Missouri representatives at work on ‘Caylee’s Law’

The disappearance of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony has been a hot topic of conversation since she was reported missing in 2008. Caylee’s body was eventually found, six months after she had last been seen, and her mother, 25-year-old Casey Anthony, was put on trial for her murder. Anthony was found not guilty July 5 and will now spend her days as a free woman.

But the verdict doesn’t bring an end to this story. Part of the case that seems to bother many people, especially parents, is the fact that Casey Anthony claimed Caylee had been kidnapped, but she waited a month to report it. This case has brought people to their feet about the need for additional laws on reporting missing children.

Clint House, a Florida man who says he used to be friends with Anthony, has teamed up with Florida Governor Rick Scott and other Florida officials to draft “Caylee’s Law.”

The law would hold parents accountable if they did not report their child missing in a timely manner. Not reporting a child missing within the allotted time frame, which has yet to be determined, would be a felony.

The reasoning behind Caylee’s Law is being felt in Missouri, where District 53 Representative Brent Lasater is researching a proposal for a similar law in Missouri. District 36 Representative Bob Nance said he plans to back Lasater’s proposed legislation.

“Right now we’re in research mode,” Lasater said. “We’re looking for a law that might be strengthened with this added to it.”

Lasater said coming up with a law to modify may be difficult, but he added that if he has to he will create new legislation.

“I’m all about protecting the weakest members of our society,” said Lasater, who is a child-abuse awareness advocate.

Lasater said he has already received a petition from his constituents, pushing for such a law. Nance added that he has already received numerous e-mails as well.

“I’ve probably had 30 or 40 people e-mail me so far,” Nance said.

But, as with every proposed law, there are many questions to consider.

“First, we must agree on an age level,” Nance said in his July 14 capital report. “Then we must decide who is considered in custody of the child at the time of disappearance.”

Nance offered an example about custody, saying that if a child is spending vacation with grandparents and is found missing, who would be held responsible for reporting it?

The other area of concern is the time frame in which parents must report a child missing. The proposed law in Florida is suggesting within 24 hours, but Lasater doesn’t agree.

“The 24-hour deadline doesn’t seem to be practical,” Lasater said. “We’re looking more toward 48 hours or more.”

Lasater said the earliest he could file the law would be Dec. 1 of this year.

Caylee Anthony was missing a month before her mother contact law enforcement.

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One Response to Missouri representatives at work on ‘Caylee’s Law’

  1. Mandy Branch

    April 12, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I completely support the passing of this law, 48 hours is still better than the possibility of reporting after 31 days. Let me know if there is any way I can help.

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