Today, there is no known professional research addressing the number of child abductions by registered sex offenders, annually. Yes, we know cases such as John Couey, Brandon Lavergne and Phillip Garrido have occurred, all terrible, but professional research is lacking on this topic. However, it does appear the FBI is working on something, yet to be published:
In two FBI Law Enforcement Bulletins there is sketchy mentions of registered sex offenders and abductions, but nothing we can draw statistics from. See Endnotes.So, are statements such as " However, only 115 reported abductions represent cases in which strangers abduct and kill children, hold them for ransom, or take them with the intention to keep." correct? (source: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin) And, what is the ultimate source which explains that statement?
A proper understanding begins with knowing how the Department of Justice (DOJ) categorizes abductions. Within each subgroup is a definition for that subgroup. Here are the subgroups (each shown with the 2000 DOJ NISMART Report covering that subgroup):
FAMILY Abductions: Children Abducted by Family Members: National Estimates and Characteristics (NCJ 196466)
NON FAMILY Abductions: Nonfamily Abducted Children: National Estimates and Characteristics (NCJ 196467)
RUNAWAY / THROW AWAY Children: Runaway/Thrownaway Children: National Estimates and Characteristics (NCJ 196469)
The 115 number (sometimes misquoted as 100-200) comes from NISMART's NonFamily Abductions. There an abduction is defined as:
Defining Nonfamily Abduction and Related TermsNow, in the NISMART report the 115 number is referenced many times, esp. in each Table showing all different statistics related to that number, but the most important one is found in Table-6, how many are "sexually assaulted" and notice it shows 49.
• Nonfamily abduction: (1) An episode in which a nonfamily perpetrator takes a child by the use of physical force or threat of bodily harm or detains the child for a substantial period of time (at least 1 hour) in an isolated place by the use of physical force or threat of bodily harm without lawful authority or parental permission, or (2) an episode in which a child younger than 15 or mentally incompetent, and without lawful authority or parental permission, is taken or detained or voluntarily accompanies a nonfamily perpetrator who conceals the child’s whereabouts, demands ransom, or expresses the intention to keep the child permanently.
• Stereotypical kidnapping: A nonfamily abduction perpetrated by a slight acquaintance or stranger in which a child is detained overnight, transported at least 50 miles, held for ransom or abducted with intent to keep the child permanently, or killed.
• Stranger: A perpetrator whom the child or family do not know, or a perpetrator of unknown identity.
• Slight acquaintance: A nonfamily perpetrator whose name is unknown to the child or family prior to the abduction and whom the child or family did not know well enough to speak to, or a recent acquaintance who the child or family have known for less than 6 months, or someone the family or child have known for longer than 6 months but seen less than once a month.
So, here is what we have now, out of 70,172,700 children in the U.S. (Table-2 Census figure for 2000) 49 were abducted for a sexual purpose (.00006% of the total child population).
Were they abducted by a registered sex offender? That is unknown because there are no studies which show that, and the only valid study of abductions are those mentioned above by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000.
If you wish to read more about the NISMART Reports, I wrote a "Primer" back in 2007, it is here.
Should anyone have any other source, I'd be glad to include them here and address them.
For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) also cites the 115 number. See their page HERE.
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, November 2011:
FBI research revealed that 74 percent of children abducted and murdered were killed within the first 3 hours of their disappearance. To aid local law enforcement and FBI investigators in child abduction investigations, the FBI created the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) team in 2006. Since its inception, CARD has provided field offices with the resource of additional investigators with specialized experience in child abduction matters. As of September 2011, the CARD team has assisted in the investigation of 69 child abduction cases involving 77 children. Of the 77 children, 31 were recovered alive; 11 remain missing. CARD statistics also indicated that in 70 percent of these cases, the child was abducted by an individual with a known relationship to the child. In contrast, 10 percent of abductors were registered sex offenders.
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, August 2011:
Media news outlets have portrayed that abductors primarily consist of strangers or registered sex offenders (RSO), which has proven invalid in the past 2 fiscal years (FY). When a child is reported missing, members of the media advise parents to check sex offender registries to prevent their child from possible abduction or sexual victimization. However, FBI reporting indicates that RSOs are a minimal part of the problem. In FY 2009, an RSO was the abductor in 2 percent of child abduction cases; in FY 2010, this figure dropped to 1 percent. ...
Over the past 4 years, the FBI has seen a decrease in abductions committed by a stranger or RSO. However, it is important to note that abductors with sexual intentions are, in fact, sexual offenders who have not yet been identified and, therefore, are unknown to local law enforcement agencies.
A majority (68 percent) of the child abduction cases the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) team has assisted in has resulted in the identification of an offender who had a relationship with the child victim.3 Moreover, an RSO was involved in only 10 percent of the investigations, 5 percent of who knew the victim.
In FY 2009, 63 percent of child abduction cases involved an offender known to the victim; only 1 percent were RSOs. In FY 2010, 70 percent of child abduction cases resulted in the identification of an offender who had a known relationship with the victim; less than 1 percent of the abductors were RSOs.Note: While it may seem easy to calculate how many abduction there were in 2009 and 2010 by RSOs, in reality it is not that easy: A) We do not know if above means ALL abductions, just FAMILY abduction or NON FAMILY abductions; B) There are no known statistics of abductions by year published by the FBI or the DOJ.RSOs contribute to a miniscule part of the child abduction problem. In contrast to media reporting, the number of cases involving a registered sex offender is decreasing. In addition to the FBI reporting, NCMEC has revealed that there were no RSOs involved in AMBER Alert cases in 2009.