Child Abduction: Turning Personal Loss into Public Law

by John Edward Gill

The experience of losing and then recovering my three-year-old daughter early in 1973 made it evident that law enforcement on Long Island and in all of New York State didn’t take parental abduction seriously. But it was kidnapping, a form of child abuse. Luckily, several years later Newsday printed a story on this issue, featuring my daughter and me in a photo since we lived here. Soon my phone began ringing as other parents called with similar stories.

Only unlike me, they didn’t have their children.

In April 1977, then, we met at my house. In the wee hours of the morning, we sat in the living room and kitchen, talking always of finding their ex-husbands or ex-wives. We shared many stories. All their ex-spouses left and hid children because of revenge. We barnstormed; we asked questions; we shared names of attorneys and private investigators; we cursed judges and police, who wouldn’t look for children taken by parents.

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