Important Plans Of Action For Recovery Of A Child Abducted By A Family Member In the past, parents feared strangers lurking in the dark waiting to snatch their children. However, this is no longer the case as current statistics show that family and parental abductions account for a majority of missing children cases.
Below are some guidelines intended to help if you suspect that your child has been abducted by a family member. These are guidelines are not intended to be completely comprehensive or to be followed step-by-step.
NOTE: The National Child Search Assistance Act of 1990 changed regulations so that there is no mandatory waiting period to report your child as missing. This includes runaways.
1. Report You Missing Child to The Police As Soon As Possible:
- As soon as you report your child missing, you will need to obtain a case number and contact information for the person/s handling your case.
- Let law enforcement know about any special medical or mental issues with your child, drug abuse or mental problems of the abducting parent, any documented child abuse or violence by the abducting parent, or any threats of violence against your child. You may need to provide written documentation, so have any paperwork copied and ready.
- Do not hesitate to ask that your child be entered into the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC) as soon as possible. Once this has been done you will be given a nine-digit NCIC number.
- Law enforcement officials will likely request photographs of your child and the abducting family member. Ensure that you have multiple copies of whatever photograph you provide.
- You will also need to contact the District Attorney as soon as possible and ask them to issue a warrant for the arrest of the abducting party.
- If the abducting party is a custodial parent, the other parent can file a missing person’s report with the local police. You may also need to provide your local police with a copy of your custody order.
- Request that law enforcement use the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) to help locate the abducting parent as soon as possible.
- Research and ensure that law enforcement and anyone else assisting you are knowledgeable about family abduction laws, Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution (UFAP) warrants, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act of 1968 and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.
- Get the FBI involved if you are the custodial parent. If a victim is gone for more than 24 hours, there is a presumption that he or she has been taken across state lines. This allows the FBI and other federal authorities to get involved as soon as possible. If you suspect that the abductor’s family and friends are assisting in the abduction, ask law enforcement officials to advise them of potential criminal penalties.
2. Make Yourself Available For Communication At All Times:
It may seem like simple common sense, but you should be available at all times in case there are changes and updates with your child’s case.
- Keep paper or a notebook next to the phone to record incoming and outgoing calls you make, phone numbers, names and information from agencies, friends, relatives and police. This information could be critical in assisting law enforcement officials.
- Make sure your phone has call waiting and try to have someone available to answer the phone at all times.
- Make sure you have voicemail up and functioning. Have your voicemail greeting address the missing child. Be sure to mention that you will accept collect calls about leads on the whereabouts of your child.
- Have your home phone forward calls to your cell phone anytime you leave the house.
3. Contact Additional Resources To Spread The Word To As Many People As Possible:
- Do an internet search to find as many resources as possible to contact and spread the word about your missing child.
- Contact local newspapers and community groups to post fliers and offer a reward for information leading to the return of your child.
- Get in touch with the Polly Klaas® Foundation. They have great resources for how to make personalized missing child posters for your child that can be posted in your town and on their website.
- Immediately report your child’s abduction to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) (800) 843-5678.
- Be sure to also list information about your child and the abductor on your State Missing Children’s Clearinghouse. Make sure to also list the information with clearinghouses in any states or other countries which you believe the abductor may have taken your child.
This list is not intended to be entirely comprehensive. It is intended only to assist parents to recover their child in the case of abduction by a family member. For more tips and advice, contact your local police department or FBI office.
About The National Academy for Child Abduction Prevention Associates, LLC:
Founded in 2013 by Roy M. Doppelt, Esq., the National Academy for Child Abduction and Prevention Associates, LLC is an Academy of family law attorneys advocating prevention of child abduction through public education and professional collaboration. We believe that educating the public about kidnapping and its prevention is a paramount duty of attorneys who represent family law clients.