Parental Abduction: 25 Years On the Run
One of every parents worst nightmares is the thought of the abduction of their children. Fortunately today there are alert systems that can get the word out to the public almost instantaneously leading to a higher rate of recovery.
The AMBER Alert is a child abduction alert system that started in the United States in 1996. It stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was also originally named for a young girl named Amber who was abducted and killed in Texas in 1996. AMBER alerts can go out within minutes and alert the public and drivers on the roads to be on the watch. This greatly expands the capability of the police in retrieving abducted children.
Time is especially important in retrieving abducted children. 75% of the children abducted by strangers are killed within the first 3 hours according to the U.S. Department of Justice. There is no time to spare in getting the word out. Fortunately, the number of children abducted by strangers or adults who are not their legal guardian are only about 30% of all cases. A larger number of cases, approximately 50%, are considered family abductions and may involve a child custody dispute after or during a divorce. This is exactly the scenario for one former ASU professor.
A former ASU professor has been charged with the abduction of her daughter almost 25 years ago. The daughter was 3 years old at the time and was abducted from California during divorce proceedings. Mother and daughter were able to evade detection by moving to Arizona where they changed their names and social security numbers. Even though the case was never closed it took 25 years to finally track them down. The mother could face up to three years in prison. While family abductions are relatively common, fortunately the quick response systems like the AMBER alert used today make cases like this a little less common.