Child Abduction Unit

CRU1It is a crime for a parent, relative, or any other person to take away, hide, or keep a child from the other parent or a person who has a right to custody of that child. This includes taking the child away from the child's foster parent or other legal guardian.
Child abduction is a felony and is defined in California Penal Code sections 278 and 278.5.
District attorney's offices in California have been mandated to investigate reported child abductions. The goal of the Riverside County District Attorney's Child Abduction Unit is to recover abducted children and return them to the victim parent, a legal guardian, or the proper child protective agency. In every case, our office's highest concern is for the welfare of abducted children and, in all cases, we strive to minimize the emotional trauma to children who have been abducted. The District Attorney's Office can obtain orders enabling investigators to travel to other jurisdictions -- including other states and countries -- to recover and return abducted children. Also, the District Attorney's Office may find that criminal charges should be filed against the abductor.

A Successful Recovery Story
In 2009, a Riverside Family Law judge granted a mother sole physical custody of her two daughters. The girls’ father was granted visitation.

In May 2012, the father lost all contact with his daughters and their mother. He believed the mother had left California in violation of their custody order and had gone to Arkansas without informing him or providing him with a new address and phone number. The Family Law court ordered the Riverside County DA’s Child Abduction Unit to locate the mother and children. The Child Abduction Unit did just that -- finding them in Arkansas.

In September 2012, the court again ordered the mother to allow the father frequent communication and visitation with their father, including a 2012 Christmas visit in Riverside. When the mother failed to follow the court orders and failed to send the children for the Christmas 2012 visit, the court modified its order and granted the father physical custody of the children. The mother thereafter refused to return the children from Arkansas to California.

At the court’s direction the Child Abduction Unit obtained warrants to recover the children out of state. Working with Arkansas prosecutors, Arkansas law enforcement officers and the local Arkansas court, Child Abduction Unit investigators flew to Arkansas in April 2012 and – much to the mother’s surprise -- picked up the children.

The girls, ages 12 and 9 in 2013, were safely returned to their father, who had not seen his two daughters in nearly a year.

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