker, Erica's father, testified before the Senate's Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee in support of the legislation. In Baker's testimony, he cited the need for increasing awareness about missing children and demonstrating solidarity with the families that continue to search for missing family members.

"As a mother, there's no greater worry than for the safety of your children," said Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), who joined him in co-sponsoring the legislation. "It is my hope that by increasing awareness on this issue, we can strengthen vigilance in our community and encourage our neighbors to report suspicious activity to law enforcement. We must also keep the families experiencing this heartache in our thoughts and prayers." 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Meghan McCarthy, representing the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, also testified in support of Senate Bill 86. 

Senate Bill 86 now goes to the House of Representative for further consideration. 

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