I got an email a few days ago regarding a case, a family abduction with two siblings. They were abducted by their non-custodial mother. The writer said she was a “friend” of the mother and said before I profiled such cases, I ought to research them, and if I had, I would have found out that the father was a pedophile and abused the children horribly, etc., and the courts wouldn’t listen to the mother and when the father got custody, she was “forced” to abduct the children to “save” them and now they were being returned to their “abuser” and their lives were ruined and sites like mine were not helping etc.
As far as it goes, the email was pretty tame — sometimes I get emails like that which are full of shouting and say nasty things about me. This email was polite. I’m sure the woman really believes what she says.
I did research the case before I posted it. I research all my cases as well as I can. I knew about the sex abuse allegations. Now, some abuse investigations are closed for lack of evidence — meaning that abuse could not be PROVEN — and some are ruled unfounded — meaning that the social workers were convinced the abuse DID NOT HAPPEN. In this case, the complaint was ruled unfounded. So not only was there no evidence of sex abuse, there was apparently some evidence that convinced CPS that the mother was lying.
The mother had custody of the children at the time and the father had visitation. When the complaint was ruled unfounded, the judge, of course, refused to interfere with the father’s visitation rights and ruled that he should have the same access as he had before. At which point Mom outright refused to let Dad see the kids at all. In response, the court took custody away from her and gave it to Dad. That’s when Mom abducted the boys. They were gone for over three years.
Now, I’m not in a position to know whether the sex abuse allegations were true. But for me, what matters is that the children were missing. I’m not going to refuse to put missing children on Charley just because the abductor claims their actions were justified. Every person who breaks the law tries to justify it, if only to themselves. Let’s say someone robs a bank — would people be going around saying, “Don’t go around posting Wanted Posters about the robber; he had a family to support and his house was about to be foreclosed on”? They would be laughed at if they said such things. Why should kidnapping be any different? Yet, when it comes to parental abductions — especially when the abductor is the mother — a lot of people seem to see them as exceptions.
Not in my eyes. Mom broke the law. She committed a felony, and she forced her two children to live as fugitives for years, and she robbed them of access to their father and their father’s family. I don’t know what their lives were like while they were missing, but there’s a good chance they weren’t in school, didn’t have adequate medical care, and had to move around frequently. It’s not a nice life. My good friend Annie Keller has a list of children whose lives were particularly blighted by parental abduction (some of them were even killed) and her latest addition mentions a child who, missing for eighteen months, was unable to do basic math or even read a clock after he was located.
I don’t know what Mom’s “friend” expects me to do, but I will not apologize for doing my part to help find those kids, nor will I remove their names from Charley.