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Crimes Against Children: Abuduction Frequently Asked Questions


  According to Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. § 3-502, a person is guilty of kidnapping if s/he, by force or fraud, carry or cause a person to be carried in or outside Maryland with the intent to have the person carried or concealed in or outside Maryland.

2.  What should I do if I believe my child is missing? 

Refer to the following steps if you believe your child may be missing:

(1) Act immediately

(2) If your child is missing from home - thoroughly search the house.

(3) If you cannot find the child - immediately call 911. Provide the operator with your child's name, date of birth, height, weight, and any other unique identifiers.

(4) If your child disappears in a store - notify the store manager or security office then immediately call 911.

(5) Request that your child's name and identifying information be immediately entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File.

(6) After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the Maryland Center for Missing Children (MCMC) 800-MDS-KIDS for assistance.

3.   What is the AMBER Alert Plan?

The AMBER Alert Plan is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and broadcasters to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases.

Broadcasters use the Emergency Alert System (EAS), using the same concept as weather emergencies, to air a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor.

The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the child.

4. How does the AMBER Alert Plan work?

  After law enforcement has been notified about an abducted child, they must determine if the case meets the AMBER Alert Plan's criteria for triggering an alert.   

5.   What criteria are used to determined if an AMBER Alert should  be issued in Maryland?

To determine if an Amber Alert should be issued in Maryland, the following criteria are utilized:

  • Law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted.
  •  The child is under the age of 18.
  • Law enforcement believes the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicate that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
  • There is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help.
  • The child is believed to still be in the broadcast area.
  •  The child's name and other critical elements have been entered into NCIC by police.

6. Is there anything I can do to keep my child safe from, or in case of, abduction?

Yes. Teach your child to be aware and informed, for instance:

  • Children should know their full name, address, and phone number.
  • Teach your child to call for help, dial 911, and make long distance calls.
  • Always know where your child is and the routes your child takes to and from school.
  • As a parent you should know your child's friends, their addresses and phone numbers.

7. What is parental kidnapping (custodial interference)?

According to MD’s parental kidnapping law, a person may not forcibly abduct, take, or carry away a child under the age of 16 years from the custody and control of the child's parent or legal guardian. Under certain custody circumstances, a parent may be in violation of this law. 


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