New bill looks to expand TBI’s Endangered Child Alert to 20 years old

New bill looks to expand TBI’s Endangered Child Alert to 20 years old

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - A new bill looks to expand the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Endangered Child Alert to 20 years old -- and it comes with full support from the family of Holly Bobo.

At the time of Bobo’s disappearance, she was too old for AMBER Alert and for the TBI’s Endangered Child Alert.

Bobo was 20 years old when she was last seen alive in 2011. For years the search for the missing nursing student turned up nothing. Then partial remains were found in the woods in 2014.

In 2017, a jury found Zach guilty on all charges, including first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years. In January 2018, Zach’s brother, Dylan, accepted an Alford plea and he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Now, more than five years since Bobo’s death, Representative Kirk Haston is working with Bobo’s mother to prevent another tragedy like her daughter’s.

“We were just trying to talk through some ideas that might be able some families in the future. And one of the ideas that came about was expanding an alert system that would include 18, 19, and 20-year-olds,” said Rep. Kirk Haston- District 72 (R).

Right now, TBI Endangered Child Alert stops at 17 years old.

The National Crime Information Center reports 73 percent of missing persons in the nation are 20 years of age or younger.

Last year there were 341 missing persons in Tennessee. Though ages 18-20 usually make up a small percentage of those investigations. Haston wants to give the same resources to those investigations as ones for juveniles.

“It just seem to me like the natural dividing line to include 18, 19, 20-year-olds to be able to give a little extra support in helping find them as soon as possible," he said.

It’s a cause that hits home for Haston growing up in Perry County, a neighbor to Decatur County where Bobo lived.

“It was definitely a case that was near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts,” he said.

The TBI is working closely with Haston on the bill.

Right now, it’s awaiting to be heard in committee.

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