A bill to be introduced in the state Legislature will require authorities to quickly disseminate information about a murder victim to expedite the identification process. The bill was prompted by the Jan. 3rd murder of Menachem Stark, a chasidic businessman from Williamsburg, which remains unsolved.
Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organizations of Wiliamsburg said he suggested the bill because of the delay in positively identifying Stark's remains after they were found in a Great Neck garbage bin about 16 hours after he was abducted, during a blizzard, outside his Williamsburg office.
The Expedited Missing Persons' Act, sponsored in the Assembly by Joseph Lentol and in the Senate by Daniel Squadron (both are Brooklyn Democrats) would require the state Division of Criminal Justice to promptly share all identifying information about a victim from a coroner's report with law enforcement authorities, a stipulation not currently in place. The information would include fingerprints, race, age, sex and date and place of death.
This could hasten the process of closure for the family of a missing person, increase the chances of an arrest and ensure a speedy burial of the victim. Strict Jewish practice requires burying a body as quickly as possible.
"Unfortunately none of these happened in Menachem's case nor in any cases previously or after that," said Rabbi Niederman, calling the law a "no-brainer."
Stark's was kidnapped early around midnight on a Friday morning and his body was found around 4 p.m. the next afternoon. The family was notified late Friday night. The identification migt have come even later had the abduction not been a high-profile cas. "If not it could be days or weeks until the dots are connected," he said. "And sometimes, never."
The rabbi said he didn't know if Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whow ould have to sign the bill into law, is supportive. "It's common sense," he said. "I don't think anyone should be opposed to it."
Stark was a real estate developer and landlord, and a father of eight who reputedly had many enemies because of his extensive business dealings and debts. The vehicle used in the kidnapping was recovered by police but no suspect has been named.