(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as Caylee’s Law.
Terms Used In Alabama Code 13A-13-8
- Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
- following: means next after. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
- Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
- Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
- person: includes a corporation as well as a natural person. See Alabama Code 30-3D-608
(b) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
(1) ABDUCTION. The removal or retention of a child without the consent of the child’s custodian.
(2) CHILD. A person who is less than 18 years of age.
(3) CUSTODIAN. A child’s father or mother, whether biological or adoptive, a child’s legally appointed guardian, or the spouse of a child’s father, mother, or legally appointed guardian. In the case where only one parent has legal custody, the term means the parent with legal custody or his or her spouse.
(4) GUARDIAN. A guardian as defined in Section 26-2A-20.
(5) LOST CHILD. A child who is unable to find his or her way back to his or her custodian.
(6) RUNAWAY CHILD. A child who voluntarily absents himself or herself from the control of his or her custodian with intent to remain away indefinitely.
(c) A child’s custodian shall report, or cause a report to be made, to a law enforcement officer or agency that the child is missing when the child’s whereabouts are unknown to the custodian and the custodian knows, believes, or has substantial reason to believe any of the following:
(1) That the child’s whereabouts are unknown to any person under whose temporary supervision the custodian placed the child.
(2) That the child is the victim of an abduction or the victim of serious bodily harm, abuse, or sexual exploitation.
(3) That the child is a lost or runaway child.
(d) The report required under subsection (c) shall be made verbally, either by telephone or direct communication, followed by a written report as requested by a law enforcement official.
(e)(1) A child’s custodian who is subject to the duty imposed by subsection (c) is guilty of failure to report a missing child in the second degree if he or she fails or delays to make, or fails to cause to be made, the required report with willful or reckless disregard for the safety of the child.
(2) Failure to report a missing child in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
(f)(1) A child’s custodian who is subject to the duty imposed by subsection (c) is guilty of failure to report a missing child in the first degree if he or she fails or delays to make, or fails to cause to be made, the required report with willful or reckless disregard for the safety of the child and the child suffers serious bodily harm or death.
(2) Failure to report a missing child in the first degree is a Class C felony.
(g) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the custodian made reasonably diligent efforts to verify the whereabouts and safety of the child during the period of any delay in making the report required by subsection (c).