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Is there a penalty for harboring a runaway across statelines?

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  • Is there a penalty for harboring a runaway across statelines?

    My 16 year old nephew recently ran away from home. A 23 year old adult picked him up at his school in Minnesota and brought him to her home in North Dakota. Even thought my nephew was found back in Minnesota the next day and returned home could the 23 year old adult be charged with a Federal offense since my nephew was transported across state lines? I am asking because the 23 year continues to have communications with my nephew against his parents wishes. And we fear she may do something similar again.

  • #2
    Re: Is there a penalty for harboring a runaway across statelines?

    Hi there,

    Thank you for reaching out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline. It sounds like your family has been dealing with a lot lately but we’re glad that you contacted us, we’re here to help the best that we can.

    So it sounds like your nephew was taken across state lines without consent from legal guardians. You shared that he is now back at home, but has still be in contact with the 23 year old that took him across state lines to her home. This has got to be really difficult for your nephew’s parents, trying to enforce a rule that is not being followed. It sounds like you and your nephew’s parents want what is best for him, and want him to be safe.

    If your nephew were to leave again without permission, his legal guardians would have the right to make another runaway report. If it is made, and the police find him they would just bring him back home. There are laws against harboring a runaway, but it changes by state. This also looks different when a minor has been brought across state lines. We’re not legal experts here, but we do have legal resources that you may be able to contact to get information on this situation, Minnesota State Bar Association (612) 278 6331 or the non-emergency police department for your nephew’s city and state would have this information as well.

    Please do not hesitate to call or chat with us if you would like to talk further. We’re here to help as much as we can. It sounds like your family is going through a lot and we’re here to provide support.

    Best of luck,
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)
    Tell us what you think about your experience!


    • #3
      So, my son 15 years old girlfriend ran away from her father home in Maryland, to Jacksonville Florida. Her father has a court hearing this week virtually with the mom for permanent custody over her. Mom does not want her back in her home in Florida and dad just beat her up in Maryland. What can be done if the child clearly doesn’t want to live with either parent?


      • ccsmod16
        ccsmod16 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for reaching out to NRS. We’re sorry to hear about what your son’s girlfriend is going through. It sounds like a truly challenging situation, but it’s clear that you care you for her and are doing what you can to help . One option to consider if there is physical abuse going on is to file an abuse report with CPS, which is something we can assist with. This may result in CPS investigating the situation and potentially moving her to a new home.  Another option to consider is for your son’s girlfriend to stay with other family or friends if her legal guardians consent. These are a couple options to consider, but please call us at 1-800-786-2929 or chat us through this website and we can help you think through other possible options that may exist. We work better when we can have a conversation with you and better understand her situation.  We truly hope to hear from you soon.
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