TRUE or FALSE. Kidnapping committed by a family member is considered child endangerment.
 a. True
 b. False

"I was Missy Sokolsky and I was the daughter of affluent parents on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I was loved and supported by an extended network of family and friends& I was Melissa Hart, daughter of a single mother in San Diego, California. Mom worked full time and I was a latch key kid& I learned to lie. I learned to bury Missy Sokolsky so that I could become Melissa Hart."  
-- Liss, Take Root Member
abducted at age 9 and 10
Families and Their Stories

Most parents who fell victim to family abduction were not aware that something like this could happen to them. While most people think strangers are to blame in child kidnappings, national statistics reveal that abductions by family members are much more common than by strangers.

Michael Smith, whose children were abducted by his ex-wife in December 1997, says:

"While it is devastating to know that the risk of family abduction is much higher than stranger abductions, parents can take comfort in knowing that there are preventive measures they can take to reduce the risk of family abduction, precisely because they know who the potential abductor is."

Learn more about family abduction by meeting people whose lives have been forever changed:

  • Reunited After Four Years.

    A mother’s search for her two children abducted by their non-custodial father has finally ended. What did it take to find these children, and what are the effects on children of living four years on the run? Learn why finding a child is never the end of a story. More...

  • Charlene's story.

    Most of my early childhood is a blur of memories, some happy, most sad. My father had anger problems and was unemployed a lot, and my mother was an alcoholic. More...

  • Jen's story.

            I was born into a marriage which quickly disintegrated when I was two years old. My parents
            probably never should have entertained a marriage, but luckily for me, they did, thus I have had
            the chance to live my unusual life. More...

  • Liss's story.

    Mom had snatched me when I was 9 and fled to her parent's house in Florida, dad snatched me back, mom snatched me again, this time, with fake identity papers and a plan to go permanently underground. More...

  • Kelly's story.

    My story of parental abduction began in the summer of 1976-I was nine, my brother was six. Our parents were in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle. More...

  • Mic's story.

    My father was a criminal long before he abducted my siblings and I. It is hard now for me to believe there was a time in which I may have loved him. More...

  • Michael Smith's story.

    A black cloud of despondency hangs over holiday cheer for Michael Smith. His son, Zachary, was 9 years old, and his daughter, Chelsea, was 6 when their mother abducted them a week before Christmas in 1997, police said. More...

  • Rebekah's story.

    For so long I was in denial about what happened to me and I didn't want to deal with all of the anger and emotions I had because of my mother taking me, but I have finally got to a point in my life where I don't want to feel bad about myself and about what happened to me. More...

  • Rick's story.

    My mother kidnapped me when I was six years old. Since she had been bringing me back to the States for medical treatment since I had polio three years earlier, traveling from Argentina to the States seemed in no way unusual. More...

  • Sam's story.

    At age 3, their divorce was final. My mother got custody while my father had weekend visitation rights. After one of those visits, I asked my mother, "what if Daddy doesn't bring us back some Sunday?" More...

  • Sarah Cecilie's story.

    My parents separated in 1973 when I was 3. I lived with my mother but spent many weekends and holidays with my father, who lived a few hundred miles away. On a visit one weekend just after I turned 4, my father told my mother that he was going to take me to out to a park.More...

Do you have a story to share?
Contact us or share your story with the members of Take Root--an organization that provides a forum for adults who were parentally abducted as children to speak and be heard.

© 2004 Polly Klaas Foundation
P.O. Box 800, Petaluma, CA 94953
(800) 587-HELP

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