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Child Abduction

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The Child Abduction Unit exists to enforce child custody and visitation orders and to locate and return children who have been maliciously taken or detained. It is our goal to help ensure peaceful enforcement of court orders so that the children will enjoy a relationship with both parties. We will help enforce existing orders.

 Cases are divided into three categories:

  1. Abductions
  2. Concealments
  3. Visitations

If your child has been abducted, the Child Abduction Unit can begin an investigation to locate the child whether or not there was an order in place at the time of the abduction. Concealment cases, or cases in which you are having a problem enforcing visitation, can only be enforced if there is an existing court order. If you are not satisfied with the present court order, you may take the matter back to mediation and/or court.

In some cases, we will criminally prosecute the other party. At no time is the District Attorney representing either party as an individual. The District Attorney represents the People of the State of California and/or the Superior Court. Since we do not represent you, there is no attorney-client relationship. Therefore, any information you provide the District Attorney's Office is not confidential and may be subject to disclosure pursuant to court rules or at the discretion of the staff of the District Attorney's Office.


The following criminal charges may be filed when a child is abducted by a parent or a visitation order is violated:


Penal Code Section 278.5 (Deprivation of Custody) - This is used when one parent deprives the other parent of their custodial right to the child. It is punishable by up to one year in jail, OR 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in prison.

Penal Code Section 207(a) (Kidnapping) - This is used when a person forcibly steals, takes, holds or detains any person in this state and carries them into another country, state or county or into another part of the same county. It is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five or eight years. If the person kidnapped is under 14 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime, the kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for five, eight or eleven years.

Penal Code Section 166(a)(4) (Contempt of Court) - This may be used when a visitation order is violated. It is punishable by up to six months in jail.