Millie Parke thought she was about to die.
While laying on the pavement at a Speedway gas station in the Hancock County town of Greenville, Parke was bleeding out from multiple stab wounds, including one that pierced her heart.
Just minutes earlier, Parke felt she had successfully gotten away from her abusive ex-boyfriend, Ronnie McClure. That night she decided to take her two dogs and find a hotel outside of Indianapolis and lie low for a while.
Parke drove east and stopped at the gas station just long enough to briefly walk her dogs and make a hotel reservation. For the first time in a while, Parke felt “absolutely” safe.
What Parke did not know was that hidden in her vehicle was a GPS tracking device, sending real-time information on exactly where she was to McClure. That is how McClure knew Parke was on the run, where she was, and used that information to hunt her down.
“Glaring and Disturbing”
State Senator Liz Brown of Fort Wayne is out to prevent GPS devices from being used to stalk people.
“It was a glaring and disturbing loophole in the law,” said Brown.
In FOX59’s original reporting on the near-deadly knife attack on Parke, we found planting GPS devices on other people’s or other people’s property was legal in Indiana.
When this was discovered, we reached out to Senator Brown, and she pledged to put together a bill that would ban the practice.
That legislation is Senate Bill #83. It proposes to make it a crime in Indiana if someone plants a GPS device on another person or someone else’s property without permission.
The bill also restricts installing apps on another person’s cellphone. Violations of the proposed law would result in a Class C misdemeanor charge which carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If the accused violates this law and the victim has a protective order against the accused, the crime becomes a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
If the use of a GPS device helps the accused facilitate a separate felony charge, then the prosecutor could seek up to an additional 6-year prison sentence.
Senator Brown says her legislation is a direct result of FOX59’s reporting on the assault of Millie Parke.
This is such a big issue and I think it’ll only get bigger and more problematic and if you wouldn’t have brought it to my attention I don’t know if there would have been a bill filed. It was a glaring and disturbing loophole in the law.State Senator Liz Brown
FOX59 recently sat down with Millie Parke to share the news about Senate Bill #83 and to give her a copy of the legislation. Parke was excited and grateful.
Parke said she’d be happy to testify before the State Senate’s Correction and Criminal Law Committee about the importance of banning GPS stalking, “If there’s any kind of doubt in any of their minds, I hope that the two feet of scarring on my body can relieve them of those doubts.”
The Road Ahead
Senate Bill #83 has a ways to go before it can become law in Indiana.
The first hurdle is getting committee approval for the bill. Senator Brown is confident she’ll get the support of committee members, “I can’t imagine anyone would be opposed. The way (GPS devices) are used are not for good purposes.”
Committee Chairman Aaron Freeman (R – Indianapolis) agrees. He points out there are two other similar bills that have been introduced that also address this issue, but Freeman says he supports doing something to protect people, especially women, from being stalked with a GPS device.
Should the bill pass the committee and a State Senate vote, the same process must also play out in the State House of Representatives. If successful, the legislation would move to Governor Eric Holcomb for his consideration.
The entire process would likely take months. State Senator Brown explains she is just focused right now on moving Senate Bill #83 forward, telling FOX59 Chief Investigator Steve Brown, “This is just the first step but, you’ll keep pressing and I’ll keep pressing.”
As the bill progresses through the Indiana General Assembly, FOX59 will update this story.