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Parental child abductions are a major concern in contentious child-custody cases. They're also more common than you might think.
More than 200,000 children are kidnapped by a relative each year, usually by a parent, according to the Polly Klaas Foundation. That's more than 75% of all missing-children cases in the United States.
A recent case in California shows the extremes that a parent can go to in an alleged child abduction: Christopher Maffei, 43, allegedly took his 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter from their grandmother's house, then stole a boat and sailed away with them. The Coast Guard took Maffei and his children into custody off the coast of Monterey, CBS News reports.
Maffei's alleged parental child abduction took place as the mother of his children was in court to get a restraining order against him. He now faces charges of kidnapping, child endangerment, and parental abduction, according to CBS.
Courts, law-enforcement agencies, and parents themselves can play a role in preventing parental abductions, the Polly Klaas Foundation suggests. Here are some general tips:
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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