Family abductions are the second largest number of child abductions. The best national estimates for the number of missing children are found in the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2), released in October 2002. According to toNISMART-2, an estimated
- 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,000 children reported missing each day.
- 200,000 children were abducted by family members.
- 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members, and
- 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These crimes involve someone the child does not know or knows only slightly, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.
Parents involved in high conflict custody cases and divorce proceedings, parents in mixed culture marriages, abusive marriages, and parents with mental health problems are more likely to kidnap children. Most often preschool or younger children are taken by a parent.
Fathers and mothers are equally as likely to take a child. If you think your spouse might kidnap your child, you need to discuss the issue with your attorney. Your attorney can work with you and the court to help prevent your spouse from leaving with your child. There are no federal parental kidnapping laws. Congress enacted the PKPA in 1980 to resolve jurisdictional conflicts in child custody cases.