3,200 seek law to raise penalties for failure to report missing children

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An online petition aimed at changing state laws surrounding missing children now has thousands of signatures. 

The family of 8-month old Amiah Robertson wants harsher penalties for people who don’t immediately report missing children.

Amiah disappeared on March 9. She wasn’t reported missing until more than a week later on March 16.

“If someone would have reported her missing within the first day, the whole outcome could have been different,” said the sister of Amiah’s potential father, Patricia Turner.

That’s exactly why Turner, Amiah’s potential aunt, created an online petition asking for Indiana lawmakers to create a new bill called Amiah’s Law.

“It’s heartbreaking to not know where she’s at, what happened to her, what the true story is. Nobody is coming straight and we need answers,” said Turner. 

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says baby Amiah was last seen on March 9 in the care of Robert Lyons. 

Lyons was the boyfriend of Amiah’s mother, Amber Robertson.

Robertson is not considered a suspect in the case, however Lyons is. He has not been arrested or charged.

“We had so much time lost, a week, week and a half from the last time Amiah was seen until she was reported missing,” explained Turner.

Right now, there is not a law in Indiana that penalizes parents or guardians for waiting to report a child missing. 

Turner’s online petition to change that has gotten 3,200 signatures since it was started in May. 

Turner wants Amiah’s Law to make it a felony if parents/guardians in Indiana don’t report missing children within 48 hours of their disappearance.

Turner said the law would be similar to Caylee’s Law, named after Caylee Anthony.

RELATED LINK | Family marks missing baby Amiah Robertson’s 1st birthday; no updates in case

Caylee’s Law makes it a felony for a parent or legal guardian to fail to report a missing child, in cases where the parent knew or should have known that the child was possibly in danger.

Turner hopes if the legislation is passed it will not only lead to answers for Amiah, but prevent another family from going through this too. 

“We need to protect not only our children, but other children that we see. It’s sad. You shouldn’t be told to report your child missing. If they’re missing, you report them missing immediately,” said Turner.

The little girl’s disappearance is being investigated as a homicide. News 8 reached out to IMPD Wednesday night, and was told there are no new updates in the case.

Lyons is due in court Thursday morning for a separate forgery charge.

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