NEW JERSEY: HOW MEGAN’S DEATH CHANGED US ALL
Maureen Kanka, the co-founder of the Megan Nicole Kanka Foundation of Trenton, New Jersey, tells about her neighborhood being like any other neighborhood until one day her 7 year old daughter, Megan disappeared. No one knew of the hidden danger lurking across the street from her house, posing an imminent threat; three convicted pedophiles lived on a street full of children. A massive search was launched throughout the township. Volunteers came from all over as she and her husband, Rich, frantically searched throughout the night calling her name. A puppy dog was used to lure her daughter into a neighbor's house. She was raped, strangled and suffocated. Her body was stuffed into a plastic toy chest and dumped in a nearby park. Megan had been found, dead. Twice-convicted Jesse Timmendequas who lived within sight of their front door had killed her. It was in Megan's name and under the banner of her favorite color that the Kanka's asked state officials to take the actions necessary to prevent similar crimes in the future. Megan's death touched the hearts of every parent who watched their trauma unfold. She represented all children everywhere. Within 89 days, they gathered 430,000 signatures, and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed Megan's Law into effect. Other states began drafting and passing their own Megan's Laws soon after. The Megan Nicole Kanka Foundation continues their fight for the rights of sexually abused children everywhere. Maureen Kanka fights for the rights of children, people reach out to her from all over the country. They ask her to support lesiglation and to speak on crime and safety issues, they ask her for advice on how to start their own grass-roots campaigns. Megan was killed July 1994. Jesse Timmendequas, a repeat sex offender, was convicted of murdering 7 year old Megan and currently is awaiting execution on New Jersey's death row.
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