Arlington Senator Promises New Caylee’s Law For Parents

By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Texas state Senator Chris Harris says he will introduce a new law to make it a felony for a parent or guardian to not report a missing child.

The Arlington Republican will name the law after Caylee Anthony, the daughter of Casey Anthony. The Florida mother did not report her daughter missing for more than a month. She later said her daughter died accidentally. Casey Anthony was found innocent this week of murder charges.

Current Texas law makes it a misdemeanor only for failing to report abuse or neglect. The Republican lawmaker says the new law will better protect missing children when every minute counts in order to find them.

Although the legislation isn’t set to be introduced until 2013, it’s already generating interest among millions – not just in Texas, but also across the country.

“People are outraged – they want justice, and there was no justice in this at all,” Diane Estrada said.

Estrada is a mother motivated by a mission. The mother of four is among the millions advocating change and protection for our state’s youngest residents. Estrada strongly supports Caylee’s Law.

“I think as a mother, all you want is the safety of your child,” she said. “Everybody will stand and yell from the rafters, but make it accountable. Let people that can make a change, change it.”

Estrada says a traumatic experience at James Bowls Park in Grand Prairie prompted her immediate support. A few years ago, Estrada says her twins went missing for almost an hour.

A miscommunication led to the confusion of her son’s whereabouts. The boys were eventually found, but it’s that memory, Estrada says, that still haunts her and lead her to sign an online petition.

“I was hysterical and that was for 30 to 40 minutes,” Estrada said. “[Caylee] went missing over 31-days. I just feel someone needs to take action – because no action was taken.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


One Comment

  1. ChrisK says:

    Chris Harris should be ashamed of himself. Trying to advance his political career on the back of this poor murdered little girl. While the Calee Anthony case is a tragedy it is not a common problem. More government is not the answer.
    While our state is being overrun with illegal aliens, our schools are being gutted and teachers are being laid off by the thousands, our governor is gallivanting around the country testing the waters for a failed Presidential run Chris Harris is back home Political grandstanding. I have never witnessed anything quite so low as trying to advance your political career on the back of a poor little dead girl. Chris Harris I don’t know how you live with yourself.

  2. BJW says:

    Sorry, but I don’t see it as advancing his career on the back of a poor little dead girl when there has been an outpouring of people who are demanding that such a law be put in place. As of yesterday 400,000 people had signed the petition at and I was one of them. I agree it’s more government that most people won’t need – who wouldn’t report their child missing? That is to say unless you had something to do with it and didn’t want the child found until it was too late for an autopsy to show how the child died. Perhaps the next child that goes missing at the had of a parent will get more justice than Calee did.

    1. ChrisK says:

      I can understand your feelings but this is an emotional response to a tragedy and not a pressing issue. This is just an excuse to give the government more power and is a slippery slope. How will you feel when your neighbor calls the cops on you because he hears you coaching your son in the back yard and thinks you are being abusive. The neighbor will be hypersensitive because they could face a felony for not reporting your alleged abuse.

      1. Jeff D Johnson says:

        Chris that already happens a lot. Busybodies who cal CPS because they think a parent shouldn’t spank their child.

    2. Elmer says:

      You need a law because since the beginning of time one woman did not report her daughter missing? Give me a break.

      1. Beverly says:

        YES, you do. Maybe the next person, for fear of being prosecuted for not doing that, will save a child’s life.
        Give ME a break.!!!

  3. Ranch Good Days says:

    This legislation is telling of the times, reactionary. Perhaps a preventative measure our society may want to consider is support for a therapeutic home for teen girls to promote at risk behavior avoidance. Send your $5, $10, or other contribution today to the Texas Girls Ranch – Ranch Good Days, PO Box 494, Troy, TX 76579.

  4. Beverly says:

    First of all, there should be a FELONY law on this subject. Second of all, Casey Anthony NEVER said it was an accident, (she never said ANYTHING) her attorney said that and NEVER provided any proof. This should not be a Dem or Rep law but a bi-partisan law for the good of the kids who have no voice and not a political issue. Had Casey Anthony told the truth instead of lying to everyone, they might have been able to have a cause of death.

    1. 2sister says:

      During the trial, they either said or implied that it was an accidental drowning..

      1. Beverly says:

        Yes, defense said that in their opening statement. Implilng something is not truth or testimony. There was no testimony given nor evidence presented on accidental drowning at all. It was said to confuse people. Just remember this, most of whatever he said in open statement he was not allowed to argue in closing statement. IF there was an accidental drowning like the defense claimed, why did she not just say so. There is NO punishment for accidental deaths of a toddler. If it was an accident, why was Caylee’s body made to look like a murder and why did she sit in jail for nearly 3 yrs for an “accidental drowning”?

  5. NiteNurse says:

    I would like to know the details of the law. Like how long do you have before it becomes a felony.

    1. Beverly says:

      Don’t know about this one but several states are making it either 24 or 48 hrs. How long should it take to report a child missing??

  6. SeenItAll says:

    And who, pray tell, will charge legal authorities for consistently ignoring parents who report neglect and abuse of their children and do NOTHING until someone is dead in domestic violence situations? Women in Texas can’t even get legal representation when they are consistently victimized and do everything in their power to protect their children!

    1. Beverly says:

      Are there not laws on the books for these situations??? If so, then they need to be enforced !!!!

  7. oldmam69 says:

    why does so many people think that another law is going to save anyone.Laws are only passed tp punish people after the act has happened.we have laws on the books that will punish the existing laws breakers-the public just wants more blood from someone.why dont the public support progams that HELP some of these struggling parents-n0 that would cost money and the public would rather spend it on throwing more people in jail instaed of trying to help some of THEM-whoever that may be.We all should hang our heads in shame.

  8. Beverly says:

    This law is NOT about children being abused or spanked at all. It is about reporting a child that is MISSING being reported within a certain time frams. Had a law be enforce in 2008, maybe Casey Anthony would have thought twice about her little girl not being reported. I think the law is a good one and could very well prevent another little Caylee Anthony not being found for 6 months – way to long for any manner of death to be determined. CPS does not get called if a child is missing. Yes, some claims about child ABUSE are reported to CPS and investigated. If there is no basis for the claim, it is not followed through. This issue of reporting a child MISSING is a totally different thing. Most people have the common sense to report them and then there may be another Casey Anthony out there and after seeing the punishment that she did not get and truly deserved and she may think twice about reporting the child. I think it is a great law. This is NOT to punish the people who do report the child missing, it is to punish the ones who DON’T.

  9. luckyjimbeaux says:

    Senator Chris Harris has the backbone we need to protect our families, and our borders….both north and south. Please run for governor….

  10. Chris Brown says:

    I think this law should have been in place a long time ago before this all happened, yet nothing was put in place till someone actually died and made news on this issue.

  11. From Columbia, SC says:

    Thank you Chris Harris. In memory of a beautiful, innocent, little girl, Caylee Marie Anthony, if passed, this law will be in memory of her death. Even if it saves one child, wouldn’t it be worth the paper it is written on and the time for the elected politicians to raise their hand to vote on it?

    A “Caylee’s Law” may be a message from God to think further as to how to protect innocent children, young and old, even if means to have tougher laws in place for the care of children.

    1. Land says:

      Pretty soon it will be a felony for me to not snoop on how you raise your children.
      And in the end I’m still powerless to prevent you or anyone else from killing their child.

      Sharia Law, Southern Dummy Style

  12. blake says:

    shouldn’t he be more concerned with education or healthcare or job creation or fracking?

  13. Scott H says:

    I’m with Chris K. We’re already overrun with laws on the books. Isn’t failing to report a missing child already covered as neglect? Chris Harris is just doing what politicians do all the time now: campaign for his next election cycle. We need to break the cycle of constant grandstanding and hold elected officials’ feet to the fire to get real change. While they talk about popular, useless things like this they’re grabbing land for unnecessary freeways, making toll roads out of highways that we paid for and giving the management contracts to foreign companies and trying to force our pre-teen girls to have untested vaccinations.

    1. Beverly says:

      Yes, Scott but it is a misdemeanor not a felony. This law would make it a Felony. We all know misdemeanor laws are not always enforced, don’t we ???

  14. callen says:

    Just what Texas needs … another law to throw distressed people in jail. Big Government in action.

  15. Land says:

    Another “feel good” law on the books from a “conservative”. A law that will have absolutely zero effect on human nature.

  16. ilvrw says:

    Sad thing is we already have laws on the books to prosecute for this action. The prosecution did not include it in their charges. Even with a new law, you still have to be charged and that is the prosecuting attorney’s job. A new law changes nothing, we still have a poor child that is dead and a mother that will be free. If we want to change laws, we should do more to protect the jurors who are being targeted after this.

    1. Beverly says:

      I agree with your statement about the jury being protected from the press. I also believe there should be something done to prevent them selling their experience of said jury for money. That is just wrong. One juror has had a 50,000.00 offer for his story and he is holding out for more..

  17. Get it straight says:

    Correction to the story – Anthony was not “found innocent”, but rather ‘not guilty”. That is a huge distinction and any professional journalist should know the difference.

  18. RussP says:

    Since this is in reaction to the Casey Anthony case, do our lawmakers really think someone would kill their child and then be worried that if they don’t report it, they will be charged with a felony? Or are they just looking for another charge to file when their prosecutors can’t prove their existing case?

  19. Ben Shaw says:

    Ms. Hernandez,

    Casey Anthony was not found innocent as you state in your article. There is no verdict of innocence in the court system. Anthony was found not guilty. All that means is the prosecution did not prove their case in chief beyond a reasonable doubt; which is the burden of proof for the state in order to get a conviction.
    Anthony could be guilty as sin, but the prosecution didn’t offer enough evidence to prove it.

    There is a reason why there is such a difference. By saying someone is innocent, you are saying they didn’t do it at all. By saying someone is not guilty, it is merely stating the case wasn’t proven to the standard (namely beyond a reasonable doubt). Thank you.

    1. Beverly says:

      Thank you very much, Ben. The jurors who have communicated with the media have ALL said they felt she was guilty but didn’t have enough evidence to convict. I watched the entire trial and I don’t agree.

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