This will be the first Christmas in over a decade that Julian Hernandez and his mother get to spend together. The 18 y.o. was kidnapped at the age of five by his father. The young man only learned of his abduction when he found his Social Security number invalid, on applying to college .
The Hernandez case illustrates the lengths to which parents will go in custody disputes. Nearly one in ten missing children have been kidnapped by a family member . Frequently, the intention in these cases is to prevent contact by the other parent or permanently alter custodial arrangements, rather than cause physical harm to the child.
Over 200,000 children are kidnapped by family members each year . The figure may actually be higher. It is estimated 40% of family abductions are never reported to police. Younger children are at greater risk of such abductions than older ones.
The situation is complicated when children are taken across state and national borders.
The larger context for family abductions is the dysfunctional family setting. The Hernandez case had a happy ending. Not all abductions do.
 Complex – Pop Culture, “Teen Finds Out He’s Been Missing for 13 Years When He Applies to College” by Debbie Encalda, 11/5/15, http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/11/missing-teen-discovers-he-was-abducted-13-years-ago-when-applying-for-college.
 Polly Klaas Foundation, “National Child Kidnapping Facts”, http://www.pollyklaas.org/about/national-child-kidnapping.html.
 US Department of Justice, National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway Children (NISMART II), “Children Abducted by Family Members: National Estimates and Characteristics” by Heather Hammer, David Finkelhor, and Andrea Sedlak, October 2002.
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