Elaine Tipton, deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, said a parent sometimes takes a child "to punish or deprive or harm the left-behind parent," turning the youngster into a perverse weapon.
"There's a mutual belief that the other one isn't a fit parent," she
said, adding that such acrimony can lead to a denial of visitation rights, which the district attorney may or may not prosecute.
"The true parental abduction, where the parent abducts the child and vanishes, is not all that frequent in San Mateo County, but it does happen," Tipton
said there is an exception in state law that allows a parent to seize a child if the youth is in immediate danger, but the district attorney must be informed of the child's whereabouts and the cause for concern.
"Other than that, there really is no defense for abducting your child," she