Oklahoma Lawmakers Plan To Introduce 'Caylee's Law'

Thursday, July 7th 2011, 4:58 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The outrage over Casey Anthony's acquittal is fueling a call to change the law. Two Oklahoma lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation in the name of Caylee Anthony, the two year old who died.

Many parents are clamoring for such a law, but others question whether it would do any good.

Even days after the verdict, the acquittal of Casey Anthony still gets some parents on the playground fired up. 

"I was very disappointed. I can't believe she got away with murder basically," said Towana Hendrickson, mother.

A jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of killing her two-year-old little girl, Caylee. Caylee was last seen June 16th, 2008, but she wasn't reported missing for an entire month.

That's something, Towana Hendrickson, who has a daughter the same age as Caylee, can't comprehend.

"I can't believe somebody wouldn't report this. This is insane really," Hendrickson said.

While the trial is over, the case could live on in new legislation around reporting missing children. Moore State Representative Paul Wesselhoft and Oklahoma City State Senator Greg Treat are calling for a misdemeanor or felony for not reporting your child dead within 24 hours or missing within 48.

7/6/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma Woman Creates Online Petition For 'Caylee's Law'

"These situations thankfully are not very common. They don't happen all that often," said Jason Willingham of the Tulsa Police Department.

Tulsa Police spokesman Jason Willingham says most parents who don't report their children missing are involved with the child's disappearance, and that's the crime that would likely carry the heaviest penalty.

"We're here to advocate for children and make sure children are safe, but I just don't know that this will prevent any child abuse or neglect situations from happening," Willingham said.

At least one local mother felt differently.

"I would definitely be for that law," said Samantha Merrifield.

While keeping an eye on her own young son, Tulsa mom Samantha Merrifield can't imagine anyone not calling police about a child's disappearance.

"I think it's up to the parents to report their own child missing. I think it's neglectful to not do so," she said.

Both Oklahoma lawmakers plan to introduce Caylee's Law next session. There's also a push to make failing to report your child missing a federal crime.