IN THE NEWS - STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE: Staten Island pol introduces 'Caylee's Law,' wants felony charges for parents who don't report missing kids

Andrew J. Lanza

July 12, 2011

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- In wake of the controversial Casey Anthony murder trial in Florida, state Sen. Andrew Lanza has introduced a bill that would allow prosecutors to bring felony charges against parents who do not quickly report missing children.

The bill -- named "Caylee's Law" -- would make it a Class E felony for a parent or guardian who does not report a child in their custody missing within 24 hours of disappearance.

"When a child goes missing there is no legitimate reason not to report it," Lanza said in a press release. "It is a well established fact that, when dealing with a missing child case, every moment of delay weighs negatively in the life or death outcome. It is inconceivable and dangerous that a parent or guardian would not immediately report to the authorities when their child goes missing. Not doing so should be a serious crime and this legislation would do just that in the state of New York."

Lanza has also introduced legislation that would create a felony charge for a caregiver who knowingly fails to report a child's death or the location of a child's body within two hours of learning such information.

A jury last week acquitted Ms. Anthony on first-degree murder charges in the death of her daughter, Caylee. Instead, she was convicted of only four counts of lying to investigators looking into the June 2008 disappearance of the 2-year-old. She is expected to be released next week.

The child's body was found in the woods six months later and a medical examiner was never able to determine how she died.

Prosecutors contended that Caylee was suffocated with duct tape by a mother who loved to party, tattooed herself with the Italian words for "beautiful life" in the month her daughter was missing and crafted elaborate lies to mislead everyone from investigators to her own parents.

Anthony's attorneys claimed that the toddler drowned accidentally in the family swimming pool, and that her seemingly carefree mother in fact was hiding emotional distress caused by sexual abuse from her father.

Published: Monday, July 11, 2011, 3:02 PM     Updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 5:54 AM