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.)