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‘Caylee’s Law’ Would Criminalize Failing To Report A Missing Child

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Caylee Anthony

Caylee Anthony, 2, was reported missing in July 2008, and found dead in December of that year. (Credit: CBS)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The Illinois House of Representatives has passed a bill that criminalizes failing to report a missing child, in the wake of the fallout from the Caylee Anthony tragedy.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, Illinois State Rep. Jack Franks (D- Woodstock) says his bill, Caylee’s Law (HB 3804) aims to close holes in the criminal code.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports

The bill, which passed the state House on Wednesday, would make it a felony to fail to report a child under 13 years old missing after 24 hours. The law would apply to any parent, guardian or caretaker who should know if a child is in danger.

For children under 2, the window is reduced to one hour before caretakers must call police.

Under the law, caretakers would also have to report the death of a child to a medical examiner if unnatural circumstances such as an accident or a homicide were to blame. Providing false information about a missing child would also constitute a felony under the law.

Franks emphasizes in a news release that there is currently no law requiring anyone to report a child missing.

“The tragic events surrounding two year old Caylee Anthony’s death captivated the nation and pointed out a gaping hole in our child negligence statutes,” Franks said in a news release. “This legislation will bring justice to those most vulnerable and accountability to parents and guardians that neglect to report their children missing. We must work together to find a reasonable approach to protect our children.”

Caylee Anthony, 2, was reported missing in Orlando, Fla., in July 2008, and her body was found in a wooded area near her home in December of that year. Her mother, Casey Anthony, was acquitted last year of Caylee’s murder, but was convicted of misdemeanor charges of lying to police about what had happened to the little girl.

The state Senate must also approve Franks’ bill before it goes to Gov. Pat Quinn.

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