Child Abduction Unit

CHILD ABDUCTION UNIT

The Shasta County District Attorney’s Child Abduction Unit consists of a full‑time, sworn peace officer and a non‑sworn technician. The Child Abduction Unit are not first responders to child custody offenses or child visitation issues. If you believe a child abduction occurred, immediately contact the law enforcement agency where the abduction occurred and report the abduction. If you wish to have the child / children listed in the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, contact local law enforcement (Police Departments or Sheriff’s Office) to have the abducted child / children entered in the national system. If you do not have a custody order or have one but have not been following it, you should go to the Family Court and obtain an order or modify your existing orders. See below listed resources for locations and contact information to assist with obtaining legal help.

Hands

What We Do

The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office Child Abduction Unit investigates reported child abductions after the initial report from local law enforcement is forwarded to our unit. The main priority of the Child Abduction Unit is the welfare of abducted children and we strive to minimize the emotional trauma to children who have been abducted. The Child Abduction Unit can also take action to gain compliance with existing child custody orders through education and cooperation, prior to filling a criminal case. Our office does not assist with runaways or delinquent juveniles.  For runaway and delinquent juveniles please contact law enforcement or seek assistance through other family resources, which are located in the Resources/Links section below or by clicking on the Shasta County Resource Guide.

The Shasta County District Attorney's Office may also assign staff to investigate reported violations of court orders. Parties are encouraged to report the court order violations under California Penal Code 166.4 to the online reporting websites to the law enforcement office having jurisdiction, such as the Redding Police, Shasta County Sheriff, or Anderson Police. The Child Abduction Unit acts on behalf of the Superior Court and the People of the State of California. The District Attorney does not represent you as an individual. There is no attorney-client relationship, therefore, any information you provide may be subject to disclosure.

If our investigations reveal a child has been maliciously taken, enticed away, kept, withheld or concealed from a lawful custodian, our office may begin working on the safe recovery of the abducted children. Child Abduction can be committed both by parents and by non-parents.

The Shasta County District Attorney's Office can obtain court orders enabling investigators to travel to other jurisdictions (including other states and countries) to recover and return abducted children to the victim parent, a legal guardian, or the proper child protective agency. On a routine basis, the Child Abduction Unit works with courts and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States to facilitate the safe recovery of children who are carried across state lines.

In cases of international child abduction, the Child Abduction Unit implements the terms of the Hague Convention, an international treaty signed by more than 85 countries.  This effort involves a working relationship with the U.S. State Department, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the Attorney General of California in helping to recover children taken to or from foreign lands.

Our office may file criminal charges against the parties responsible for the child abduction. Child abduction is a felony and is defined in California Penal Code sections 278 and 278.5. Individuals who violate the terms of a court order may be charged with a misdemeanor violation of a court order under California Penal Code section 166.4.

Court Order Violations

If you wish to report a court order violation, contact the law enforcement agency in your jurisdiction of residence or where the violation occurred. You can request a log report or informational report for documentation purposes. You can also request a formal report and have it forwarded to the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. If your child custody court orders were granted by the Shasta County Superior Court, you may also contact your attorney, the family law facilitators office or file the contempt paperwork directly with the courts.

Generally, the Child Abduction Unit does not investigate visitation problem cases unless they are chronic or extreme in nature. For violations of existing current court order: i.e., not meeting at the court ordered pick-up location, not receiving / returning the child at the court ordered times, not allowing court ordered phone calls, etc., you should take the matter back to meditation and/or court.

After you file a report with local law enforcement and if you reside in Shasta County, obtain a certified copy of your most current court orders that are signed by a judge. You may respond to our office if you seek further assistance. You will be requested to present a copy of your certified court orders and a government issued identification card. If you have not previously established custody you may be requested to file for custody prior to our office recovering the child / children. A member of office will meet with you and discuss options. The Child Abduction Unit will not provide legal advice or guidance.

Good Cause Notifications

A Good Cause Notice is NOT A COURT ORDER. The Shasta County Child Abduction Unit can issue a Good Cause Notice pursuant to California Penal Code section 278.7.  The Good Cause Reports serve only as a method for the reporting party to notify the District Attorney’s Office that they have a good faith and reasonable belief that their child will suffer immediate harm if left with the other parent. In addition to filing the Good Cause Report, you are responsible for commencing custody proceeding with the courts within a reasonable time and keeping the District Attorney’s Office informed of your current address and phone number.  Failure to fulfill all of these requirements could result in the filing of child abduction charges.

If you physically have the child / children in your care and are requesting to obtain a Good Cause Notice, you should respond to the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office with your valid court orders granting you custody and your government issued identification. Good Cause Notices will NOT be provided over the phone or online. If Shasta County holds jurisdiction over the case do not contact other Child Abduction Units in an attempt to obtain a Good Cause Notice for our case. You can however print and fill out the Child Abduction Good Cause form ahead of time and bringing it with you to our office. Also, be sure to print and fill out the Child Abduction Contact Form.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is an abduction?

Child abduction occurs when someone maliciously takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals a child from a lawful custodian, in violation of a custody or visitation order.

Can a family member abduct their own child?

Yes. In fact, the majority of abductions are committed by family members. Not only does child abduction involve a violation of Family Court, Juvenile Court and/or Probate Court orders, but it also involves a felony violation of the law. The punishment for committing such a crime can be up to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine, even if the abductor is a family member.

What to do if your child is abducted:

File a police report immediately with your local law enforcement agency. They will require that you have certified copies of your most recent court orders regarding custody. Also, request the law enforcement agency place your child in the National Crime Information Computer System (NCIC). For additional assistance, you may wish to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

  • If there is no court order, contact a lawyer or legal clinic right away for help in getting a custody order from the court.
  • If you have any questions, you can call or email the Shasta County District Attorney Child Abduction Unit at (530) 225-5483 or shastaboi@co.shasta.ca.us.

Can your office help me obtain a custody order?

No. By statute, the District Attorney's Office cannot represent a party. You must retain private counsel or proceed on your own. The Shasta County Superior Court website contains information to assist you in Family Law matters.

What is "Good Cause" Notification to the District Attorney?

Pursuant to Penal Code Section 278.7, parental abduction does not apply to a person with a right of custody or a victim of domestic violence who has good faith and reasonable belief that their child will suffer immediate bodily injury or emotional harm if left with the other person takes, keeps, withholds, or conceals the child. But that person should:

  • Make a report of the taking within a reasonable amount of time to the District Attorney's Office of the county where the child resided before the taking (as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days),
  • Commence a custody proceeding within a reasonable time from the taking (as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days), and
  • Inform the District Attorney of any change of address or phone number of the person and the child.

Can I file a "Child Visitation Violation" with the District Attorney's Office?

Yes. The Shasta County District Attorney's Child Abduction Unit accepts reports of violations of court ordered visitation, but does not investigate the reports. The reports serve only as a method for the reporting party to document the violation for use in family court proceedings, if appropriate.


Resources and Links

Shasta County Family Law Facilitator’s Office

If you need help and are not represented by an attorney, the Family Law Facilitator’s office may be able to assist you.
Phone: (530) 245-6900 (message phone only)
Family Law Facilitator Brochure and Schedule
Shasta County Resource Guide

National Center For Missing and Exploited Children

As the Nation's clearinghouse and comprehensive reporting center for all issues related to the prevention of and recovery from child victimization, NCMEC leads the fight against, abduction, and exploitation-because every child deserves a safe childhood.   
Phone: (800) 843-5678

Polly Klaas Foundation

The Polly Klaas Foundation is national nonprofit dedicated to the safety of all children, the recovery of missing children, and public policies that keep children safe in their communities.
Phone: (800) 587-4357

International Child Abduction – U.S. Department of State

International parental child abduction is the removal or retention of a child outside their country of habitual residence in breach of another parent or guardian’s custody rights.  The Office of Children’s Issues within the U.S. Department of State is a leader in U.S. government efforts to prevent international parental child abduction (both from the United States and to the United States), help children and families involved in abduction cases, and promote the objectives of the Hague Abduction Convention.
Phone: (888) 407-4747 or (202) 501-4444

Legal Services of Northern California

LSNC provides crucial civil legal services to tens of thousands of needy and vulnerable individuals, while also engaging in complex, sophisticated advocacy.
Phone: (530) 241-3565


District Attorney (530) 245-6300
District Attorney Victim Assistance (530) 225-5220
Anderson Police Department (530) 378-6600
California Highway Patrol  (530) 225-0500 
Redding Police Department (530) 225-4200 
Shasta County Sheriff Office (530) 245-6540 
Children Family Services  (530) 225-5144 
One Safe Place (530) 244-0117