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Police arrested a mother and her boyfriend for abducting the woman’s 9-year-old twin daughters on Wednesday in Plymouth, Massachusetts,  NBC News Boston reported.

“It doesn’t appear they were harmed in any way, but it does appear they were forcibly taken,” Plymouth Police Chief Michael Botieri said, according to the news outlet.

Je t’aime and Dasia Valentine were reported missing when their father Richard Valentine did not find them at a supermarket where he usually picks them up after their school bus drops them off. The police launched a massive search for the girls.

Surveillance video showed a man putting the girls in a car. The investigation then moved to Lewiston, Maine, where the girls’ mother lives with her boyfriend.

It’s not surprising that the accused kidnappers turned out to be a non-custodial parent. Commenting on a different case, Jane Stoever, a University of California law professor, wrote in the Washington Post that family members are almost always the perpetrator in a child abduction case. The stranger kidnapping a child—while it happens all too often—is less common. Parental abductions frequently stem from domestic violence or motivated by losing child custody.

Seventy eight percent of child abductors are the non-custodial parent—in many other cases, a different family member is involved, according to statistics from the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children. Roughly 24 percent of abductions last from one week to one month.

The most common reasons for parental abductions are anger over a break up, a denial of visitation and dissatisfaction with a court’s custody decision.


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