Archive for the ‘Family Abduction Prevention Act’ Category

Missouri legislators Sen. Chris Koster, along with Sens. Victor Callahan and Jolie Justus are lobbying for stricter parental kidnapping penalties according to the Kansas City Star.

The proposal calls for a maximum punishment of seven years in prison if a parent conceals or detains a child for 60 days up to 119 days. Someone who kidnaps his or her own child for 120 or more days faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted.

The article cites the case of Daniel Porter who kidnapped and murdered his children Sam and Lindsey. The headline read:

 Porter case spawns calls for tougher parental kidnapping laws

He is currently serving life in prison, with no chance of parole.

“I think this will have a real deterrent effect on the majority of (parental kidnapping) cases we have,” he said. “The parent not inclined to return their child, whether it’s over animosity for the spouse or just general discontent for the whole process … if you face up to 15 years in prison, that’s a real deterrent.”

There are currently 598 reported missing children listed at the NCMEC as victims of Case Type: Family Abduction. It is estimated there are 203,900* children reported annually meeting this criteria.

Some of the missing were victims of family abductions involving attacks or murders.

Danielle Jimenez

Edwin Sanches Gonzalez

Jessica Vargas Biatriz



*NISMART-2, October 2002. Children Abducted by Family Members: National Estimates and Characteristics


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An Amber Alert has been issued  canceled for a child in Kentucky. While speed is critical in issuing an Alert, accuracy helps as well. His name is apparently Billy Wyatt Mapel and though he is listed at the Kentucky Amber Alert portal as age-8, he is actually 8 months old.

BREAKING NEWS out of Kentucky. An Amber Alert has been issued by the State Police post in Morehead, Kentucky. Police say an 8-month-old baby was taken after a domestic argument in Jeffersonville, that’s in Montgomery County.

The baby’s name is Billy Maple.

Kentucky Amber Alert portal

NCMEC    Billy Wyatt Mapel

Update 12-10-07

Robin Clay Mapel, 43, has surrendered to authorities at the Montgomery County Regional Jail.

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There are currently only three Hague Cases involving missing children listed at the NCMEC as compared to 582 children listed as missing due to a Family Abduction. The NCMEC handles incoming Hague cases on behalf of the Office of Children’s Issues under a tri-party agreement with the Department of State, as U.S. Central Authority, and OJJDP but what is it’s role in outgoing cases?

While you will find plenty of information should your child be abducted abroad, or if a foreign child is brought to this country, it is not so easy to figure out where to turn if your child is abducted in the U.S. and taken out of this country.

The NCMEC, for example, lists 57 children who were abducted from the U.S. by a non-custodial parent where the abductor is suspected of traveling to Mexico as the possible location. Who is working with custodial parents to return those children?

The Hague Convention is a civil legal mechanism available to parents seeking the return of, or access to, their child. As a civil law mechanism, the parents, not the governments, are parties to the legal action.The countries that are party to the Convention have agreed that a child who is habitually resident in one party country, and who has been removed to or retained in another party country in violation of the left-behind parent”s custodial rights, shall be promptly returned to the country of habitual residence. The Convention can also help parents exercise visitation rights abroad.

Reading this statement from The Department of State, you might conclude the child has to be taken overseas to even qualify as an international parental abduction.

The Department of State considers international parental child abduction, as well as the welfare and protection of U.S. citizen children taken overseas, to be important, serious matters. We place the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been victimized by international abductions.

While non-family stranger abduction cases garner most the headlines, most missing children are either runaways or victims of family abductions. Do you remember these high profile international custody battles?

  • Anna Mae He  a Chinese girl in a Tennessee custodial dispute
  • Mary Ann Barcaro the grandmother jailed in Florida for contempt serving four months until the childrens return from France
  • Myriam Bédard the former Olympic skier accused of kidnapping her 12-year-old daughter now on trial. A judge has sentenced former Olympic champion Myriam Bedard to a conditional discharge and two years’ probation for violating a child custody order

Is your understanding your children would be returned with the help of the U.S. government if they were abducted by a spouse or other family member? Would you expect assistance in the case of an international child abduction involving a non-custodial parent?

Statistics reveal the lack of impact of the 1993 law designed to stop international child abduction. Records show there were 2,347 cases officially reported to federal authorities from 1994 to 1999, but only 503 children returned to the U.S. (Parents were granted access to their children in 50 other cases, though these children remained abroad. During this same period, the FBI launched criminal probes in 331 cases

 — less than 15 percent of all the international parental abduction cases reported to U.S. authorities. Two-thirds of these cases wound up being handled by U.S. prosecutors, but only 62 cases resulted in criminal indictments. In the five-year period after Congress passed the law making international parental kidnapping a felony, there were 13 convictions

 — roughly half of one percent of all these cases handled by the federal authorities.Experts say the official numbers seriously undercount the real numbers of abducted children still abroad illegally. The State Department reported that about half of all the reported cases were marked as officially “closed” during the period from 1994 to 1999. But the fine print in federal reports notes that 646 cases were “closed” because local courts refuse to hear the cases, because the left-behind parents didn’t follow through on their complaint, or because the case dragged on for so long that the abducted child is now over age 16, the limit for Hague cases. None of these 646 closed cases were “solved” with the return of an abducted child to America.


So why are there only three children ?

Recently,  State Department spokeswoman Megan Mattson was quoted as saying about 3,000 abducted U.S. children are currently in other countries, including 70 in Brazil, fifth most after Mexico, India, Japan and Canada.

You may want to view this NCMEC Publication, “The Kid is With a Parent, How Bad Can it Be?”: The Crisis of Family Abductions.

Update 01-31-09:  There are now 37 children listed as Case Type: Hague cases at the NCMEC many dating back prior to this post.

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The authorities believed him to be armed and dangerous but his estranged wife felt otherwise. Another stabbing, another parent,  this time resulting in death in San Bernadino, California.   “Missing Kids Found With Murder Suspect

 Just minutes after issuing an amber alert for 4 children in San Bernardino County, a motorist spotted the suspect’s mini van on the 210 freeway.

He allegedly stabbed his estranged wife’s boyfriend prior to kidnapping the children according to ABC 7.

 Police say this all started early Sunday morning at a house on the 1400 block of North Bell in San Bernardino. They say Sanchez had gone over to the house where his estranged wife was living. For some reason, Sanchez got into an argument with her. In the bedroom at the time was the wife’s live-in boyfriend. Police say that’s when Sanchez got violent and stabbed the boyfriend to death.

In Tennessee the search is on for a missing child. She is not listed at the NCMEC nor is she the subject of an Amber Alert. She is listed at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

Police Search For Missing 3-Year-Old

A warrant has been issued for Keiya Simmons’ arrest for custodial interference. 

Police said Simmons may be traveling with two rented moving vans toward North Carolina. 

Police said the child’s mother is a belly dancer who travels with a troupe. They also said she has numerous Turkish and Chinese writing tattoos on her body.

Update 08-23-07 The child’s poster has been removed from the TBI site.

Note: Elsewhere in Tennessee

The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office has requested SLED to activate an Amber Alert after 27-year-old Michael Lowe, of Greeneville, Tenn., abducted his three children from their mother at 4273 Santolina Way in Murrells Inlet. The Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office is also asking for the publics help in locating the children and suspect,” Sgt. Neil Johnson wrote in the department’s release

Update: The alert for Michael Lowe has been canceled and he has been arrested.

Related Posts:  

Texas child beyond missing?

Violent family abductions

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In another case of a violent family abduction, the father allegedly stabbed the child’s mother and kidnapped the infant.

TEXAS CITY — An Amber Alert has been issued for a missing Texas City infant whose mother was stabbed Friday night. Police believe the boy’s father, who is a registered sex offender has the infant.

The 1-year-old’s information is not listed at the NCMEC even though the Amber Alert was issued yesterday evening. This seemed odd except that the Texas Amber Alert system is administered by Beyond Missing. However, if you visit their site there is neither an Amber Alert or Missing Child Alert for him.

 Beyond Missing    Amber Alert    Missing Child Alert

 Governor Rick Perry had this to say about the Texas Amber Alert Network.

“When a child is abducted, every minute counts. That’s why I am implementing the Texas Amber Alert Network to ensure that every available resource is used to return abducted children safely to their loved ones…”

Police are searching for a blue 2004 Toyota Camry with Texas license plate X42KDC.

Update 08-18-07  The supsect is believed to be at large.

TEXAS CITY — An Amber Alert issued for a Texas City infant was cancelled Saturday after the boy was found safe.

Note: Some news reports identify him as Bruce Jonathon Smother while others as Bruce Jonathon Strother.

Update 08-18-07  A person KHOU Channel 11 identifies as Bruce Smother was arrested outside Dallas.

According to The Galveston Daily News, Capt. Brian Goetschius of Texas City police said Bruce J. Strothers is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and is held on a $150,000 bond.

Related Posts:   

Grant or gift it is the season

Violent family abductions

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In Oregon as in most states, an Amber Alert  is not issued when a child runs away (regardless of their age) or if it involves a custodial situation. There are 21 children in Oregon listed at the NCMEC as missing. These are some of the children listed as “Endangered Missing” or “Endangered Runaways”. Some are believed to be traveling with an adult.


Samuel Savage Becker Boehlke
Missing Since: 10/14/06
Age Now: 8

Deysi Adilene Cisneros
Missing Since: 4/6/07
Age Now: 12

Miriam Cruz-Torres
Missing Since: 1/28/05
Age Now: 15

Esmeralda Salazar-Penaloza
Missing Since: 2/24/06
Age Now: 14

Joshua Allan Stoll-Underwood
Missing Since: 12/6/06
Age Now: 15

Jacob Thorpe
Missing Since: 4/10/07
Age Now: 15

Since 2002, Amber Alerts have been activated 12 times in Oregon — none of those incidents stemmed from Malheur County — and 14 children were recovered.Even though children are taught about “stranger danger,” none of the state’s activations involved child abductions by strangers, OSP Capt. Ed Mouery said.Amber Alerts in Oregon are a “low-frequency, high risk type of deal,” Mouery said.

Argus Observer

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Arkansas State Police issued a Morgan Nick Amber Alert for a 2-year-old boy after his mother was found dead. The boy was later found safe. The father turned himself into authorities in what may be a growing trend of alleged abductions amidst suspicious circumstances.

KATV: Police believe 2-year-old Carson Parker was taken by his non-custodial father, 33-year-old Kristopher Parker. Local police found Carson’s mother, Tiffany Parker, who is the estranged wife of Kristopher, dead in her home late Thursday night.

Last year several children who remain missing were victims of family abductions involving attacks or murders.

 Danielle Jimenez

 Edwin Sanches Gonzalez

Jessica Vargas Biatriz

Related Post: Violent family abductions

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