Topeka The outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial in Florida has prompted House Speaker Mike O’Neal and Kansas Department of Rehabilitation and Social Services Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. to push for stronger laws penalizing parents who fail to report child disappearances.
“Allowing the death or kidnapping of a child to go unreported is unconscionable,” said O’Neal, R-Hutchinson.
“Kansas law should ensure that the authorities have the information they need to swiftly and safely recover missing children and include criminal penalties sufficient to address the intentional failure to report a child’s death or disappearance.
“While Kansas law does address this to some extent, our preliminary review suggests that the existing Kansas laws are not strict enough in the wake of the Anthony case,” he said.
Earlier this week, Anthony was found not guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Anthony waited more than a month before telling authorities that the girl was missing.
In a news release Friday, Siedlecki offered the full support of SRS staff to O’Neal to draft “Caylee’s Law” in the next legislative session that starts in January.
“Our job at SRS is to protect children in Kansas. There’s no reason a child’s disappearance should go unreported,” Siedlecki said.
“I appreciate Speaker O’Neal’s work to review our laws regarding the issue in Kansas, and his plans to address the situation next legislative session.”
Several other states are drafting similar legislation.