Assemblymember Holly Mitchell Builds Support for AB 1432, 'Caylee's Law,' Making Failure to Promptly Report a Missing or Deceased Child a Felony

July 14, 2011

SACRAMENTO-On Wednesday, Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City) introduced AB 1432, dubbed Caylee's Law, which would make it a felony in California to fail to report the death or disappearance of a child, aged 14 or younger, to law authorities within 24 hours. Calls for such legislation have been inspired by the recent case of the death, ruled a homicide, of 2-year old Caylee Anthony, who was not reported missing for 31 days. Her mother, while having been acquitted of the charge of murder, has evoked outrage nationwide for failing to report her child's disappearance.

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. 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.

Although it is late in the legislative session to introduce new laws, Mitchell, a member of the Assembly Public Safety Committee and long-time activist on behalf of children, believes she is well positioned to lead the charge to bring Caylee's Law into reality. She looks to garner bipartisan support and enlist child advocacy organizations in the effort to get the bill swiftly signed into law. Similar legislation is being considered in other states.

Public awareness of the need for this bill is, tragically, very high now, said Mitchell. We are answering the call to get new tools in the hands of law enforcement so that a negligent or abusive parent need never be freed on a technicality again. AB 1432 has been introduced as an emergency bill so it can progress through the legislative process and not be subject to the usual deadlines.

Press opportunities to engage the public on AB 1432 are planned for later in the week.

Contact: Charles Stewart, 310/342-1070