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Parents without child custody rights can face kidnapping charges

On Behalf of | Dec 31, 2015 | Child Custody

It may seem counterintuitive to a reader of this Phoenix family law blog that a parent can be charged with kidnapping his or her own child. Generally, kidnapping is believed by many to occur when a stranger takes a child that is not his or her own. However, if a parent or relative does not have custody rights to a child and chooses to remove that child from where he lives and without his custodian’s permission, that individual can face kidnapping charges.

This scenario recently played out for an Arizona woman who took her toddler daughter to Missouri. The 21-year-old mother did not have child custody of the girl when she traveled with her all the way to the Midwest. Federal authorities located the child at a relative’s house but did not find the mother with her.

The child’s mother had left Missouri and had traveled to Indiana despite the discovery of her child by U.S. Marshalls. The mother was later found in Indiana and was arrested for her involvement in the apparent abduction of her own child. She will be returned to Arizona to face the pending criminal matters that are filed against her.

What a parent believes is in the best interests of her child may differ greatly from what a court determines to be the best interests of her child. In this story, the mother accused of kidnapping had lost custody of her daughter and taken the child from those who had temporary custody of the girl. This matter may cause the mother to face more challenges when she seeks custody of her child as she will have to overcome serious criminal charges. Parents who have questions about custody and travel with children may benefit from speaking with family law attorneys before they leave the state in order to identify if they could face kidnapping allegations.

Source:, “Phoenix mom accused of abducting toddler is arrested in Indiana,” Allie Bice, Dec. 22, 2015