Failure to report a missing child is now a crime

As the sensational trial of Casey Anthony played out last summer in Florida, it was shocking to learn that Kansas lacked a law against saying nothing when your young child dies or goes missing. Such cases are rare, thank goodness, but such a law could have applied in the case of Adam Herrman, the 11-year-old whose adoptive parents failed to report his disappearance from their Towanda mobile home in May 1999. A new law, which the House and Senate passed unanimously and Gov. Sam Brownback signed last month, makes it a nonperson felony for a parent, legal guardian or caretaker to knowingly fail to tell authorities “as soon as practically possible” when a child under 13 goes missing, or to promptly report the death of a child. As of July 1, what sounds like common sense is also the law in Kansas.