Raleigh, N.C. — Five years after Florida toddler Caylee Anthony disappeared and was later found dead, North Carolina lawmakers on Tuesday approved legislation that would make it a crime not to report a missing child in a timely manner.
Caylee's Law now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.
Under the legislation, parents and caregivers would be required to report a missing child within 24 hours, and anyone else who suspects that a child is missing also would have to report their suspicions to law enforcement. Failure to do so would be a felony for parents and caregivers and a misdemeanor for third parties.
People acting in good faith who mistakenly report a child as missing would be immune from civil or criminal liability, but any deliberately misleading reports would result in a felony charge.
Casey Anthony failed to report her 2-year-old daughter missing for nearly a month in 2008, and the girl's body was found months later in some nearby woods. A jury acquitted Anthony of a murder charge, but she was found guilty of lying to a police officer.
A dozen states have since adopted laws requiring people to report missing children. North Carolina's legislation also creates penalties for failure to report child abuse or concealing the death of a child.