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Law enforcement to lawmakers: Tread carefully on 'Caylee's Law'

Law enforcement officials warned lawmakers on Monday that well-meaning proposals created in response to the Casey Anthony trial would confuse parents about the appropriate time to wait before reporting their missing children.

The real time to report a missing child is immediately, officials said.

But one version of "Caylee's Law," sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, requires caregivers to report a missing child to law enforcement within 48 hours or risk a felony charge. Similar hourly requirements are echoed in three Senate bills related to Fasano's SB 84.

"(Parents) may take that as, 'I don't need to report immediately, I can wait 48 hours,'" said Manatee County Sheriff's Maj. Connie Shingledecker, chairwoman of a statewide team that reviews child abuse cases resulting in death.

By then it might be too late.

Shingledecker's concern was shared by other officials testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Protecting Florida's Children. The committee was created to analyze the need for a series of bills proposed following the death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony.

Complaint about a time-frame aside, officials did not close the door to reform. They favored the idea of adding tougher penalties for people who lie to law enforcement in cases involving a child's death or serious bodily injury.

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