- Associated Press - Saturday, May 27, 2017

GRAFTON, Iowa (AP) - A northern Iowa woman says she is grateful something positive could come from her daughter’s death, an event that led to legislation banning people from receiving insurance benefits if they’ve been convicted of crimes against the deceased individual.

The bill was signed into law earlier this month after multiple attempts, continued persistence by the parents of Brigett Wirtjes and the combined efforts of three area legislators, the Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/2qfUpGQ ) reported. It goes into effect July 1.

Wirtjes, 27, was found dead in her home in Manly in December 2010. Her husband, Tyler Wirtjes, was found guilty of sexually assaulting her the night before she died. He later collected her life insurance benefits.

He received the money because only those convicted of killing someone had been prohibited from collecting a victim’s life insurance benefits.

The Bottlemans discovered the issue when they tried to collect more than $6,200 in death benefits from an insurance policy they got for their daughter when she was a young child. A judge ordered the money should be released to Tyler Wirtjes, who was and is still in a Fort Dodge prison.

Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm, D-Cresco, helped craft the law to bar those convicted of certain crimes - kidnapping, assault, sexual abuse, human trafficking, murder and manslaughter - from receiving insurance benefits if the victims of their crimes died within six months of the criminal act. Sen. Waylon Brown, R-St. Ansgar, and Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City, co-sponsored a slightly modified version of the bill to this year’s Legislature.

“I’m just so happy to see the end and to honor Brigett,” said Janet Bottleman, her mother. “At least something good came out of so much tragedy.”


Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

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