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Biden signs bipartisan cold case law establishing federal right to request review for victims’ families

President Joe Biden signs bills on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at the White House in Washington. 

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President Biden signed a bipartisan cold case investigation bill into law this week that establishes federal rights for the relatives of people killed in unsolved murders.

The Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act provides family members of cold case victims a way to officially request federal investigators review their case with the latest available technology – and it specifically prohibits previous investigators from leading the renewed probe.

It also instructs agencies to keep families updated on the case file and will require the federal government to publish annual statistics on cold case murders beginning in 2025.

Two former prosecutors turned congressmen, Reps. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Eric Swalwell, D-California, introduced the bill, which passed 406-20 in the House and unanimously in the Senate.

AUSTIN ‘YOGURT SHOP MURDERS’: TEXAS CONGRESSMAN’S COLD CASE LEGISLATION PASSES 30 YEARS AFTER CARNAGE

President Joe Biden signs bills on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at the White House in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

McCaul has cited the unsolved 1991 “Yogurt Shop Murders” as a major factor in his efforts to pass the law.

“Three decades ago, four girls were brutally murdered at an Austin, Texas, yogurt shop, still haunting their families and community because the case remains unsolved,” McCaul told Fox News Digital Friday. “I’m hopeful the Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act will deliver the resources to help solve cold cases providing hope, justice, answers, and closure to grieving families of those whose cases have gone cold.”

The cold case killings left four teen girls dead: 13-year-old Amy Ayers, 17-year-old Eliza Thomas, 15-year-old Sarah Harbison and her 17-year-old older sister Jennifer Harbison.

Photos of the "Yogurt Shop Murders" victims, who were killed in a horrific 1991 attack that remains unsolved.

Photos of the “Yogurt Shop Murders” victims, who were killed in a horrific 1991 attack that remains unsolved.
(FOX 7 Austin)

The younger girls were visiting the older two, who worked at the shop. All four were later found bound and gagged, with gunshot wounds to their heads, and the shop had been set on fire.

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Four men were soon arrested – but the charges were later dropped after DNA evidence linked an unknown man to the scene.

He has not been identified. 

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington,…

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