Two Tennessee lawmakers announced Monday they are filing a bill to make it a punishable crime when parents or guardians fail to timely notify authorities when a child under their care is missing. The bill was filled by State Sen. Eric Stewart (D-Belvidere) and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley).
The bill, known as "Caylee's Law," after Orlando, Fla., 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, who died in 2008. The law would require that authorities be notified as soon as a parent or guardian has reason to believe that a child within their custody or care has gone missing. Currently, Tennessee law requires parents to report such information, but does not provide any means for enforcement. The bill would constitute a misdemeanor. In situations in which bodily injury or death of the child resulted, the crime would be elevated to a felony. Stewart and Fitzhugh said they are speaking with district attorneys and legislative lawyers to determine reporting timeline requirements that could vary based on the age of the child.