JAMES P. WILLETTDistrict Attorney222 E. Weber AvenueSecond Floor, Room 202Stockton, CA 95202Phone: (209) 468-2400Fax: (209) 465-0371
Child abduction is a parent's worst nightmare. Abductors are not always strangers – the abductor can also be a parent or family member. This section provides answers to questions about child abduction and resources where you can obtain help. If you are the parent or guardian of a missing child, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Help is available so never give up.
Yes. In fact, the majority of abductions are committed by a mother, father, grandparent, or other relative. If you think that a family member who takes his/her child is not breaking the law, you are wrong. CHILD ABDUCTION, EVEN BY A FAMILY MEMBER, IS A FELONY punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Anyone who takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals any child from a lawful custodian or a person with a right to visitation has broken the law. This crime includes one parent's willful denial of another parent's right to visit or take custody of the child.
A child may be taken or detained in violation of a custody or visitation order if there is a good faith and reasonable belief that the child(ren), if left with another person, will suffer immediate bodily injury or emotional harm. However, if you do take your child(ren) under this exception, you MUST call the District Attorney's Office Child Abduction Unit at (209) 468-3620 and follow the instructions you are given. Be aware, that you must completely follow these instructions or the exception will not apply and you could face criminal charges.
File a police report, bringing your custody/visitation order or a certified copy with you. If there is no court order, contact a lawyer or legal clinic right away for help in getting a custody order from the court. Ask the law enforcement officer to enter your child in the NCIC, the national crime information computer system.
Call the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Child Abduction Section at (209) 468-3620. For assistance in locating your child, call a children's organization such as " The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children" at (800) 843-5678 or "The Polly Klaas Foundation" at 800-587-4357
Did you know that the District Attorney can help you find your child? The District Attorney's investigators have the responsibility of locating and recovering children taken or held in violation of a custody or visitation order. If you have a right, pursuant to a valid court order, to custody or visitation of a child and another person denies you that right, the District Attorney can help you locate and return that child.
It doesn't matter if the child is taken to another county or another state, or even another country, the District Attorney's Office will take measures to ensure the return of your child.
For your convenience, you can also download the Child Abduction Task Force Questionnaire then call the office to schedule an appointment once you have the form filled out and the required documentation.