CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Caylee’s Law in North Carolina is very likely the main reason the parents of missing 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari are in jail.
Cojocari’s parents were in jail days after her disappearance came to light last month.
“It certainly becomes emotional; these are the types of cases that pull at your heartstrings,” said Republican Representative Kelly Hastings, who got Caylee’s Law passed in North Carolina in 2013.
“We learned through the process that it’s important, that the first 48 hours are really important,” said Rep. Hastings.
Caylee’s Law is named after Caylee Anthony, the Florida toddler who wasn’t reported missing for a month and whose mother, Casey Anthony, went on trial but was acquitted of her little girl’s murder in 2011.
“To find that there’s a loophole and add a new provision, that was really important to do,” said Rep. Hastings.
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Caylee’s Law in N.C. makes it a felony for a parent or a caregiver not to report a child missing to law enforcement within 24 hours.
Police say it took Madalina’s mom, Diana Cojocari, and her stepfather, Christopher Palmiter, three weeks to report Madalina missing. Investigators say they only did so when school authorities confronted them.
Both are in jail for failing to report Madalina missing to the police.
Caylee’s Law was not in effect years ago during another high-profile missing child case in Rowan County, and that meant prosecutors did not have as many tools as they do now to find out what happened to Erica Parsons.
About a year and a half passed before the 13-year-old was reported missing by her adoptive brother.
Erica’s adoptive parents, Casey and Sandy Parsons were never arrested for not reporting her missing.
It took years to get them both federal fraud convictions, which eventually led to convictions and prison sentences for both of them in Erica’s murder.
In two missing child cases, one took days to put the parents in jail; the other took years.
The difference came down to one Law.
“To be elected and to have something this meaningful become law, it’s really important to me,” said Rep. Hastings.