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An estimated 2,300 children are missing every day in the United States.  Missing children can victims of family abduction, non-family abduction, or they can be runaways.
Family/Parental Abductions
An estimated 203,900 children were victims of a family abduction in 1999.  A family abduction occurs when a family member takes or keeps a child in violation of the custodial parent's/guardian's legitimate rights.

Family/Parental abduction findings:

bullet78% of abductors are the non-custodial parent
bullet35% of children were between 6-11 years old
bullet24% of the abductions lasted between 1 week and 1 month
bullet82% of abductors intended to affect custody permanently
bullet21 % are other relatives
bullet42% of children were living with a single parent
bullet15% were living with another relative/foster parent
bullet66% were taken by a male relative

Reasons why family members become abductors:

bullet They are dissatisfied with custody decision in court
bullet They have been denied visitation for not paying child support
bullet They are protecting the child and/or themselves from abuse
bullet They are angry with the break-up of the relationship
bullet They are angry with the other parent's new partner/lifestyle
An estimated 58,200 children were victims of a non-family abduction in 1999.  Non-family abductions occur when someone who is not a relative abducts and detains a child without lawful authority or parental permission with the intention to keep the child permanently.  In 1999 there were also 115 stereotypical kidnappings.  A stereotypical kidnapping occurs when a stranger or slight acquaintance transports a child 50 miles or more from home and either kills the child, holds the child for ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.

Non-family abduction and stereotypical kidnapping findings: 


81% were 12 years old or older in non-family cases


58% were 12 years old or older in stereotypical kidnappings


In 40% of stereotypical kidnappings, the child was killed


In another 4%, the child was not recovered


86% of the perpetrators are male


The abducted children are predominantly female


Nearly half of all victims were sexually assaulted

Over 1.5 million children had a runaway or throwaway episode in 1999.  Runaway cases occur when a child of 14 years or less leaves home without permission for at least one night.  For older children, a runaway is defined as a child who stay out for at least two nights.  Throwaway episodes occur when a parent or other household adult tells a child to leave the house without arranging alternative care and prevents the child from returning home.

Runaway/throwaway findings:


Two-thirds of children are between 15 and 17 years old


The male-female ratio is equal


More than half returned home in the same week


99% return home


21% are physically or sexually abused at home

Why children run away from home:

42% have family problems


14% because of peer pressure


5% because of drug or alcohol abuse


4% because of physical abuse

Child Find of America Inc. is a national not-for-profit organization that provides professional services designed to prevent and resolve child abduction

and the family conflicts that can lead to abduction and abuse.

1-800-I-AM-LOST  1-800-A-WAY-OUT

Copyright 2015 Child Find of America Inc