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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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