Parental Kidnapping in NC

Parental Kidnapping North Carolina

Under North Carolina law (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-39), kidnapping is the crime of taking a person against his or her will from one place to another, if done for the purpose of ransom, furthering another crime or while fleeing after committing a felony, harming the person or holding him or her for sexual reasons. If that person is 16 or under, the consent of the parent or legal guardian is required before he or she is confined, restrained or removed from one place to another.

What to Do if Your Child Is Illegally Taken Out of North Carolina?

If you suspect that your child may be taken out of state without your consent, you may be able to seek an emergency custody order, emergency restraining order and seek to have visitation limited or supervised.

If your child has been taken out state without your permission, kidnapping may have occurred. However, every situation is different and may depend upon whether there is a custody order violation, children have been concealed and whether parents are married or paternity has been established. In this situation, is in your best interests to contact an experienced attorney, law enforcement agencies or both.

What to Do if Your Children May Be Taken Out of the United States?

If you fear that your child may be taken out of the United States without your consent, you can seek a restraining order or ask a judge to seize your child’s passport. If your child does not have a passport, but you fear that his or her other parent will try to obtain one without your consent, you can enroll in The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) through the U.S. State Department.

The CPIAP allows parents to register their U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 in the Department’s Passport Lookout System. If a passport application is submitted for a child who is registered in the CPIAP, the Department contacts and alerts the parent or parents.

The passport lookout system gives all U.S. passport agencies, as well as U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, an alert on a child’s name if a parent or guardian registers an objection to passport issuance for his or her child. This procedure provides parents advance warning of possible plans for international travel with the child.

To enter your child into the program, you will have to complete the Entry Request Form, provide proof of your identity (a photocopy of your driver’s license or other ID card), and submit a photocopy of your child’s birth certificate or other documentation to show that you are the child’s parent or legal guardian.

Mail, fax or email these items to Passport Services, Charleston Passport Center:

U.S. Department of State
Passport Services, Charleston Passport Center
Attn: Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program
1269 Holland Street, Building D
Charleston, SC 29405

Phone: 843-202-3863
Fax: 843-746-1827

Note: If your child has dual citizenship, then he or she may be able to travel out of the country on the passport of the foreign country. The State Department cannot regulate passports from a different country, so you may want to contact that country’s embassy or consulate to ask if they have a similar program. You will find contact information for embassies and consulates at //

Enforcing Out of State Orders in North Carolina

Out of state orders can generally be in enforced in North Carolina as long as:

  • The order was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story. It doesn’t matter if he actually showed up in court; just that he had the opportunity to do so. (In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his or her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled within a “reasonable time” after the order is issued).

Finding Missing Children

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, if a child is missing, family and friends should immediately notify local law enforcement and:

  • File a police or sheriff’s report. Include information on where the child was last known to be, as well as names of the individual’s family and friends. Provide officers with a recent photo as soon as possible. Law enforcement can immediately enter child abduction cases into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. The center allows officers nationwide to share information about endangered children, increasing the chance that the child will be found.
  • Request that law enforcement put out a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) Bulletin
  • Ask for an organized search with the use of tracking dogs if possible.
  • Limit access to your home until law enforcement investigators arrive and have collected evidence. Do not touch or remove anything from your child’s room or your home. There may be clues to the whereabouts of your child.
  • Give investigator all facts and circumstances related to disappearance including what efforts have already been made.
  • Write a detailed description of clothing worn by the child and any personal items your child had at the time of his or her disappearance. Note any birthmarks, scars, tattoos, or mannerisms, and supply any photo that may show the marks. Give this information to the investigator.
  • Make copies of recent photos for law enforcement, news media, the N.C. Center for Missing Persons, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and any volunteer groups aiding in the search.
  • Designate one person to answer your telephone. Keep a pad of paper by the phone to jot down names, telephone numbers, date and time of calls and the purpose of the call. You may want to get law enforcement to put a tracer on your phone and get an answering machine that will tape calls. You may also want to add caller ID. If you do not have a cell phone, you may want to get one so that you can be reached at any time.
  • For cases that are older than 30 days, help officers locate dental and medical records.
  • Go to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website ( for more tips on what to do if your child is missing or call them at 1-800–THE LOST (1-800-843-5678).


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