Failing to quickly report the disappearance of a child is now a felony under a bill Gov. Chris Christie signed into law today.
The new law is called “Caylee’s Law” after two-year-old Caylee Anthony of Florida, whose 2008 disappearance was not reported for 31 days. Caylee was found dead and her mother, Casey, was found not guilty of killing her in a case that became a national media sensation.
“By increasing the crime of failing to report your missing child or a death to a fourth degree felony, hopefully, we can deter parents and guardians who believe that they can deceive or evade law enforcement,” said state Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer), a sponsor.
The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes failing to report the disappearance of a child age 13 or younger within 24 hours a fourth-degree crime punishable by as much as 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The new law also upgrades the penalty for failing to report to authorities any death caused by violence or an accidents, which had been a disorderly persons offense. It is now also a fourth-degree crime.