RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia state lawmakers moved Monday toward crafting legislation that would criminalize failing to quickly notify law enforcement officials of a missing child, following the Casey Anthony trial in Florida.
The State Crime Commission on Monday directed staff to explore a version of “Caylee’s Law” that would impose penalties for failing to promptly report a missing child.
Staff will craft a draft for the panel to consider sometime before the legislative session in January.
Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter, Caylee, in a case that drew national attention and sparked a public outcry for such laws.
Miss Anthony never alerted authorities that her daughter was missing and Caylee’s grandmother didn’t notify police until a month after the child was last seen. Miss Anthony was convicted of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement.
State Sen. Edd Houck, Spotsylvania Democrat, also announced on Monday that he would introduce legislation to enact “Caylee’s Law” in the state.
Mr. Houck’s bill will make it a felony for a parent, guardian, or caretaker of a minor child to fail to notify law enforcement officers within 24 hours after that child is discovered missing.
“The intent of my bill is to allow state and local law enforcement to take appropriate steps immediately to investigate the child’s disappearance, before it is too late,” Mr. Houck said. “Our goal should be to prevent and deter something like the Anthony case from happening in Virginia.
Caylee’s Law has been enacted or is being considered in at least 32 other states, according to Mr. Houck’s office.