Parents want law to push quicker searches

The Zamlens

Sally Zamlen says state law slowed a search for her son, missing since April 5.

"We are seriously, seriously running out of time," she told a House committee today, urging lawmakers to pass a bill in front of them that would force police to quickly act on more missing persons cases.

The House Finance Committee unanimously approved the measure, which likely will be in front of the full House Monday. A Senate vote also is pending.

Dan Zamlen’s father, Dale, said the Eveleth graduate did not fall into the river near the St. Thomas University campus, where he attended school, as many think.

"I think it is an abduction," the father said.

The student disappeared early April 5, but police said they could not start a search immediately. State law is the culprit, Sally Zamlen said, because it gives them leeway in when to begin a search because at 18 Dan Zamlen would be considered an adult and they would not be required to launch a quick search.

"Maybe he wanted his 24 hours of alone time," Sally Zamlen said was the police theory.

But that does not fit this case, she added.

"His last words were ‘Oh god, oh god,’" she said of a mobile telephone call he made early Sunday.

Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said his bill would require law enforcement officials to get to work right away. In this case, he said, police could have tracked Zamlen’s iPhone immediately to establish his last known location quickly enough to launch an effective search.

"Time is of the essence," Seifert said.

Some law enforcement departments start searches right away, while others do not, Seifert said.

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