A Chicago area child was recently abducted by her father – who allegedly planned to take her to Jordan. Had the father succeeded, the baby girl would likely not have returned home to the US – or seen her US family members again.
Jordan is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction – and custody laws there favor fathers. But the pair didn’t make it there. And the child was home in about a week.
Almost 800,000 children were reported missing in the US in 1999, the time of the last major survey.
And of them, only a handful, 115, were kidnapped by a stranger, for ransom or murder, the kind of kidnapper that most people think of when they think of a “kidnapper”.
115 … out of 800,000.
In child kidnappings, the reality is that the kidnapper is 4 times more likely to be a family member than a stranger, like this baby girl’s father.
In fact, half of child kidnappers are the children’s biological fathers. One quarter, their biological mothers.
But the fact that the kidnapper is a parent or other close relative does not mean that the child victim is safe, in good hands.
Nearly half of family abductions are foiled within a week. Only one-fifth of such cases remain unsolved after a month.
But where things tend to get more complicated is where the family member abductor whisks the child out of the country, particularly to a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. As the Chicago girl’s father reportedly planned to do.
It can take much longer to retrieve those children … if they can even be retrieved at all.