Hawaii lawmakers might soon make it a felony for failing to report a child missing or the death of a child.
News Release from Office of Sen Sam Slom February 13, 2014
HONOLULU— Senator Sam Slom, the Minority Leader in Hawaii's Senate, introduced SB2160 providing for Caylee's law. Senator Slom says
“We continue to talk about legislation to help our keiki; the Senate Minority's SB2160 contributes something meaningful for protecting our children. Too often a child goes missing and we lose valuable time that could be used to try and rescue that child. This bill provides a solution. Maybe we should name this the 'Peter Boy Kema' bill.”
In recent years the people of Hawaii looked on at the tragic events that occurred on the mainland in the case of Caylee Anthony, whose mother, Casey Anthony, was found not guilty of Caylee's murder. In that case, a child, Caylee Anthony, was missing for thirty-one days before her disappearance was reported to law enforcement authorities by her grandmother. During the ensuing missing person investigation, the mother, Casey Antony, lied to law enforcement concerning Caylee Anthony's whereabouts; these false statements are the only offenses of which Casey Anthony was convicted in the case.
Some members of the legislature recognize that current State law does not address the situation where a parent, legal guardian, or other person legally charged with the care or custody of a child fails to report the death or disappearance of the child, or where a caregiver actively conceals a child's death or disappearance. Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom introduced the bill, but it gained some bi-partisan support with Senators Suzanne Chun Oakland, William Kahele, Malama Solomon and Glann Wakai signing on as co-sponsors of the bill. Today, it gained further bipartisan support when some other senators voted in favor of passing the bill in the Committee of Human Services.
Currently, the Hawaii Department of Human Services has the names and details of 73 child disappearances and missing children some as young as 1 year and 3 years of age. See Department of Human Services - missing children.
SB2160 makes it a Class C felony, up to 5 years in jail, for a failure of a caregiver to report a child under 16 years: (i) missing within 48 hours; or, (ii) if the child is dead within 2 hours of discovery of the child's death. SB2160 would also make it a felony for a caregiver to lie to law enforcement officers to impede an investigation into the disappearance or death of a child.
Senator Sam Slom believes some tragedies involving children might be avoided if parents and caretakers inform the authorities sooner rather than later.
See also: 2014.02.13 Article in Hawaii reporter regarding SB2160
# # # # #