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Bill Would Require Police to be Notified of a Missing Child Within 12 Hours

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) on Thursday announced he is introducing the most stringent New Jersey measure, to date, to help law enforcement deal with missing children’s cases in the wake of the missteps that were revealed during the Casey Anthony trial.

“Any law enforcement authority will tell you that the first few hours after a child goes missing are the most critical in determining whether that child is found and unharmed,” said Caputo. “Sometimes parents, whether good or ill intentioned, might wait longer than that to contact authorities, increasing the chances of a tragic ending.”

Unlike other measures that have been introduced recently requiring authorities to be notified within 24 hours, Caputo’s bill would give only a 12-hour window for a person to report a missing child to police. Anyone who fails to do so would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

“This timeframe might not have affected the outcome in the tragic case of Caylee Anthony, but at the very least it might have aided authorities in recovering her body more quickly and determining the cause of her death in order to bring some justice to this poor little girl,” added Caputo.

Known as Caylee’s law, Caputo intends to introduce the bill the next time the Assembly is in session.