Sioux Falls, SD
This week’s arrests following the death of two-year-old RieLee Lovell are the first since a new South Dakota Law makes it illegal not to report a child's death.
The law went on the books officially July 1. Authorities believe Lovell died July 3. But, her body was not discovered until July 4.
While debated in Pierre last session, it was known as Senate Bill 43. But it's commonly known as South Dakota's Caylee Anthony Law, named for the Florida girl who went missing in 2008 and who's mother, Casey Anthony, didn't report the disappearance for 30 days.
South Dakota’s law states parents, guardians, and caretakers who knowingly do not tell authorities about a child's death for six hours can be charged with a felony. It also addresses missing children. So, when the adult responsible for a missing child fails to report the child is missing within 48 hours, they can be held responsible under this new law.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley pushed for the law and it had widespread support and sailed through both the House and Senate.
“When I further explained we've had two instances in recent past that this type of law could assist with, I think it was that combination of that as well as some examples to happen to show the legislature it was important they ultimately decided to put forth this type of legislation and of protecting children,” Jackley said.
Details about the 11 year-old boy involved in the Wagner case are scarce because he is a minor. Police found the two-year-old's body wrapped in a blanket in a closet.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.