I am going to talk about something very near and dear to my heart; Parental Kidnapping & Family Abductions.
In all my research and life experiences,I have not found many a greater organization that offers any better information on this topic than the National Center for Missing And Exploited Children.
Many subject matters are covered in their publications so last night as I sifted through some resources online, downloaded this one on Family Abductions – of which I copied the information below…
I RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE AFFECTED BY THIS TRAGIC ISSUE.
I conclude the post by adding my own thoughts and unfortunate wisdom I’ve gained on the topic through my own life experiences following the excerpt.
First, I must ask a favor. It’s Almost Tuesday was born as a short story I wrote for April, 2006’s Child Abuse Awareness Month… That was 8 years ago, the age my son was (8 yrs old) when he was kidnapped from me.
So in his honor, please – if you are involved in a custody dispute and are at risk of committing a family abduction, speak to someone about your feelings before acting on them, seek help.
Hiding or secreting the whereabouts of a child out of anger, spite, hurt feelings, or whatever adult reason because of complications between the adults is WRONG and will only make matters worse.
It does not make you a bigger person or the “winner” of a dispute to take a child away from their other parent, (absent abuse-assuming the other parent is not a danger to the child, of course.)
It damages the child. Deeply.
Your child did not choose the other parent, you did. and you, the adults, are the ones choosing to end the relationship, not the child.
But unlike a spouse or partner who can divorce and maybe remarry someone else, a child only has one father and one mother.
When a loving parent-child bond is forcibly and suddenly broken by someone else – particularly when that someone else is the other parent or a family member, it’s a fate akin to that of an unexpected death.
If you know someone at risk, dont ignore red flags Please. Do not sit idly by if you see signs of a possible abduction.
Silence and inaction can be as harmful as actually doing wrong or committing or aiding in the abduction yourself.
Please – take the Children home.
FAMILY ABDUCTIONS – PREVENTION AND RESPONSE 2009 Revised Edition in pdf format can new downloaded by clicking this link. This publication is 255 pages in length; the following barely touches what all information is included in the download.
Many child abductions in the United States are committed by a parent or other family member. An estimated 203,900 children were victims of family abduction in the United States in 1999, according to the second National Incidence Studies: Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2), a study published by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice, in 2002.1
Children who are victims of family abduction are uprooted from their homes and deprived of their other parent. Often they are told the other parent no longer loves them or is dead. Too often abducted children live a life of deception, sometimes under a false name, moving frequently and lacking the stability needed for healthy, emotional development.
The term parental kidnapping describes the wrongful removal or retention of a child by a parent.
Because child kidnappings are frequently committed by other family members, the term family abduction more accurately describes such action.
Both terms are used interchangeably and both have civil and criminal meanings.
When a parental kidnapping occurs the government may pursue criminal process against the abductor if a criminal law has been violated.
-Law enforcement and prosecutors are part of the criminal-justice system.
-The left-behind parent may pursue civil remedies to prevent an abduction or recover a wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained child.
-The left-behind parent’s lawyer and the family court are part of the civil-justice system.
It is important to understand both criminal and civil remedies can be pursued when an abduction occurs.
The decision to pursue civil remedies is up to the parent, whereas the prosecutor ultimately has discretion whether to pursue criminal process.
Roles and Responsibilities of Parents/Officials:
A parent is responsible for getting and enforcing a custody determination through the courts.
Typically a parent hires a private attorney to help with the process though parents can appear pro se (without an attorney) in court as well.
A parent may also go to court for measures to prevent abduction or hold an abductor and/or accomplices civilly liable for damages resulting from the abduction.
A parent may also seek assistance from various agencies with civil remedies when his or her child has been abducted.
Such agencies include a missing-child clearinghouse and in an international-abduction case from the Missing Children Division of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and the Office of Children’s Issues (OCI) at the U.S. Department of State.
Law enforcement and prosecutors in all levels of government are responsible for investigating and prosecuting parental-kidnapping crimes.
Typically a left-behind parent’s role is to bring the case to the attention of law enforcement whose response will reflect both mandatory duties and discretionary authority.
For example law enforcement has a mandatory federal duty to enter information about each missing-child case into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center-Missing Person File (NCIC-MPF) within two hours of report receipt.2
Whether a parent will be prosecuted for abduction lies within the discretion of prosecutors.
Each parental-kidnapping case is unique, and strategic decisions are made based on the facts of the case and personalities of all involved as to whether criminal process should be used along with civil remedies.
Once law-enforcement authorities and/or prosecutors become involved in a case, they may call upon a parent in connection with the investigation or criminal trial.
A parent may request status reports about the case, but law-enforcement authorities will not release sensitive information that might jeopardize an ongoing investigation. 2
source: The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006
Preventing an Abduction
-Go to court and obtain a custody determination specifically defining custody and visitation rights and clearly stating the basis for the court’s jurisdiction and manner in which notice and opportunity to be heard were given to the parties.
-If there is a risk of abduction, ask the court to include prevention measures in the custody order.
Provide the court with evidence establishing a credible risk of abduction in your case, and request prevention measures tailored to your case.
-Abduction risk factors and personality profiles of potential abductors, as well as abduction prevention measures.
-By way of example, abduction risk factors include past abductions or abduction threats, lack of economic or familial ties to a child’s home state, and evidence of abduction planning activities.
-Check laws in your jurisdiction for abduction-prevention statutes.
A few jurisdictions already have such laws and others may soon enact the recently completed Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act.
In the absence of specific prevention statutes, judges may enter prevention orders to protect children.
Abduction-prevention measures include:
-posting a bond
-entering a child’s name in the Passport Issuance Alert Program; and
-surrendering a child’s passport(s) to the court.
*Parents can take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of abduction.
Some examples are to notify your child’s school or daycare of custody orders, flag passport applications for your child, and teach your child to use the telephone to call for help.
What to do if Your Child Is Abducted
-Once you are sure your child has been abducted, immediately call or go to your local law-enforcement agency and file a missing-person report.
-Complete the “Missing-Person Report for an Abducted Child” on page 261 of the Family Abduction guide, and bring it with you when going to your local law-enforcement agency.
-Ask law enforcement to enter information about your child into the FBI’s NCIC.
Federal law requires law enforcement to enter each missing-child case into NCIC within two hours of report receipt.
Law enforcement will decide if the circumstances of a child’s disappearance meet the protocol for activation of an America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert and/or other community notification.
-Report your child missing to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) by calling toll-free at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).
Visit NCMEC’s website at www.missingkids.com
-Verify law enforcement has made the NCIC entry.
If you cannot get this information from your local law-enforcement agency, call NCMEC tollfree at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) and ask them to check NCIC to see if your child is listed.
NCMEC can confirm NCIC entries but is not authorized to make them.
If law enforcement does not enter information about your child into NCIC, your missing-child clearinghouse may be able to help by contacting law enforcement about your case.
Contact NCMEC for additional information.
You can also ask your local FBI office to enter information about your child into NCIC.
The Missing Children Act authorizes the FBI to make such entries.
Contact information for the FBI is available in your local telephone book and at www.fbi.gov.
If you suspect your child has been taken out of the country, call NCMEC tollfree at
and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues toll-free at
or by dialing directly at 202-736-9090 for advice about what to do.
-Find out if you have a remedy under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention).
If you do, consider filing an application under the Hague Convention for your child’s return.
If you do not have a passport, apply for one in the event you have to travel outside of the United States to recover your child.
Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website at www.travel.state.gov, and click on the “Apply for a Passport” link.
-If your child is in the process of being abducted internationally by a family member, contact the Office of Children’s Issues without delay toll-free at
1-888-407-4747 or by dialing directly at
*Also call NCMEC tollfree at
1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) and report the abduction to your local FBI office.
Ask to speak to the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Coordinator.
The FBI has jurisdiction to investigate violations of the federal International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act (IPKCA).
-If an international abduction is in progress, urge law enforcement to immediately contact the U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB)-INTERPOL for help in intercepting the abductor.
USNCB-INTERPOL does not respond to requests directly from parents.
Law-enforcement agencies may contact USNCB-INTERPOL directly or through the INTERPOL State Liaison Office.
Law-enforcement agencies in the United States may contact USNCB-INTERPOL directly through Nlets, The International Justice and Public Safety Network, at DCINTER00.
-Parents concerned about an abduction-in-progress should also immediately contact NCMEC; OCI;
transportation carriers the abductor may use such as airlines, train and bus companies;
and local lawenforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials at airports and other transportation facilities the abductor may use.
Put them all on notice of the imminent abduction and request help in preventing your child’s removal from the country.
-Provide a photograph of your child and suspected abductor if available.
Please remember abductors may use remote or distant transportation facilities instead of those closest to the abduction site.
Contact your missing-child clearinghouse and any local nonprofit, missingchildren organization (NPO) for whatever assistance they may provide.
Referrals to other NPOs are available from the Association of Missing and Exploited Childrens Organizations Inc. (AMECO) by calling toll-free at
1-877-263-2620, dialing directly at 703-838-8379, or visiting www.amecoinc.org.
-If you do not already have a custody order, immediately get one. Consider hiring a lawyer to help you.
A temporary custody order is usually enough to get help from law-enforcement authorities at least until your child is located.
-You do not need a custody order to file a missing-person report or have your child’s description entered into NCIC.
A court can issue a custody order even if your child has been abducted from your jurisdiction or outside of the country and you were never legally married to the abductor.
If the abductor’s whereabouts are unknown, making it impossible for you to serve him or her personally with notice of the lawsuit, you are allowed to give notice by publication.
*The sooner you act the more likely it is you can prevent the abductor from getting a valid custody determination from another jurisdiction or country.
This in turn will make it easier for you to enforce your custody order and recover your child.
-If you already have a custody order get additional copies from the court.
It is helpful to have at least one, but preferably two or three, certified copies available to show or give to law-enforcement and other agencies.
-Consider asking law enforcement or the prosecutor to file criminal charges against the abductor.
Weigh the pros and cons of such action.
You must be prepared to press charges after your child is returned.
(In some international-abduction cases foreign judges applying the Hague Convention will not return a child to the United States if criminal charges are pending in this country against the abductor. )
-If you want to press charges meet personally with the local prosecutor to discuss prosecution.
Be aware that the criminal law in your jurisdiction or the jurisdiction in which your child is located may or may not cover the abductor’s conduct.
-Even if the abductor is criminally charged and government is proceeding against the abductor, you should be prepared to bring a civil action in court to enforce your custody order when the child is located.
If the prosecutor charges the abductor with a felony, law-enforcement authorities should promptly enter the felony warrant into NCIC.
-NCIC files for the child and abductor should be cross-referenced. Ask law enforcement or NCMEC to verify these NCIC entries have been made.
If there is evidence the abductor has fled the state or country to avoid felony prosecution, also ask the prosecutor to apply to the local U.S. Attorney for a federal Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution (UFAP) warrant pursuant to the Fugitive Felon Act.
If a UFAP warrant is issued the FBI can conduct an investigation to find the abductor.
If your child has been abducted from the United States, or such conduct has been attempted, or wrongfully retained in another country, a federal law violation may have occurred.
Consider meeting with the U.S. Attorney to discuss possible charges under the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act.
As described above, criminal charges against the abductor may interfere with your efforts under the Hague Convention to secure your child’s return.
Discuss this possible pitfall with the federal prosecutor.
-Conduct your own search while law enforcement is conducting its investigation.
If you have questions about a particular search method, including whether it would interfere with the criminal investigation, check with law enforcement before proceeding.
-Contact the crime victims’ assistance office in your jurisdiction, as well as the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) in the federal government, to find out if any assistance, such as financial, counseling, or otherwise, is available to help you with locating and recovering your child.
OVC can be reached at 202-307-5983 or www.ovc.gov.
After Your Child is Located
-To facilitate enforcement of your custody order, file or register your custody order with the local family court in the jurisdiction where your child is located.
Follow procedures set forth in the law of that jurisdiction.
-If the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) is in effect, send a certified copy of your custody order to the clerk of the court for filing.
Under the UCCJA, once filed, a sister-jurisdiction order is entitled to be enforced as if it were a local order.
If the jurisdiction in which your child is located has enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), streamlined procedures in that law allow, but do not require, you to register your custody order.
Registration is designed to simplify and expedite enforcement proceedings at a later date.
A registered child-custody order can be enforced as if it were a local custody order.
-Ask local law enforcement authorities to help with the recovery.
The UCCJEA in many jurisdictions authorizes prosecutors, and law enforcement acting on their request, to assist with civil enforcement of custody orders.
This statutory role is discretionary, however, and they may not get involved.
In some jurisdictions law enforcement may assist based on custom and practice or written guidelines.
In many jurisdictions, however, local law enforcement will not help recover an abducted child without a local court order.
-Filing or registering your order, see above, should be sufficient for law enforcement inclined to help.
It may be necessary to petition the court where your child is located to enforce your custody order.
A lawyer can help you do this.
– If notice of an enforcement proceeding, or other court action such as registration, is likely to cause the abductor to flee with or endanger your child, you can ask the court to issue a special pick-up order for your child.
-If your child is located in another country, consider hiring an attorney in that country to help recover your child.
This may entail filing a petition for return under the Hague Convention, if it is in effect, or an action asking the foreign court to enforce your U.S. order or issue its own custody order.
-Send copies of your custody order and any criminal warrants for the abductor to your attorney.
Note: Some Hague Convention countries provide counsel for the applicant-parent.
-Take steps to prevent a repeat abduction.
Consider going back to court after your child is recovered to limit the abductor’s visitation rights and add prevention provisions to your custody decree to reduce the risk of another abduction.
-Consider seeking psychological help for every family member to help with the reunification process.
-Consider filing a child-snatching lawsuit against the abductor and any accomplices.
-Be responsive to prosecutors’ requests as they prepare and present the government’s criminal case against the abductor.
This handbook contains step-by-step information for those who have experienced a family abduction or are trying to prevent one.
It was published in cooperation with the American Bar Association. This handbook guides families through the civil and criminal justice systems, explains relevant laws, outlines prevention methods and provides suggestions for aftercare following a family abduction.
In addition the handbook thoroughly details search and recovery strategies and contains valuable information for attorneys, prosecutors and family court judges working on these difficult cases. 244 pp.
These are excerpts from the Family Abduction Prevention and Response 2009 Sixth Edition Revised by Patricia M. Hoff, Esquire
Copyright © 1985, 2002, and 2009 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®. All rights reserved.
Charles B. Wang International Children’s Building 699 Prince Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3175 U.S.A. 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678)
This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.
The publisher is distributing this publication with the understanding that neither it nor the author is engaged in rendering legal advice or other professional services herein.
If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, professional services should be sought.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2007-MC-CX-K001 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or American Bar Association. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children®, 1-800-THE-LOST®, and CyberTipline® are registered service marks of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
A Reminder From Its Almost Tuesday: this guide has awesome information which Is why I chose to share it.
PARENTAL KIDNAPPING IS VERY COMMON AND DIFFICULT TO ENDURE AS THE LEFT BEHIND PARENT.
CONSULTING AN ATTORNEY WITH THE RIGHT EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE IN DEALING WITH THESE CASES IS VERY IMPORTANT.
I cannot express that it is so important to have competent legal counsel!
AS TO THE LONG TERM EFFECTS OF FAMILY ABDUCTIONS FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS FIRST HAND-
There are so many words but still never sufficient to describe the devastating damage that is done to the parent/child relationship when a family abduction case is mishandled.
There is usually a co-existing parental alienation syndrome involved especially when the child Is not recovered abd brought home early on. The devastation when a child Is never brought home, as was the case with my child, Is life taking.
The suicide rate is sky high for alienated left behind parents. And there is such difficulty getting the right help needed by those parents.
When cases are not handled properly by law enforcement or the courts the end result is tragic. Truly tragic.
COLLIN COUNTY did it to me.
ALLOWED MY SON TO BE KIDNAPPED BY HIS BIOLOGICAL FATHER AND GRANDMOTHER.
IT TOOK OUR LIVES APART.
OVER TEN YEARS- MORE THAN A DECADE PASSED BEFORE WE BRIEFLY REUNITED AND STILL OUR RELATIONSHIP IS NOT ALLOWED BY THE GRANDMOTHER ..IN ALL HER SPITE AND BITTERNESS.
THE BIOLOGICAL FATHER IS IN PRISON FOR THE FORESEEABLE REMAINDER OF HIS LIFE FOR CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN. CRIMES THEY KNEW ABOUT WHEN THEY USED HIM TO HELP TAKE MY SON.
MY PRECIOUS SON IS AN ADULT NOW, 18 YEARS OF AGE, BUT STILL FEARS TALKING TO ME, SEEING ME, OR KNOWING ME AGAIN.
WHY? Is it BECAUSE OF THE ALIENATION INFLICTED ON HIM BY HIS GRANDMOTHER?
Brainwashing? Threats or fear or what? J don’t know.
I CAN’T TELL YOU ENOUGH THE PAIN IVE SUFFERED.
First I survived losing my beloved 8 year old son, in a most heinous manner. The kidnapping was planned for years, by my own mother. I knew we had issues in our relationship but never will I understand how a mother ..my own mother could have intentionally chosen to betray me to that extent.i am still her flesh and blood daughter, who was cast asids for a pedophile she joined forces with to abduct my child. It was her preferred means to her end goal, rather than attempting to reconcile mine and her differences, she preferred using a known child molester to gain access to the courts, destroying me with a child manipulation of the family court system. She gathered social workers and judges, and members of her church (a well known Texas church Prestonwood Baptist Church to campaign a full on attack against me and my son. She even used the church TO FUND HER attorneys fees and help a CHILD MOLESTER TO PAY ATTORNEYS THAT WERE WELL ACQUAINTED ENOUGH WITH THE LOCAL COURT TO PULL OUT OFF.
EVERY ONE OF THEM FAILED TO SEEK THE TRUTH OR FAILED TO LISTEN TO THE TRUTH, AND DESTROYED A LOVING FAMILY BOND.
TO THEM WE MAY HAVE JUST BEEN A CASE BACK IN 2004 they recall, but to me it’s still a daily fight to survive it.
DO THEY EVER STOP TO THINK THEY ALLOWED TWO ANGRY SPITEFUL PEOPLE TO KIDNAP MY CHILD-my SON, against the custody order of my son’s home state of Florida.
Imagine it being your child.
Then I waited and dreamed of him and grieved for ten years. Ten long desperate years. I am here, only by barely holding on to the tiny bit of hope I found in the belief that when he turned 18 it would end.
I DIDN’T EXPECT IT TO CONTINUE.
YET MY SON’S REACHING ADULT STATUS DID NOT END MY NIGHTMARE.
THE EFFECTS OF ALL OF THIS, THE ABDUCTION, AND ALIENATION OBVIOUSLY HAS CAUSED SUCH A DISTANCE BETWEEN US, THE REUNIFICATION PROCESS HAS NOT BEGUN YET.
I wasnt prepared for this to happen. I imagined we’d run open arms back to being in each other’s lives again.
I was wrong. Oh God how much more can I take?
I held on to that 18th birthdate as the date I had to make it to in order to survive my pain-just to find out there is no end date.
My grief runs even deeper now.
Now, it is combined now with allot of anger, confusion, fears, and hopelessness I never imagined possible.
Everyday I ask myself if I can go on, wondering if we will ever be as close as we were when he was taken at age 8?
Will we ever heal?
I am afraid my son has chosen to reject me because of the painful memories that- I know- must be brought back to life by seeing me again.
There’s no denying just by my physical appearance that losing him took its toll on me.
My 8 year old child had known me as a bright-eyed fun-vivacious -young mother.
I was full of hope for our future.
I laughed. I went out and sang karaoke, danced.
I went to the beach often,tanned,and i had a social circle of other mothers and our bowling league. I had manicured nails freshly done every two weeks.
I know that’s the mother he remembers.
I know, that to see me now, even if only in photos arranged side by side, or especially in life, it’s obvious…
people have described it as “wow, they killed you”- & yes they’re right.
I’ve spent the last 11 years fighting life on every front, and the battles waged against me were not small either.
Ive been left here the shell of a person.
I am an empty woman now.I am the ghost of the mother I once was.
I have scars inside and out, covering my body, from hard living on the streets,and from deadly infections that left me disfigured for almost a year when my stress level took me down.
I was covered with hives that led to MRSA covering my face leaving scars.
I’ve been incarcerated, in fights, beaten, raped, my face sliced, my wrists sliced, my body burned, leaving scars.
my ability to walk and to be mobile and independent has been taken from me in a violent car wreck followed by three years of homelessness I’ve overcome, leaving scars.
I made it this far, but Not without it’s wears and tears tho.
My face is no longer bright eyed and happy, it’s tired.
My eyes have lost the sparkle of life.
My body her has countless scars head to toe. My