The Law Following the Casey Anthony Trial

In 2013 Illinois joined 10 states in enacting Caylee’s law. This law was passed in reaction to the trial of Casey Anthony for the death of her daughter, Caylee Anthony. While Casey was found not guilty of killing her 2 year old daughter, Casey failed to report that Caylee was missing for 31 days.

The law requires parents or guardians of a missing child 13 years old or younger to notify police within 24 hours. If a child is 2 years old or younger this must be reported within one hour. The same law also establishes parents or guardians to report the death of a child and it makes it a felony to threaten social workers or caseworkers. In proposing the legislation, Illinois Representative Jack Franks was quoted “Though it may seem untenable that any parent would fail to report their child’s death, unfortunately it appears that we need a criminal law that requires it.”

Failure to report a missing child is a Class 4 felony and punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. It is hoped that the threat of punishment will keep parents or guardians from resisting the impulse to hide the fact that their child has gone missing and allow authorities to quickly locate missing children.