Ky. lawmaker proposes bill to penalize those who delay reporting missing children

Casey and Caylee Anthony
Casey and Caylee Anthony

FRANKFORT, KY (FOX19) - In the wake of this week's conclusion in the Casey Anthony murder trial in Florida, Kentucky State Rep. Richard Henderson is pre-filing legislation that would make it a felony for those who fail to report children 12 and under who have been missing more than 12 hours.

"My bill will hopefully help us avoid situations like Casey's daughter Caylee, whose disappearance went unreported for so long," said Rep. Henderson, D-Jeffersonville.  "I want to make sure that parents, guardians or anyone who is responsible for a child understands there are serious repercussions if they choose to delay filing a report."

House Speaker Greg Stumbo called Rep. Henderson's proposal "a very good idea."

"We must do whatever we can to ensure the protection of our young children," said Stumbo.

Rep. Henderson's legislation, which will be considered during the 2012 Regular Session and be called Caylee's Law, would make this failure to report a Class D felony, which calls for one to five years in prison.

His legislation would bridge what he called "a gray area" in current law regarding missing children.  There is no timetable for filing a report with authorities, but the law does prohibit parents, guardians or any other responsible adult from abandoning children.

"Ideally, every parent out there will quickly call the police when they suspect their children are missing, but if they don't within a reasonable time, my bill will give the state recourse when a search is needlessly delayed," Rep. Henderson said.  "When dealing with a potentially life-or-death matter, I want to make sure we err on the side of the children."

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