"Caylee's Law" Gaining Momentum
Mere hours after Casey Anthony was cleared of murdering her daughter, an internet movement launched to honor Caylee Anthony’s memory. It is gaining massive support by many around the world who were disappointed by the verdict. It is also capturing the attention of U.S. lawmakers.
The movement is for a law that would make it a felony for parents or guardians to fail to notify law enforcement of the disappearance of a child within 24 hours. “Caylee’s Law” would also make it a felony for parents or guardians to fail to report the death of a child to the authorities within one hour.
The petition was created at Change.org by Michelle Crowder of Oklahoma. As of 10:00am Friday, the petition had been signed by more than 635,000 people.
"When I saw that Casey Anthony had been found not guilty in the murder of little Caylee, and that she was only being convicted of lying to the police about her disappearance, I was sickened," Crowder said in a press release. "I could not believe she was not being charged with child neglect or endangerment, or even obstruction of justice."
In a verdict that made headlines internationally, 25-year-old Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, and not guilty of child abuse. She was convicted of four misdemeanors of lying to police as they investigated her daughter's disappearance. These lies led investigators on a wild goose chase to recover Caylee, whose remains were eventually found six months later in a swamp near her grandparents' house.
Casey Anthony waited a mind-boggling 31 days before admitting her daughter was missing to her mother, who immediately called the police. In those 31 days, Casey exhibited behaviors suspicious to many. Pictures emerged of the young mother partying and dancing with friends. She also got a tatoo, "Bella Vita," which is Italian for "The Beautiful Life."
A judge on Thursday sentenced Casey Anthony to four consecutive years for lying to investigators but because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has demonstrated good behavior, Casey Anthony will be released on Sunday, July 17th.
In the wake of this verdict, at least one Florida lawmaker is supporting "Caylee's Law."
State Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, announced Wednesday afternoon that he's currently drafting legislation consistent with the Internet movement. Hager is on the Justice Committee. The earliest he might be able to introduce the bill is during the next legislative session that starts in March.
"Placing a law on the books requiring parents and guardians to report missing children who are in significant danger in a timely manner will ensure that parents are held accountable for their actions," he said in a statement. "It will also assure that we put justice on the side of those among us who are most vulnerable. And finally, it will put an end to the kind of irresponsible and outrageous behavior we observed with Caylee's mother."
According to Wayne Ivey, Florida Department of Law Enforcement's resident Agent in charge for Brevard County, national statistics show that 44% of abducted children who are murdered are killed within the first hour of their abduction. That number jumps significantly to 76% during the first three hours.
"Not reporting a child as missing or injured is certain to hinder any rescue efforts that can be utilized to save that child's life," he said.