Tri-Cities state legislators to introduce ‘Evelyn’s Law’ to penalize parents for not reporting children missing within 48 hours

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Three Tri-Cities legislators introduced an amendment to increase the penalties against parents and guardians who do not report a missing child to law enforcement within an appropriate amount of time.

According to a release from Representative Timothy Hill (R-Blountville), State Rep. John Crawford (R-Kingsport) and State Rep. Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) joined Hill in introducing “Evelyn’s Law” on Wednesday in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

“Evelyn’s Law,” which was encouraged by an online petition, amends an existing law and changes the name in honor of missing 15-month-old Evelyn Boswell.

The changes to the bill would require parents or guardians to verbally report their child as missing, abducted or as a runaway within 48 hours of the child’s disappearance.

A written report would follow the verbal report if requested by law enforcement, according to the release.

The release says Evelyn’s Law, “applies in instances where a child’s whereabouts are unknown to a parent or guardian and that individual knows, believes, or has substantial reason to believe the child’s whereabouts are unknown to any other individual tasked with temporarily supervising a child. Situations where there is knowledge that a child has been abducted, has suffered serious bodily harm, abuse, sexual exploitation, or who has run away would also be included in reporting requirements outlined under Evelyn’s Law.”

Failure to report a disappearance or delaying the report while demonstrating a reckless disregard for the safety of the child will be considered a Class A misdemeanor, which would be punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 or both.

If a missing child receives serious bodily harm or dies as a result of a guardian failing to report the disappearance, the parent or guardian will be charged with a Class C felony, which is punishable by 3-15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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