ST. MARYS — A local law enforcement official says he supports a drive by Ohio legislators to craft a measure inspired by the death of Caylee Anthony.
House Bill 299 would establish Caylee’s Law in the state of Ohio. Under the proposal, parents would be required to report a child missing within 24 hours and report a child’s death within an hour. Similar laws started to pop up across the country in the wake of Casey Anthony’s acquittal relating to the death of her daughter Caylee. Anthony did not report her daughter missing for a month. She was acquitted on murder charges but convicted of lying to police on four occasions.
“We would support it — time is always of the essence in these types of investigations,” St. Marys Police Chief Greg Foxhoven told The Evening Leader. “I believe that most parents, and we do have this happen on occasion, as soon as they recognize the child is missing, they contact us immediately. Thankfully those have turned out well.”
Failing to report a child missing within 24 hours would be classified as a fifth-degree felony and failing to report a death within an hour would be a third-degree felony.
“It’s hard for me to understand why a parent wouldn’t report it as soon as it happens,” Foxhoven said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to have our legislators make laws that penalize them if they don’t. I think for most parents, it’s your natural reaction that if your child is in danger, you call for help.”
Time, Foxhoven stressed, is vital if a child does in fact go missing.
“Time in those situations is not really on your side because we are such a mobile society,” Foxhoven said. “If someone were to abduct a child and it’s not immediately reported, it doesn’t take long and from where we are, they could be in Indiana very quickly and that would complicate matters. So time is of the essence and the sooner they realize there is a problem the better. We work with other agencies across the county and state and with the LEADS service, we can get that info out in a timely manner.”
In the event a child is abducted, providing investigators with several pieces of information is critical.
“We always like a current photograph,” Foxhoven said. “We get a physical description, a list of friends and relatives and we ask if there is a history of it.”