Delaware lawmakers say they’ve received thousands of emails in response to the recent Casey Anthony trial in Florida asking the state to enact new laws on the reporting of missing children.
The young mother was found not guilty of murdering her two-and-a-half year old daughter Caylee, who was not reported missing for nearly a month after she was last seen with her mother in 2008. A “Caylee’s Law” petition started as an online movement and reportedly has gathered 1.3-million supporters. The proposed law would make it a crime for a parent, legal guardian or caretaker to fail to report the disappearance of a child in his or her care to law enforcement within 24 hours.
Members of the leadership in the Delaware State House of Representatives, in a letter to Attorney General Beau Biden, are asking that his office review existing state laws and provide a report to the General Assembly on whether the proposal is viable “and, if so, what provisions it should contain to maximize its effectiveness and minimize any potential problems it may present to police and prosecutors.”
The lawmakers said they have several questions, one being the 24-hour mandate. “Since it would be difficult to prove when a parent noticed his or her child missing, when would it be appropriate to start the clock ticking?” they ask. “Additionally, how would such a proposed law interact with existing state law?”
The letter is signed by Speaker of the House Robert Gilligan (D-Sherwood Park), House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach), House Majority Whip Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear), House Minority Leader Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley), and House Minority Whip Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View).
The Delaware General Assembly resumes its two-year session in January. The legislative leaders hope to have the Attorney General’s findings available by then.