Weather-Related Disclaimer: missives from legislators concerning road conditions, although timely and important, should be considered snapspots in time. For the most recent travel information, please consult MoDOT's Web site at

except when the post starts "MO Expat", all content published on Missives from Missouri is written and supplied by the noted legislator. Said missives will not necessarily reflect the views of Kyle Hill, the operator of Missives from Missouri, and as such the operator does not assume responsibility for its content. More information
Share this missive:

19 July 2011

Ridgeway: Caylee Anthony's Case and Missouri Law

While it is true that most times all politics are local, sometimes an issue in one state garners the attention of the entire country. Such has been the case of Caylee Anthony’s disappearance and death and the subsequent acquittal of her mother, Casey Anthony. Media coverage of the trial has sparked discussion and emotions from coast to coast.

My office has been deluged with correspondence related to this issue. In speaking with other legislators, I find the same thing has been happening in their offices. This is an event which has captured the attention of Americans from all walks of life.

The letters, calls, and emails I have received range from outrage over the acquittal to concern that such a situation could occur here in Missouri. We have been proactive in our state in taking steps to keep something similar from happening. It is illegal to abandon a corpse in Missouri and entities such as schools and hospitals are mandated to report the death of a child. In addition, there is also a law which sets up a child death review board in certain situations.

This is not to say we can’t, and possibly should, do more. The legislature is currently not in session and will not reconvene until January. As such, legislation cannot be introduced or passed until that time. However, I have initiated contact with those on the front lines of investigating and prosecuting the deaths of children to get their ideas of what steps we should possibly be taking.

Although we may never know exactly what happened to Caylee, we do know her mother did not report her missing, even after weeks of not seeing her. This alone destroys valuable evidence and hinders any investigation. Making it a felony to not report a missing child within a certain period of time could give another tool to law enforcement and prosecutors.

There can never be a replacement for a loving family to watch over and protect children. I certainly do not want our society become more of a nanny state than it is already. We do however, need mechanisms in place to punish, and hopefully deter, behavior which leads to children, or anyone for that matter, being harmed or, in the case of Caylee, murdered.

I appreciate everyone who has made the effort to contact my office. Seeing so many people take the time to become involved in an issue in which they believe confirms my faith in the people of this great state.

No comments:

Post a Comment