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In 1989 People magazine reported about a network called “Children of the Underground.” Faye Yager emerged as the movement’s leader. This movement helped men and women hide their kids as a way of escaping partners they alleged were abusive, but to whom the courts granted custody.
Newsweek reported that the United States Department of Justice estimates family members abducted 203,900 children in 1999, which is the most recent year for records estimating child abduction. By comparison, this is more than triple the number of stranger abductions. In family abduction cases, 21 percent of the time, children are gone for a month or longer. However, only 28 percent of children abducted by family members are reported as missing to law officials.
In a New York Times interview in 1992, Yager said she assisted some 2,000 families in hiding children. Reports describe the network as consisting of ministers, homemakers, people involved in domestic violence shelters, women’s groups and everyday people. They have used birth certificates of deceased people for new names to hide the runaways. The underground network’s purpose was to disclose the fact that courts had failed to protect abused children and running became the last resort. The movement forged ahead as child abuse became increasingly an issue during the late 20th century. As lawsuits mounted against Yager, she disappeared.
Even so, the network still exists, only Yager flies under the radar more evasively today and the movement isn’t publicized.
In the Minnesota case where the Rucki girls disappeared, the couple that harbored the girls at their ranch face felony charges of parental alienation for helping hide the girls for two and a half years. The couple’s lawyers deny their involvement in any formal network.
In September 2016, Dede Evavold was prosecuted for deprivation of child custody in the Sandra Rucki Teenager Family Abduction Case and found guilty. She was associated with the underground network.
Whether you feel the courts ruled unfairly about abuse or your child has been abducted, going the legal route and hiring a competent attorney is your best recourse for the issues involved.
Attorney Chris Palermo is diligent about providing you with sound legal help and protecting your rights.