Hundreds of miles separate the king and Shepard families, but in front of Kathlynn’s Tree of Hope, their stories brought them together.
In 2010, Brent King lost his 17 year old daughter Chelsea.
She was kidnapped, raped and, murdered. Her body was found five days after she was declared missing.
“We found out that a previously convicted sex offender had done this who only served five years in jail. He violated his parole 150 times during that process,” said Brent King, father of Chelsea and champion of Chelsea’s Law.
The King family turned their grief into good.
They reached out to California lawmakers and seven months later, Chelsea’s Law was passed.
It’s a one strike policy where sexual predators that attack children are jailed for life.
“If this person violently harms a child in the process of a sex crime, they’re going to do it again unless we lock them away,” said King.
“If we can pass this law here in Iowa, it will start our closure,” said Michael Shepard, father of Kathlynn.
Michael Shepard has a similar vision for Iowa.
“We would like it to closely mirror Chelsea’s Law in California,” said Shepard.
The kings will join the Shepards, asking Iowans to encourage lawmakers to fight for change.
“If you send one ribbon to an Iowa lawmakers, they’re going to understand what we want. That’s what we’re asking for,” said Shepard.
If the bill is passed in Iowa, the Shepards say they won’t stop in their home state.
“We’re not just looking at Iowa. That’s our starting point and our most important goal. Our closure will come when the nation has this law,” Shepard told Channel 13 News.
Since Chelsea’s Law passed in 2010, lawmakers have introduced similar legislation in Texas and Illinois.