'Rights of Grandparents' bill advances in Florida House

The mother of a missing Orlando woman spoke to Florida lawmakers on Thursday, to make a tearful plea.

Michelle Parker vanished in 2011 after dropping her twins off at the home of Dale Smith Jr., the father of the children.  Smith is the prime suspect in Michelle's disappearance and has since moved out of state with the children.

Parker's mother, Yvonne Stewart, pleaded with the House Judiciary Committee, asking them to pass the "Rights of Grandparents" bill (HB 149).  The bill would allow estranged grandparents to ask a court to allow them to see their grandchildren, if one of their parents are deceased or missing.

"Those kids are going to need us when they find out who their dad is and what he's accused of," Parker told lawmakers, "and they don't even know Michelle's name, and they don't know me, and they don't know my children, and I love her, and I love them and I'm asking you to please help me get there."

The committee approved the bill.   A companion bill is also working its way through the Florida Senate.

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