On July 17th, both Taylor Cournoyer and Laurie Cournoyer were arrested and charged with 5 counts of child abuse, as well as failing to notify police of the death of a child. The couple, who were taking care of a 2 year old girl and a few other children, were allegedly “binging on drugs” for 14 hours before calling 911. They are the first to be charged under a new law passed in South Dakota. The law states that a parent, caretaker, or guardian, who knowingly fails to report a death of a child within six hours of the occurrence may face felony charges. This is a charge punishable up to five years in prison. This new law is modeled after “Caylee’s Law,” which was passed in 2008 after little Caylee Anthony went missing and was not reported for 31 days.
The couple who had been using sleeping pills, methamphetamine, and marijuana during the course of the day had pleaded not guilty on all charges for the death of the two year old girl. They found the child dead in a closet, but when questioned they could not recall who had placed the child in the closet. Taylor and Laurie had also admitted to not providing food for the child, reason being that the family had been “roughing it out” during the past month and did not have any available food. Some how they managed to scrounge up some money for sleeping pills, methamphetamine, and marijuana though. An autopsy has been done on the child but the reason for death has not yet been released.
When Laurie Cournoyer’s Lawyer was contacted he did not disclose any information other than to say that he will “vigorously defend” his client against all charges. It is hard to believe that two allegedly responsible adults could allow something like this to happen to an innocent child. Thus justifying Caylee’s Law and proving the devastating effects that methamphetamines have on individuals and the community as a whole.