This week the legislature’s Judiciary Committee passed a bill that allows law enforcement officers to charge a parent or guardian with a criminal misdemeanor when they wait longer than 24 hours to report a child under the age of 12 in their custody missing.
State Representative DebraLee Hovey (R-112) joined the committee’s membership in voting in favor of this bill which she is also a co-sponsor of.
Commonly referred to as “Caylee’s Law,” An Act Concerning the Reporting of a Missing Child (H.B. 5512) was initiated in response to the infamous Casey Anthony case heard in a Florida courtroom. In 2008, Anthony, who was eventually charged with first-degree murder, waited 31 days to report that her toddler Caylee was missing.
“The entire nation was touched by the dreadful Casey Anthony case and the sad outcome,” said Rep. Hovey. “There can be no question that a reasonable parent would not wait a month to report a child missing. Most parents would do all they could to find a missing child as quickly as possible and won’t need to be legally required to contact authorities promptly. But as this case demonstrates, not all parents will do that. This bill codifies into law the responsibility of parents to report their child missing within the crucial first twenty-four hour period after the child goes missing.”
The bill is endorsed by the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, and received unanimous support from committee members through a 42-0 vote. It awaits action in the House of Representatives.