Oklahoma lawmaker plans to introduce "Caylee's law"

OKLAHOMA CITY Thu Jul 7, 2011 2:42am EDT

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OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma lawmaker said on Wednesday he planned to introduce a "Caylee's law" in his state requiring parents to swiftly report the death or disappearance of a child in the first legislation stemming from the death of the Florida toddler.

A jury found Casey Anthony not guilty on Tuesday of murder in the death of 2-year-old Caylee, whose skeletal remains were found in woods near the Anthony family home with duct tape dangling from her skull.

Casey, who was convicted of lying to police, had initially said Caylee had been kidnapped by a nanny, triggering a nationwide search before her remains were found six months later.

"It is unconscionable for a parent to delay notifying the authorities of the death of their child. Most parents would immediately notify authorities if their child had gone missing," state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft said, adding he planned to introduce the law in Oklahoma's 2012 legislative session.

"Any delay could endanger the life of the child and, in the case of a child's death, make it that much harder to collect evidence. I think the actions of Caylee's mother were reprehensible," he added, saying most people he met felt that Casey Anthony "escaped true justice".

Prosecutors said Casey smothered Caylee to free herself from the responsibilities of motherhood. The defense said the child died in an accidental drowning.

Wesselhoft said it was a problem that there were no laws regulating the timely reporting of a child's death or disappearance, and that the law should give a parent 24 hours to report the death of a child and 48 hours to report a child under age 12 as missing.

"Violation of this law would be a maximum misdemeanor or a felony conviction. Oklahomans do not want to experience a situation such as what occurred in the Caylee Anthony case," said Wesselhoft, a Republican.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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