CHARLEROI, Pa. (KDKA) - Washington County District Attorney Jason Walsh and state Rep. Natalie Mihalek are working together to change the law in Pennsylvania when it comes to the crime of concealing the death of a child. They're doing this in response to a horrific case in Charleroi involving a baby boy.
Mihalek is calling this legislation Archer's Law, named after the baby investigators found concealed in a wall inside a home in Charleroi last November. Walsh and Mihalek gathered at Courthouse Square in the City of Washington to officially announce the new bill.
"Our most precious asset in any county are our children," said Walsh.
Walsh said it's his job to protect innocent children and prosecute the people who hurt them.
This new push stems from the case involving Kylie Wilt and Alan Hollis, who are accused of hiding their dead baby's body. The child's corpse was found months after investigators believe the little boy died.
"When looking for that child, I had my office scouring our crime book and statutes that the most I could charge these individuals was a second-degree misdemeanor," said Walsh.
A second-degree misdemeanor, Walsh says, for concealing the death of a child. Walsh says he was shocked.
"The same as if you had a retail theft of a certain amount of money, the same as if you committed a simple assault," said Walsh.
He reached out to Mihalek with the hope of upgrading the law from a misdemeanor to a felony.
"Concealing the death of a child would still exist. This just adds a section onto it for aggravating circumstances. For a situation like this and there's specific language that it shocks the family conscience," said Mihalek.
Mihalek said she and Walsh discussed his concerns before a homicide charge was filed against the couple in December.
Meantime, KDKA reached out to Wilt and Hollis' family to get their thoughts on the legislation. Wilt's sister Shelby Wilt said over text that she's in support of Archer's Law, while Hollis' mother Beth Hollis said over the phone that she's touched by the law and that the punishment needs to fit the crime.
Right now, Mihalek says the legislation has 31 co-sponsors, including state Rep. Bud Cook who was also at Thursday's news conference. Mihalek says she hopes to get more support before heading to the House Judiciary Committee for a vote. Meantime, Hollis and Wilt remain behind bars.
Walsh said they will be back in court for their formal arraignment on Feb. 18 at 10 a.m.
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