Megan Kanka, inspiration for Megan's Law, remembered 20 years after murder

Today marks 20 years since the brutal rape and murder of a little girl by a sex offender who lived across the street that inspired

Megan Kanka's death and legacy continues to shape

Megan Kanka's death and legacy continues to shape laws nationwide. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP - Today marks 20 years since the brutal rape and murder of a little girl that inspired Megan's Law.

Megan Kanka's death and legacy continues to shape laws nationwide.

Barbara Devlin remembers when her friend's 7-year-old daughter went missing.

"Her mother and father I just feel so bad for them," she says. "It never goes away."

Megan's Place, a park in the girl's honor, was built on Barbara Lee Drive. Flowers have been placed next to a plaque in her memory.

Jesse Timmendequas had been convicted twice as sex offender and was living in Kanka's neighborhood unbeknownst to the community. He lured Megan inside his home, raped and strangled her. His house was later knocked down to create the park.

Megan's parents still live in their home. The couple fought tirelessly for Megan's Law after their daughter's death. The law alerts the public when a sexual predator moves into a neighborhood. Former state Sen. Peter Inverso sponsored New Jersey's bill.

"A great credit goes to Maureen and Rich Kanka for taking this tragedy and making something good out of it," Inverso says.

All 50 states now have a form of the public notification law.

"The courts, while they tinkered with the process and procedure a little bit, they never changed the fundamental essence that the community has the right to know," Inverso says.

That knowledge is intended to better safeguard children.

Jesse Timmendequas is serving a life sentence at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.

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