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"Levon's Law" Would Require Parents to Report Young Missing Children Within One Hour

If a child goes missing how long should parents have to report it? That question is on the minds of some in the aftermath of the disappearance and death of baby Levon Wameling. Tuesday, a local lawmaker said he has the answer.
If a child goes missing how long should parents have to report it? That question is on the minds of some in the aftermath of the disappearance and death of baby Levon Wameling. Tuesday, a local lawmaker said he has the answer.
Like all of us Legislator David Gordon has been following the case of baby Levon. His proposed “Levon's Law” would require parents or guardians to report a missing child if under the age of 4, within an hour. The plan could also send parents who fail to do so to jail.
"It will set in stone precedence that you cannot break the law; there are punishments for breaking the law and our children need to be safe, secure and accounted for," said Oneida County Legislator David Gordon.
Especially younger children and toddlers like baby Levon. Gordon’s proposed law is age specific.
"A child under the age of 4, a parent or guardian should report them missing within a reasonable amount of time, what I’ve deemed a reasonable amount of time is within an hour's time," says Gordon.
“Levon's Law” would require care takers to report a missing child between the ages of five and eight within three hours and a child between the ages of nine to 15 within 12 hours.
The only law currently in place that could be used to charge people like Jevon Wameling who do not report a missing child is “Endangerment of the Welfare of a Child” but that only results in a misdemeanor. “Levon's Law” would charge guilty guardians with Class C and D felonies.
"At best, you could probably get an endangerment charge," says Chief Mark Williams of the Utica Police Department.
Chief Williams says he's not convinced “Levon's Law” would help in crime or manslaughter cases.
"I don't think any local law is really going to have much of a difference in whether or not someone is going to report it to the police or not,” said Chief Williams.
The Chief also says he's waiting for local lawmakers to consult with him and his force.
"Especially being the largest police agency in Oneida County, you'd think they would have come to us but they haven't,” said Chief Williams.
With baby Levon fresh in the minds of Central New Yorkers, people say any child protection law is a good thing.
"In general, I think all of mankind has to be conscientious of treating children with utmost care and respect and parents especially,” says Tania Kalavazoff from Holland Patent.
"I think it would be very useful because I think that 24 hours, and now parents wait even longer, because they think that they might be out, I think it could be very useful,” said Tim Self from Schuyler.
“Levon's Law” was proposed to the Chairman of the Board on Wednesday. The Chairman now has 30 days to decide whether or not to send it to committee.
Local lawmakers say the ultimate goal is to get the state to implement legislation like “Levon's Law.”

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