Statement to the Record on Katie's Law

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of Katie’s Law. I rise as a Congressman, but also as a cop and a sheriff with 33 years of experience investigating crimes.

This bill, simply put, assists states with the implementation of DNA arrestee collection programs so that the DNA collected can be entered into the national DNA database. DNA is an invaluable piece of evidence when solving crimes.

As the lead investigator on the Green River Killer Task Force my colleagues and I started collecting evidence in the early 80’s…hoping only for, in those days, a saliva or a blood-type match that would tie a suspect to the crimes.  

We worked that case for nearly two decades, continuing to collect evidence, interrogate suspects, and discover horrific murder scenes. In 2001, the technology finally caught up and through DNA we made a match and were finally able to arrest a single suspect on four counts of murder. That arrest eventually led to 49 murder convictions.

This bill is named for Katie Sepich. Katie was a young woman from Carlsbad, New Mexico who was 22 years old when she was brutally raped and murdered – because of the lack of DNA collection procedures in New Mexico at the time, it was three years before Katie’s parents, Jayann and David, had the closure of knowing Katie’s attacker.

Katie’s Law provides a critical resource to aid our law enforcement officials in investigating crimes and protecting the innocent. It does so without the appropriation of new funds and with privacy protections. 

What happened to Katie Sepich is a shocking, horrible tragedy. It is our duty to assist law enforcement in preventing these tragedies from ever re-occurring, and to continue the tireless work of keeping our communities safe.