July 29, 1994
Hamilton Township, New Jersey
7-year-old Megan Kanka is abducted, raped, and murdered by twice-convicted sex offender Jesse Timmendequas
Timmendequas had previously pleaded guilty to the attempted sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl in 1979 and the sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl in 1981; the second victim was choked until she was unconscious. He served a 9-month sentence in a correctional facility for the attempted assault. For the second offense, he served 6 years of a 10-year term in a correctional center meant specifically to treat male sex offenders.
On July 29, Timmendequas lured Megan into his home, hit her head against his dresser, slapped her hard enough to draw blood, raped her, and strangled her with a belt. During the attack, Megan was able to bite Timmendequas’ hand hard enough to leave teeth impressions which later helped convict him. He disposed of her body in a nearby park and confessed to the murder the next day. He was found guilty of kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, and murder and sentenced to death. Timmendequas’ sentence was commuted to life in 2007 when New Jersey abolished the death penalty.
Megan’s parents lobbied for a new law, stating that, had they known a convicted sex offender had been living in their neighborhood, they would have been better prepared to protect her. The law, dubbed Megan’s Law, requires public access to the names and locations of those convicted of any sexual offense.