Assemblyman Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), who represents Loma Linda and Redlands, and Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City) have introduced California's version of “Caylee’s Law.”
Assembly Bill 1432, aka "Caylee's Law," would make failing to report the death or disappearance of a child within 24 hours a felony in California, according to a news release by the assemblywoman’s office.
The bill was inspired by the recent homicide of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, whose disappearance went unreported for 31 days. The child skeletal remains were found months after her disappearance.
The child's mother, Casey Anthony, was acquitted of murder charges in connection with Caylee's death.
But the facts surrounding the death that emerged during the trial have sparked outrage around the country and prompted many to call for the law.
More than 1 million people have signed a petition through www.Change.org. Like Morrell’s and Mitchell’s bill, the petition calls for members of the public to “make it a felony for a parent or guardian to not notify law enforcement of a child going missing within 24 hours.”
"Our children are our highest priority and it is our responsibility to protect them from the predators that would harm them,” Morrell said, according to a story in the Fontana Herald. “Caylee deserves justice and out of this horrific tragedy, a need has been made clear."
“Law enforcement has known for years that the first 48 hours of a person’s disappearance are critical to the chances of finding that child alive and successfully prosecuting any related criminal behavior,” said Assemblywoman Mitchell in a written statement. “Recent developments make it clear that we don’t have the luxury of leaving the protection of children to others, or ignoring well-founded suspicions.”
It is late in the legislative session to introduce new laws, Mitchell said. But as a member of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, and a long-time activist on behalf of children, she said feels well positioned to get bipartisan support and, with help from “child advocacy organizations," have “Caylee’s Law” swiftly signed into law.