Kidnappings & Parental Abductions
When your child goes missing,
you should expect facts, not fiction.
Private Investigators & Abductions
Lauth’s missing person team of investigators with diverse backgrounds and international experience provide adept skillsets to assist families in times of crisis of parental abductions and kidnappings, working inside the U.S. and abroad with Hague collaborating countries. The Hague Treaty, signed by many states, has the goal to ensure the immediate return of children abducted to a contracting state or retained there and to guarantee that the custody and visitation rights are taken into consideration in the other contracting states. We immediately assess the threat and pursue solutions and recoveries for missing children worldwide.
In 2019 alone, there were 421,394 missing juveniles under the age of 18 reported in the United States (NCIC). Under the best of circumstances, many police departments often lack the resources, or manpower, or the experience (or all of the above) to deal with the demand of a missing child case. That’s why many families opt to hire a private investigator or specialized missing person investigator to conduct an investigation in tandem with law enforcement.
These independent investigators can offer valuable insight into missing person cases. Through their licensure, they have access to verified databases for comprehensive fact-finding and lead generation. They are not bound by jurisdiction, so they’re free to follow leads wherever they go. This means that a lead doesn’t have to go cold, evidence does not have to be lost, and witnesses do not disappear into the ether. Their independence provides a strong foundation of objectivity dependent on diverse experience—not professional bias. At Lauth, we only charge flat fees for our missing person services, and we support families in their time of crisis.
It’s estimated that 1,435 kidnappings occur every year, but due in large part to a majority of those being familial abductions, not all have likely been reported.
The Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway Children released by the Department of Justice in 2002, spanning the years of 1997-1999, reported that 203,900 of the 797,500 reported missing children in a one-year period were abducted by family members, and 58,200 were abducted by non-relatives. 115 of those reported cases were classified as stranger abductions.
In 2019 NCMEC assisted law enforcement and families with more than 29,000 cases of missing children. Less than 1 percent of those cases were nonfamily abductions. Unfortunately, the answer is often closer to home. At Lauth, our missing person investigators are comprised of former military and law enforcement personnel who practice thorough due-diligence in search for your child.
Missing person investigators know that the answer is usually close to home in custody cases. That’s why our independence is valuable to the case. We have no stakes in the outcome, no bias that would prevent us from considering either parent, or another family member as a possible suspect in the abduction of the child. When the solution has been found, our independence also comes in handy in a court of law. Because our missing person investigators are only loyal to the truth, our testimony in court adds another layer of integrity to the case.
The Hague Convention
Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty, which seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.
The Convention is invaluable in abduction situations, because it extends protections to child victims across the globe. United States court orders are not recognized in every country, and because each country is their own sovereign nation, they cannot interfere with each other’s legal systems.
Our missing person investigators have the tools and the experience to collaborate with authorities in other countries to invoke the Hague Convention in the interest of recovering children who have been abducted and transported outside of the United States. We also network with other missing child nonprofits in the United States and throughout the world to ensure that families can be connected to the missing person services they need in their time of crisis.
Case Study | International Abduction | Germany/United States
Lauth investigators have invoked these protections under the Hague Convention several times in international abduction cases and are well-versed in how its mandates protect children globally.
In a case of parental abduction, a mother and father were living in Germany. One afternoon, the mother went to pick up her children from school, only to realize their father had already picked the children up and had disappeared. She was deeply concerned the father had kidnapped her daughter and son and had taken them to the United States.
The mother immediately filed all the necessary reports with German authorities and contacted the FBI to alert them that her husband could possibly flee to the United States with her children. With federal and international agencies working on her case, she had every confidence her children would soon be located and returned safely to her. However, after weeks of hearing no progress on the case, she turned to missing person expert, Thomas Lauth. Using proven methodology and verified databases, Lauth was able to build a background on the father that generated a few qualified leads. After pursuing these leads and additional fact-finding, Lauth successfully tracked the children to Charlotte, North Carolina. Once the children had been located, Lauth worked in tandem with federal authorities to invoke the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The children were recovered and held in a neutral environment while court proceedings determined the circumstances and outcome of the case. The father claimed that the children had been exposed to discrimination in Germany, but the children were ultimately returned to their mother.