Even though parents teach their children to be careful with strangers, the instances of kidnapping are still far more common than many people think. For instance, according to some data, every 2 minutes a child goes missing in Europe, and not always the abductor is a stranger.
About 90% of the children who have gone missing escaped their own homes for various reasons. Only around 1% are those who have been actually kidnapped by strangers with criminal intentions. And there are 4 times more children abducted by their parents, relatives, or people close to the family.
In May 2019, the Asheville Police Department in North Carolina, USA, reported the disappearance of a girl named Shaylie, who was only 7 weeks old.
The baby was found abandoned in a car seat that belonged to her mother, 35-year-old Krista Madden, who was raising another child, in a deep ravine. A married couple discovered the infant 25 miles from the girl’s house. Fortunately, Shaylie was in very good condition.
Cheryl and Scott Fowler, the life savers, turned to the police and learned that the baby was reported as kidnapped. After tracking Krista Madden's movements and comparing this data with the girl’s condition, law enforcement officers charged the woman with attempted first-degree murder.
One of the parents often turns out to be a kidnapper of the child. This usually happens when there are serious problems in the family or the couple is on the verge of separation, unable to agree on custody.
Reasons for this may include:
- an attempt to force reconciliation;
- a desire to punish the partner;
- fear of losing the opportunity to see the child;
- the need to protect children from an abusive partner.
One of the parents may be suspected of being the kidnapper if he or she:
- has spoken about something like that;
- has a history of mistreating the children and the partner;
- has been facing the end of an inter-ethnic marriage and repatriation;
- has a history of mental disorders;
- is not attached to a particular location due to lifestyle (lack of housing or a permanent source of income).
The only logical explanation for the despicable action of the experienced and seemingly loving woman is that she was not in control of herself, suffering from postpartum depression. Yet, this remains to be determined by a competent evaluation. For the time being, Krista is being held in custody.
Child abductions can be prevented only in the following ways.
- Always keep track of your children’s location and the people in their environment.
- Be respectful and constructive with your partner, even if your relationship has failed.
- Teach children basic rules of safety, behavior with strangers, and even acquaintances whose actions seem suspicious.
- Be attentive to the emotional state of your partner.
- Store and update documents and information on each of your children. In particular, don’t forget to take a fresh color photo every 4-6 months.
The disappearance of a child is an ordeal, especially when it turns out that the kidnapper is someone close. You need to constantly show your children that you love them, calm them down, and make sure they know that their parents would do anything for them, no matter what.