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January 30. 2012 10:42PM

Legislators to weigh ‘Caylee' bill for NH

CONCORD — Lawmakers are set to weigh a bill today that would require parents and guardians to report within 24 hours to law enforcement authorities when a child dies or goes missing.

The bill, HB 1709, was inspired by the trial in Florida last year of Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee after not reporting her missing for a month.

The bill states that “any person who has primary responsibility for the care and supervision of a child under 12 years of age and is unable to determine the location of the child for a period of at least 24 hours shall notify the local law enforcement agency.”

The child's death also must be reported.

“When kids aren't reported missing it gives (perpetrators) enough time to clean up the evidence,” said Rep. Alfred Baldasaro, R- Londonderry, one of the bill's sponsors. “Every time a child goes missing, it should be reported.”

The law would apply not only to parents and legal guardians, but anyone who has primary responsibility for a child at the time he or she disappears, such as a day care worker.

The Senate will take up a similar version of the bill at a hearing on Thursday.

Violating the law as it is currently written would be considered a Class A misdemeanor.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt acknowledged the penalty may need to be strengthened.

“That was the suggestion of the attorney general's office,” he said. “I will be suggesting we look hard at making a harsher penalty.”


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