1. SkyeHeartz
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    SkyeHeartz New Member

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    14 Year Kidnapping Punishment?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by SkyeHeartz, Jan 24, 2016.

    So, I just recently started a story were I plan for my MC to discover that her parents are actually two people who kidnapped her when she was a baby- she discovers this by meeting a new girl at her school who has a striking resemblance to her and behind the scenes this new girl (actually her sister) puts two and two together and notifies the police (thought I don't write about this in the story as my MC doesn't know yet). The way I imagined it playing out is that they're arrested and she gets returned into her birth family and her whole life changes -blah blah blah.

    But I didn't really think out how this might play out. I assumed that perhaps the police would storm their home and arrest the parents- but would they go to court and how long their sentence might be? What happens to my MC? I assume they don't just drop her off at her real family straight away. Is she picked up by social services, taken in for questioning? Both? More?

    I did some research and struggled to find much, but I did read that there could be a sentence of up to 14 years but the two didn't abuse her or anything- they just took her because they wanted a child and couldn't conceive, so I guess they took her around 1 years of age and she's 15 in my story. So she was kidnapped for "14 years".

    Any speculation/help is appreciated, thank you :)
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    So somebody with a striking resemblance to me decides that we're siblings (are we supposed to be twins? Because, why else would I have a striking resemblance?), notifies the police, who storm my home, take my parents to prison, me into care and that's normal? What happened to the rule of law? The presumption of innocence until proven guilty? Any sort of evidence?

    Like, if the other girl's parents are recorded as having lost a child "stolen" from the hospital/home at an appropriate time, you'd still need DNA evidence and a much more low-key police involvement even if they accepted the allegation as serious.

    And all this excitement takes place off-camera, while your MC goes about oblivious.

    I'm actually seeing a better story from the "new girl at school" POV, meeting her "twin", putting 2 and 2 together from tales her parents told her, trying to get the evidence of her new friends' parents activities some 14 years ago, trying to persuade the police. And all the while you're concealing the fact that it's all in her head. It's all because she's always longed for another sister to replace the one who died when they were young, and she knows she told her parents to "send her back".
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I read a book with a somewhat similar series of events by Diane Chamberlain. If I remember correctly, it has a fair amount of detail around the trial and the legalities of it. Maybe check it out - I thought it was an excellent book:
     
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  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I disagree with Shadowfax - I think there could be a good story here. You don't state your jurisdiction, which will be a factor in any of the issues regarding police or courts, but in general - try googling [kidnapped as baby returned]. Those are the search terms I used, and the results were useful.

    In fact, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/kidnapped-newborn-baby-finds-parents-5243903 sounds like almost exactly the story you've described - possibly it was your inspiration? If so, you can refer to it for the details you need. There are other articles on the google search, too, that will help with details.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The one big thing that struck me about your scenario ...why would people who kidnapped a twin continue to hang around the same community as the family they stole the twin from? So that the two girls would end up at the same school? Or am I missing something?

    I think your idea has legs, though. We all have heard real stories about kidnapped children who are either never found or found many years later by various methods. I think it's a good idea, but you'll need to be careful how you construct your story. And you're right to do research about what the legalities would be.
     
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In the Diane Chamberlain book, I'm pretty sure the two siblings meet at college. It didn't strike me as unfeasible. I think the sibling moved to their area though, the kidnapper hadn't raised the child in the same place deliberately.
     
  7. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    Kidnapped at Birth, Found 17 Years Later

    Article out of South Africa.

    Real life.
     
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  8. SkyeHeartz
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    SkyeHeartz New Member

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    Thanks for the help guys- I understand Shadowfax's POV there and I'm actually quite surprised that there's a news story quite similar to my idea. The reason though I decided to write from perhaps the less interesting POV to begin with was because my inspiration initially came from a TV show called Switched at Birth that I found on Netflix- you can probably imagine how it goes, two girls get mixed up at the hospital- grow up in the wrong families. I began wondering 'what if' one of the girl's parents were removed from the scenario and I thought about how the girl who's lost the loving and supportive parents she thought were her own has been (presumably) returned into a new family who expects a lot out of her but generally knows nothing about her (that's what happens in the show more or less but it would be on a full time basis). That's what lead me to kidnapping- the parents would potentially go to jail/definitely lose custody.

    This isn't necessarily an idea I may end up writing, it's just something I thought of and decided to get all the research down to see if I'd like to write it :3

    Also in case it wasn't clear I said new girl because her birth family does move into the area, she's been raised a fair distance from where was taken.

    I also wanted to begin with a little secrecy- the reader doesn't really know what's going on until it's all happening- I haven't thought about writing a blurb/description yet, but I wanted to leave the kidnapping idea as bit of a surprise. There's also the idea of doing a split POV, having chapters focused on the other side of the story too.
    Anyways, enough about that- I feel like I could go on and on :p

    The article is really helpful though, thank you, and I'll definitely look into getting my hands on a copy of the book if I can. All I want to know now though is what happens to this woman after she's "charged with kidnapping, fraud and contravening sections 32 (4) (a) and (b) of the Children’s Act". Does this mean she serves a jail sentence? If so, how long? Or what else has happened? Sorry if I sound ignorant about this stuff haha, don't know a lot about this sort of law.

    Thanks again for the wonderful help guys!
     
  9. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In the book, she does go to prison but I can't remember the sentence. In her case it wasn't just kidnapping, there were other crimes she'd committed around it. I also can't remember where it was set, though I think it was somewhere in the US.
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It will depend on the jurisdiction.

    Did you read any of the other articles from the google search? At least one of them mentioned sentencing. Again, though, that will be dependent on jurisdiction...
     
  11. SkyeHeartz
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    SkyeHeartz New Member

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    I did read articles from the google search. I saw mentions of varying lengths of time in prison- that being 0-20 years, but since the South African article linked to me best matches what I wanted to write about, thats why I asked about that.
     
  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is your story set in South Africa?
     
  13. SkyeHeartz
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    SkyeHeartz New Member

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    No, probably not, and I know you said it will depend on the jurisdiction, but I just wanted a general idea if anyone had one. Anyway, I think I'll probably just go ahead and put a sentence somewhere between 2-10 years.
     
  14. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    0-20 years is fairly standard, but it is your story and most people won't question the facts if it is captivating story. People can forgive some errors in facts, if they like the story. :p
     
  15. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Keep in mind that the term of the sentence is the judge's prerogative. But here's some stuff on Connecticut's mandatory minimum sentences. Kidnapping in the 1st degree is 1 year to 25. I don't imagine that for that crime the judge would be particularly lenient.

    I'll be back with more information about the degrees of kidnapping.
     
  16. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Okay, here's some stuff on first and second degree kidnapping in my home state,
    http://kidnapping.uslegal.com/state-kidnapping-abduction-laws/colorado-kidnappingabduction-laws/

    It looks like kidnapping in the first degree is mostly about using the victim to commit a crime, for ransom, or to abuse (physically or sexually). That doesn't sound like what you've got, so your parents would probably be charged with second degree kidnapping.

    You do have to ask whether the child has been transported across state lines, because then there's a good chance the feds will step in and take over the case.
    http://www.federalcharges.com/kidnapping-laws-charges/
     
  17. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just grazed through the comments. I didn't see anyone say this. So I figured I would.

    This sounds like a character story more than a plot story. So, I wouldn't be too "bound" by real life. I think it is often more important to "sound real" than it is to be real. Not to say research and being real are bad things, but instead that don't let the truth ruin a good story. In addition a book like this I think is going to be much more interesting grounded in the emotions and trials of the characters. If the emotion you want makes more sense for the law to work differently. I don't think it is a bad idea to bend the laws of your world to match that story telling element.

    My two cents. I hope it helps.
     
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  18. SkyeHeartz
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    SkyeHeartz New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the help, I think I can say now I have the information I was looking for :)

    Thanks, too. I think you just voiced what I was about to try and say. I generally enjoy writing with a bit of fantasy, so this is a new genre for me. I definitely didn't want my story to sound unrealistic, that's why I came here in the first place. I think I have all the research I need but I always wanted to focus on the emotions going through my MC due the circumstances, that's generally where the idea came from. I think now I can really go for it, not focusing too much on the technicalities but definitely strengthening the plot with a bit of fact. Thanks guys :)
     
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