USA / Texas: Interstate Jurisdiction Cases when a Parent Abducts their Child


Child Recovery Agents Parental Kidnapping

source

Parental child abduction is the offense of a Parent wrongfully removing, retaining, detaining or concealing their child from the other parent. This often occurs when parents separate or divorce proceedings begin. The abducting parent may consensually remove or retain the child to gain an advantage in pending child-custody proceedings or because the parent fears losing the child in the divorce proceeding. Many times the abducting parent may refuse to return a child at the end of an approved visit or may flee with the child to prevent the other parent from seeing the child or in fear of domestic abuse.

Many abducting parents try to take the child across state lines (Interstate Jurisdiction issues) or out of the country to make sure that the child will never be found by the other parent. They would rather live a fugitive than lose their child.

Are there any laws to stop this child abduction to another state or country? The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA) provides remedies with valuable enforceable tools in deterring both domestic and international abductions by parents and unethical people or agents on their behalf. This Act empowers courts to impose measures designed to prevent child abduction both before and after a court has entered a custody decree. Unfortunately, the UCAPA has only been enacted in eleven states (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah) and District of Columbia, since its inception.

In Texas Interference with child custody is a felony!
Texas currently follows the Texas Penal Code 25:03, Interference with Child Custody:

Sec. 25.03. INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person takes or retains a child younger than 18 years of age:

(1) When the person knows that the person’s taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court disposing of the child’s custody;

(2) when the person has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or

(3) Outside of the United States with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access and without the permission of that person.

(b) A noncustodial parent commits an offense if, with the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of a child younger than 18 years, the noncustodial parent knowingly entices or persuades the child to leave the custody of the custodial parent, guardian, or person standing in the stead of the custodial parent or guardian of the child.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) (2) that the actor returned the child to the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, within three days after the date of the commission of the offense.

(C-1) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) (3) that:

(1) The taking or retention of the child was pursuant to a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child; or

(2) notwithstanding any violation of a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child, the actor’s retention of the child was due only to circumstances beyond the actor’s control and the actor promptly provided notice or made reasonable attempts to provide notice of those circumstances to the other person entitled to possession of or access to the child.

(C-2) Subsection (a) (3) does not apply if, at the time of the offense, the person taking or retaining the child:

(1) Was entitled to possession of or access to the child; and

(2) Was fleeing the commission or attempted commission of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, against the child or the person.

(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony: Minimum term: 180 days to Maximum Term of 2 years; fine up to $10,000.00

Hopefully, in the near future, more states will adopt the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, but until then, if you think you have a problem with your ex trying to kidnap your child, find out what can be done in your state to stop this before it happens!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding an abducted child please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

ABP World Group Ltd. in High Demand by Major Media Outlets for Expert Commentary in Cases of International Parental Abduction and Organized Crime.


Oslo / Los Angeles, February 15, 2016

ABP World Group Ltd. is a global security and child-recovery firm that is often sought out by the media to provide expert commentary on international parental abduction cases.  -Recently, the firm experienced a surge in requests from major media outlets seeking commentary on several cases that have made headline news.

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Photo: Private. A story about one of ABP World Group`s successful operations in the Norwegian magazine Vi Menn.

A recent story where ABP was quoted, involved three Norwegian nationals held in custody after attempting to abduct a four-year old for the non-custodial father. As reported on by In Cyprus, Martin Waage, Managing Director of ABP was quoted as follows: “To assist parents who do not hold sole custody…makes the industry look bad.” He went on to say that APB never engages in this practice as a reputable recovery outfit.  Waage’s comments were also featured in a story about the case that appeared on VG News, Norway.  Waage was interviewed by NRK, a Norwegian broadcasting company as well.

ABP World Group, Ltd. was also an instrumental resource for the press in other cases such as one where a Brazilian mother abducted her child from Sweden and another where a Norwegian mercenary was hired by the father to illegally abduct his child.

Martin-Waage1

Martin Waage, Director of ABP World Group™

Waage was also interviewed for several Norwegian Television documentaries about the mafia in Spain, international parental child abduction and organized crime. In the past, Al Jazeera, Spain’s El Mundo, the United States’ ABC News, Italian news stations, Irish radio stations and Swedish television stations have also called upon Waage for commentary in a number of cases.

ABP World Group Ltd. has a strong success rate on cases where a child has been illegally, internationally abducted by a parent. For more information, email: contact@abpworld.com

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To recover an abducted child by force should always be the last solution


February 5, 2016

Source: In-cyprus.com

Three Norwegian men – including a well-known former mercenary – are in police custody on suspicion of coming to Cyprus to abduct a toddler.

ESPEN-LEE-ABDUCTION

The saga revolves around the four-year-old daughter of a Cypriot woman from Strovolos who won a custody battle in Norway back in 2012 against her former partner and the Norwegian father of her child.

Police Spokesperson Andreas Angelides had told The Cyprus Weekly that the three suspects – one of whom is notorious former mercenary Espen Lee – were taken into custody earlier this week in Nicosia after reports that they had come to the island, via the north, to kidnap the child.

Lee – who once famously claimed to have killed over a hundred people while serving as a mercenary in Africa and the Middle East – told reporters on Thursday that he had arrived in Cyprus to collect the father’s car “and take it to England”.

Norwegians-Cyprus-Kidnapping

He also described his arrest as “surreal” adding that he didn’t know why the Norwegian police had flagged the police in Cyprus.

“We had received information that the trio would be arriving in Cyprus to kidnap the child and we have sufficient evidence to back up those claims,” said Angelides.

Yesterday, a Nicosia magistrate remanded the trio in police custody for a further six days while they are under investigation for conspiracy to commit a crime and attempting to abduct a minor with the intention of transporting him/her out of the country without the consent of the parent.

Meanwhile, investigators in Cyprus have requested from their counterparts in Norway to question the child’s father.

Police investigators discovered maps on the suspects pinpointing the woman’s home, her parents’ home, her workplace and her daughter’s nursery.

Investigators on the island had been anticipating the arrival of the Norwegian suspects after being alerted by the police in Norway who had alerted Europol.

Meanwhile, police are on the lookout for a Cypriot man who is alleged to have led two of the suspects to the mother’s workplace, while a Turkish Cypriot is also wanted for questioning.

“The child’s mother had secured an injunction from Cyprus to have the child returned to her from the father – who is Norwegian, and from whom she had separated,” continued Angelides.

The arrests have made big news in Norway, while around a dozen journalists have arrived in Cyprus to cover the story.

Knowing the law and when to act

International Parental Child Abduction is a huge problem worldwide and the biggest losers of this selfish act are always the children.

To assist parents that do not hold sole custody is absurd and it makes the whole security industry look bad. ABP World Group never works for parents who do not have sole custody.

An Interpol warrant should be arranged for abductor. To send ex convicts and people the child doesn’t know in order to recover a child is a big no.

Doing such a thing would be too traumatic for a small child. Our personnel are ex-law enforcement and military with no criminal records and we always require that the custodial parents accompany us to take care of the child.

To recover an abducted child by force should always be the last solution.

The legal route by use of the Hague convention on international parental abduction and mediation is always the first option.

We often work closely with local authorities in order to find peaceful solutions.

* Martin Waage is Managing Director of ABP World Group and an expert in global security and child recovery.

 

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Slik jobber bransjen som henter hjem bortførte barn


Februar 3, 2016

Kilde: VG

SPESIALIST: Martin Waage og selskapet ABP World Group har i 14 år spesialisert seg på hjemhenting av bortførte barn. Justisdepartementet advarer mot denne bransjen. Waage ønsker ikke å la seg identifisere på bilder.

Martin-Waage1

Det norske sikkerhetsselskapet ABP World Group, som har spesialisert seg på å hente hjem bortførte barn, har egen filial på Kypros. Direktør Martin Waage avviser at eks-torpedo Espen Lee jobber for selskapet.

Lee ble pågrepet på den greske delen av øya sist søndag sammen med to andre nordmenn på 29 og 40 år, mistenkt for å ha planlagt bortføringen av en fire år gammel jente. Ingen av de tre skal være i slekt med jenta, ifølge Cyprus Weekly.

ABP World Group har spesialisert seg på å hente bortførte barn hjem til Norge, og har ifølge sin egen nettside en agent på Kypros.

– Har ren vandel

– Vårt personell har ren vandel. Det er veldig viktig. Vi har en helt annen profil på vårt personell. ABP bruker kreative personer med erfaring og bakgrunn som gjør dem i stand til å løse slike oppdrag på mykere måter, sier Waage til VG.

Å hente hjem et barn er aller siste utvei, mener han.

– Det er i ytterste nødsfall vi setter i gang slike operasjoner. Og på grunn av barnets ve og vel, prøver vi å gå frem så skånsomt som mulig. Vi legger til rette for at foreldrene selv er med og henter barnet. Det vil være for traumatiserende for et barn å bli hentet av fremmede. Vår jobb er å spore, lokalisere og eventuelt koordinere i samråd med lokale myndigheter, sier Waage.

Les også:Hentet bortført sønn (2) med makt

Hårreisende og kriminelt

Waage kjenner ikke til den konkrete saken. På generelt grunnlag mener han det er betenkelig å ta oppdrag uten at klienten ved rettskraftig dom er tilkjent omsorgsretten.

– Å hente hjem barn for en klient som ikke er tilkjent omsorgsretten, er både hårreisende og kriminelt. Man setter da klientene i en situasjon som i verste fall kan medføre fengselsstraff. Dette er foreldre som er frustrerte, de gjør alt for å få hjem barna. Ikke alle tenker like klart, og man må være både rådgiver, medmenneske og psykolog, og kan ikke gjøre alt som klienten din vil. Da havner man fort på feil spor, sier Waage.

Les også:Myndighetene advarer mot privat henting av bortførte barn

 

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ABP World Group`s special task force, specialized in recovering children from The ”Safe havens of child abductions”


November 29, 2015

ABP World Group Ltd.

For more than over 12 years, ABP World Group has been the world`s leading child recovery company, we have gathered experience during child recovery operations in a number of different countries on all continents.

ABP World Group 2

 

We know that some countries are seen as ”Safe Havens” for child abductors – mainly because of the legal system, but also the fact that to recover a child from many of these countries has been close to impossible and combined with a too high risk for all the involved.

We can work together with your lawyer,to make sure your case is not delayed for years.

If ABP World Group™ finds the risk extremely high and that launching an operation will lead to personal danger or damages we will stand down. Instead ABP World Group is ready to start a negotiation process immediately and without any bureaucracy delay.  This is most important because time is critical when it comes to any child abduction.

Child Abduction Recovery Services

Our specialists in the new task force have formed more than 12 years of experience from IPCA cases in mind. The operators in the task force are the best of the best- Team leaders from many different countries Special Forces units, and are trained to do whatever it takes, wherever it takes, whenever it takes. This means that recovery operations in countries like Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan Philippines, Middle East and North Africa etc. will be done with a great aspect of safety and success.

Prevention of Parental Abduction – Recognizing the Warning Signs

Parental Abduction Child Recovery Services

We will under these operations use any necessary means and type of logistics solutions ,to be sure that no criminal child abductor should never again feel safe and out of reach from our justice.

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Fargo parental kidnapper given parole, but children still on SD reservation


October 18, 2015

Source: Grand forks Herald

A Fargo mother who was convicted of parental kidnapping and whose daughters are still on a South Dakota Indian reservation with her half-sister has been granted early parole, much to the chagrin of the fathers.

Tricia Taylor SD

The 3-0 decision by the North Dakota Board of Parole will allow Tricia Taylor, 33, to be released Nov. 5 from the state women’s prison after serving about six months of a two-year prison term. Parole board chairman Duane Houdek, however, said Taylor also served about five months in the Cass County Jail before her conviction last April when she was sent to the New England, N.D., prison.

President Barack Obama greets the members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation, in Cannon Ball, N.D., Friday, June 13, 2014, during a Cannon Ball flag day celebration, at the Cannon Ball powwow grounds. It’s the president’s first trip to Indian Country as president and only the third such visit by a sitting president in almost 80 years. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

He also defended the decision by saying she was a non-violent offender and didn’t have a criminal record.

However, the two girls, ages 2 and 7, still aren’t back with their fathers who have been granted full custody by a North Dakota state court.

Houdek said it was the board’s understanding that the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation where the girls were taken has assumed jurisdiction and taken custody of the girls.

Thus, it was his understanding that “even if she wanted to, she couldn’t return them.”

However, the family spokesman for the fathers — Michael Nygaard of Fargo — disagrees.

“All Tricia has to do is make a call to her half sister and this done,” he said about returning the children. “Tricia is trying to get the tribe to take custody of the girls, but we have received notice … that they will not do this but want the tribal court to make a decision on custody, which has not been determined yet in the tribal court. Tricia wanted the board to think that she is helpless in this matter while that is not the case.”

Thus, the two fathers   — Aarin Nygaard and Terrance Stanley, both of Fargo — and their families are somewhat in disbelief she was granted parole.

Michael Nygaard, who is Aarin’s uncle, said, “We just can’t believe it.”

One of the fathers’ attorneys, RoseAnn Wendell of Pierre, S.D., said, “I think it’s a slap in the face.”

It’s now been more than a year since Taylor stole the girls away on Labor Day weekend in 2014 and since then, the fathers have been fighting through the tribal court system on the northwest South Dakota reservation for the girls to be returned to them. They’ve spent more than $40,000 on legal fees forcing them to set up a gofundme page and a donation account at Gate City Bank.

FILE - This Sept. 9, 2012 file photo shows the entrance to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Sioux tribe. Five more American Indian tribes in South Dakota are seeking federal money to help operate their own foster care programs. The Rosebud Sioux in 2013 became one of the first tribes in the nation to receive a $300,000 planning grant. The Oglala and Crow Creek Sioux, Standing Rock, Cheyenne River,  and Yankton tribes this week also submitted applications for grants.  (AP Photo/Kristi Eaton, File)

They haven’t seen the girls either, although tribal judge Brenda Claymore did say earlier last month at one of numerous hearings on the case that they could visit the girls who have been staying with the half sister — Jessica Ducheneaux — in Timber Lake on the reservation. However, neither father has attended the hearings this year because their attorneys do not want them to succumb to the  jurisdiction of the tribe.

Even if they could arrange it, Michael Nygaard said they didn’t want to have a visitation on the reservation. “After discussing it, we thought it would just be too disruptive.”

So the situation has turned into an example of how people can get caught up in the legal limbo between state and tribal courts.

On one hand, the state courts wants tribal courts to respect their laws while the tribal courts want state courts to do the same.

Wendell,  who describes herself as a  “blonde white girl” who has been arguing cases on South Dakota reservations for years, said when she first started her chances of winning any cases in tribal courts were about as good as — well — being the “Easter bunny.”

She said she has developed a “good relationship” with the Cheyenne River tribal officials  and is “cautiously optimistic” that the girls might be returned to their fathers at the next hearing in tribal court in Eagle Butte on Oct. 29.

“I think she (the judge) knows that legally, procedurally and substantially that the law favors returning the kids to their dads,” Wendell said.

However, the judge could face a political backlash on the reservation if she does give up the two girls from the reservation and may even face the  loss of her job as the judge serves at the pleasure of the tribal chairman — as is the case on most reservations.

Moreover, Wendell said this custody case has been played out a lot in social media and has drawn a lot of attention.

“However, I think there’s been a lot of misinformation,” she said.

There have been allegations from Taylor that she has suffered physical and mental abuse from Aarin Nygaard  and his family and that he sexually abused the older daughter.

In a petition that was sent to the parole board, another Taylor extended family member, Jennifer Ducheneaux, wrote that  “for years she (Taylor) has been dealt verbal abuse, physical abuse and harassment from the Nygaard family.”

The allegations infuriate the fathers and their families.

Cass County assistant state’s attorney Tristan Van de Streek backs up the fathers, saying there was an intensive investigation by police and other agencies into the abuse allegations but the evidence was insufficient.

“No way could we win the case with the evidence we had,” said Van de Streek, who also prosecuted the parental kidnapping case against Taylor. He did say a confrontation between Nygaard and Taylor at one point in their relationship, however, did land Nygaard with a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, although it was later dismissed.

Another judge — magistrate judge Susan Solheim of Fargo — also has reviewed the relationships and the case and granted the fathers full custody, plus issued two contempt of court charges against Taylor.

The custody order, however, remains the focus of the dispute with the tribal court.

Wendell said these type of battles between state and tribal courts happen more than a person might think.

“Do people seek refuge on the reservation? Yes,” Wendell said.

She has seen other custody fights linger on reservations for years or even in some instances don’t even make it to court — another example of how jurisdictional issues can drag on between state and tribal courts.

“Sometimes it’s ‘good luck’ trying to get anything done,” Wendell said.

Because of that, some people simply give up as it gets “too hard, too stressful and too emotional,” she said.

Wendell said this case is somewhat different, however, not only because there has been the parental kidnapping conviction but because the fathers and their families are sticking it out and not giving up.

“I give them a lot of credit for keeping up the fight,” she said.

Meanwhile, Michael Nygaard said he worries that when Taylor is released from prison, she’ll go to the reservation and then they’ll never see the girls again.

However, orders provided by the parole board state that she can’t leave North Dakota without obtaining advance permission from a parole officer and she must also have a travel permit.  The order also states that she must waive extradition from “any jurisdiction” where she would be found and not contest any effort to return her to the state.

Michael Nygaard said if the fathers aren’t awarded custody at the end of this month, they’re done in the tribal court and will try to move into federal court with the case.

Neither Judge Claymore or Jessica Ducheneaux returned phone calls on the case or couldn’t be contacted.

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I was kidnapped by my mother


September 13, 2015

Source: The Guardian

CJ Daugherty’s father wore a gun on his hip and had an obsession with Satan. One night, her mother woke her and told her to pack a suitcase – fast

CJ Daugherty

Any detective will tell you that when children go missing, the person most likely to have taken them is a parent. I was one of those children. My mother kidnapped me and my brother when I was 13 and he was seven. It probably saved our lives.

I never talked about this, in public or private, while my parents were alive. I’m talking about it now only because I know there are children out there going through what I went through. And women who don’t know what to do. If my own experience could help someone, it’s worthwhile.

Let me backtrack a bit here. I’ll start with the facts. I grew up in Texas. My childhood was one that news presenters might euphemistically describe as chaotic. My parents got married too young. They made bad choices the way teenage parents often do. My mother was 19 and beautiful. At 20, my dad liked fast cars and handguns. He could light up the room with his smile when he was in a good mood. But you didn’t want to be around him when his mood took a darker turn. There were other – stranger – things about him. He believed in demons. He thought Satan was talking to us through rock music and Sesame Street. He performed amateur exorcisms on us. You get the picture.

When I was seven, he moved us to a log cabin deep in the Rocky Mountains because he believed a revolution was coming. He stopped shopping in most stores, and announced that we would now raise or kill all our own food. He adopted a habit of wearing his gun in a holster on his hip like a sheriff in a western.

It was in that mountainside cabin that things got out of hand. He grew increasingly unstable. His temper was uncontrollable. People got hurt. Despite all of this, it took my mother a long time to leave.

It finally happened when I was 11, and after that I was the happiest kid of divorced parents ever. We left the log cabin and moved into a housing estate in town. My mother got a job and started making friends. It seemed like the worst was over. It wasn’t.

My father bought a house nearby where he lived with his new family (his secretary – oldest story in the book). He liked to show up unexpectedly at our flat. On more than one occasion, he forced the door open and then settled down on our battered Naugahyde couch, gun bulging at his hip. We were terrified of him. We believed that one day he was going to use that gun.

I kept begging my mother to move us away from him, but she was too frightened of what he might do if she dared. She waited too long. As if he knew what we were thinking, my father filed for – and received – an injunction to stop my mother from taking the children across the state line without his permission. We were trapped.

But laws can’t always stop a determined woman. After my dad kicked in our door one day over some minor perceived offence, my mother finally decided it was time to go.

Very late one night, she woke my brother and me from a sound sleep and gave each of us a suitcase. “Pack only what you need for the next few days,” she said. She wouldn’t tell us where we were going.

God only knows what I put into that bag. I was groggy with sleep, and didn’t understand what was happening. All I was certain of was that something wasn’t right. Her terror was contagious. I can still remember her shaking hands clutching cigarette after cigarette. And her voice urging me to “Hurry … hurry …”

She drove all night. My brother slept in the back seat but I stayed awake with her. She was so tense – hands white-knuckled on the wheel, teeth chattering – I was afraid if I slept I’d miss the crash. We expected police cars to start chasing us at any moment. But the scream of sirens didn’t come.

CJ Daugherty 2

CJ Daugherty’s mother with a deer after her father said they would raise or kill their own food.

She didn’t stop driving until the sun was high in the sky and we were two states away. We pulled into a cheap motel – the kind with wood-panelled walls and ancient carpeting. I remember that there was a pool, and I could hear happy kids swimming and laughing. I felt confused and very distant from their world. Only after we had slept for a few hours, did she tell us where she was taking us – back to Texas to start over as far away from my father as possible.

My little brother cheered at this news, even though he didn’t fully understand. I recall a stomach-churning mixture of tentative joy that we might have escaped the danger that had overshadowed us for so long, and fear that we’d never make it that far. We all knew my father would come looking for us. He would be so angry. And he drove fast.

With this in mind, we travelled mostly at night – dodging police cars and staying off the major highways as much as possible. It took two days to drive to Dallas. When we crossed the Texas state line (“Welcome to Texas, the Lone Star State”), my mother wept.

We went straight to my grandparents’ house, but we didn’t stay there long. They tried to smile for the children, but when they thought we weren’t looking the mood was grave. My father knew where they lived.

Years later, I would learn that my father drove as far as southern Colorado before giving up on finding us in the vast western mountains. Finally realising the futility of his pursuit, he headed back home and went to the lawyers. But he would soon discover that we were protected by the state’s stubborn independence – a Montana injunction did not much interest the judges of Texas.

My brother and I could keep a secret – neither of us ever told our father where we lived. I can remember him shouting at me in frustration during a telephone call – my mother prising the phone from my hand as I stood there in tears, hanging up the receiver, then unplugging it from the wall.

America is a big country – it is easy to get lost there. And for a while, like so many others before us, we did lose ourselves in it in order to stay safe. It was a long time before we could live what most people think of as a normal life. But that was OK. For the first time in our lives, we were safe.

Without my father around, my mother grew stronger. She stood up for herself to anyone who challenged her – sometimes to a fault. The three of us worked as a unit. We looked out for each other. My mother worked full-time, so I took on responsibility for my brother after school – ensuring he did his homework and stayed close by the house when out playing with friends.

After nearly two years in hiding, my parents negotiated visits – once a year in the summer, my brother and I would go to our father’s house for a few weeks. The rules were simple – if he hurt us, we’d never come back again.

I didn’t want to go – I was still afraid. But kids don’t get a choice.

On that first visit, I found my father somewhat subdued, as if the entire experience had diminished whatever it was that fired his rage. I kept my distance, nonetheless. It would be a long, long time before my father didn’t frighten me.

Even years later, our relationship was never close. I stayed in touch … just. Ironically, my mother would shout at me if I didn’t phone him regularly. “Just let it go,” she would say, without ever spelling out what “it” was.

The southern tradition of family loyalty and respect for elders trumped my miserable childhood and lingering resentment in her playbook.

That loyalty and obedience probably played some role in the time it took her to leave him. If I’m honest, much as I loved her, some part of me never forgave her for not running away earlier. And for allowing us to have the childhood we had.

I understand that she was caught up in an abusive relationship, and that those are complex monsters to disentangle. But emotionally I will never understand why she didn’t get her children out of danger sooner. I would urge any woman in an abusive relationship to pack those bags the first time he hits you. If he hits you once, he’ll hit you again. And if the law says you can’t take your kids out of a dangerous situation? Take them anyway. They will thank you later, when they are old enough to understand.

I spent years forgetting my childhood. I swore it would never define me. An unhappy childhood is just one tiny part of who I am. I was the world’s happiest teenager, I promise you. And I am a very happy grownup now.

My childhood will not define me, but I know it all stayed with me, buried deep in my subconscious. I believe profoundly in running away from your troubles. I do it all the time. Until recently, I had never once, in all my life, lived in the same house for more than three years.

When things go wrong, I still feel the urge to hit the road. And I hear my mother’s voice, brittle as glass: “Pack a bag. Hurry … Hurry … ”

CJ Daugherty’s new novel The Secret Fire is published by Atom, £6.99. To order a copy for £5.59, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call the Guardian Bookshop on 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p on orders over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99

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ABP World Group™ Risk Management

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