Justice for Caylee? Okla. woman thinks petition may help

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SALT LAKE CITY — In the storm of media coverage and national reaction to her mother's verdict, many are asking how do we find justice for Caylee Anthony?

Casey Anthony never reported her daughter, Caylee, missing. Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008, but her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, didn't called police until a month later.

Even if she is truly not guilty for the murder, not being punished for failing to report Caylee's disappearance is wrong.

–Michelle Dawn Crowder

Michelle Dawn Crowder, an Oklahoma mother of two, has taken an idea called Caylee's Law into a change.org campaign.

"Even if she is truly not guilty for the murder, not being punished for failing to report Caylee's disappearance is wrong," Crowder said in an online interview with CNN.

More than 37,000 people agree. They have signed an online petition pushing for a law that would make it a federal offense, a felony, for parents or guardians not to notify law enforcement in a timely manner of a missing child.

Paul Murphy, communications director for the Utah Attorney General's Office, has worked on both state and national missing children policies. He says whether this idea ever becomes law, people should follow their instincts about children.


"If you suspect your neighbor's child is missing for a long period of time, you probably should report it. Sometimes people are suspicious for a reason," Murphy said. "If a child's life is in danger, you're better safe than sorry."

He says the Amber Alert system works, and so does the Endangered Person Advisory. These policies came from community experiences.

Liz Sollis, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Human Services, recognizes the reaction on this national story and says even with a tragic outcome we can all learn from this.

"Our division can help them in some of those cases — help relieve that stress, help them get connected with counseling, help them create support systems in their community," Sollis said. "Depending on what happened with the child, we can come up with safety plans for them so it doesn't happen again."

Representatives from the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Utah Department of Public Safety say a missing child is a child in danger and remind us that many children wander away from families and friends and die in accidents.

Email: cmikita@ksl.com

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Carole Mikita


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