I hope this is ok to post. A number of people have asked about the FBI and when and how they become involved in these cases.
FBI Assistance in Missing Persons Cases
In a missing person case, as a matter of cooperation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will, at the request of a state or local law enforcement agency, make available the facilities of the FBI Identification Division and the FBI Laboratory.
Information pertaining to certain categories of missing persons, including missing children, may be entered into the missing person file of the FBI operated National Crime Information Center (NCIC) by the local law enforcement agencies and, since passage of the Missing Children Act (Pub. L. 97-272, amending, 28 U.S.C. § 534), by parents of missing children if the local law enforcement agency will not do so.
24 Hours Rebuttable Presumption
The rebuttable presumption set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 1201(b) does not create a presumption of kidnapping. Rather, it creates a presumption of transportation in interstate or foreign commerce in cases where an actual kidnapping has been established. The presumption was added to the statute to give the FBI jurisdiction to investigate. In a Federal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1), actual interstate or foreign transportation must be proved. See United States v. Moore, 571 F.2d 76 (2d Cir. 1978).
In 1932, Congress gave the FBI jurisdiction under the “Lindbergh Law” to immediately investigate any reported mysterious disappearance or kidnapping involving a child of “tender age”—usually 12 or younger. And just to be clear, before we get involved there does NOT have to be a ransom demand and the child does NOT have to cross state lines or be missing for 24 hours.
Introducing the CARD Teams
Child abductions by strangers are often complex and high-profile cases. And time is of the essence.
That’s why we’ve added another tool in our Crimes Against Children program that helps our local field offices in these cases: our Child Abduction Rapid Deployment, or CARD, teams.
Here’s the “who, what, when, and where” of these teams:
WHO makes up a CARD team? FBI agents with in-depth experience and a proven track record in crimes against children investigations, especially cases where a child has been abducted by someone other than a family member. Once selected, team members go through extensive training. Each team has a designated leader. The teams work closely with behavioral analysts, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) coordinators, and Crimes Against Children coordinators.
WHAT do the CARD teams do? Relying on their expertise and experience, team members make sure the investigation moves quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly. They provide our field divisions running the investigations with on-site investigative, technical, and resource assistance during the initial critical period after a child is kidnapped.
WHEN are the teams deployed? Soon after an abduction has been reported to a local FBI field office, to FBI Headquarters, or to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or in other cases when the FBI determines an investigation is warranted.
WHERE are the teams located and WHERE have they been deployed? We’ve created ten regional teams nationwide: two each in the northeast, southeast, north central, south central, and west. With the whole nation covered, we can send a team anywhere in the U.S. within hours.
In addition to their unique expertise, CARD teams can quickly establish an on-site command post to centralize investigative efforts and operations. Other assets they bring to the table include a new mapping tool to identify and locate registered sex offenders in the area, national and international lead coverage, and the Child Abduction Response Plan to guide investigative efforts.
Child Abductions—No Ransom
Our field offices respond to cases involving the mysterious disappearance of a child whenever and however they come to our attention. All reports of circumstances indicating that a minor has or possibly has been abducted are afforded an immediate preliminary inquiry.
In this initial inquiry, we evaluate all evidence, circumstances, and information to determine if an investigation is warranted under federal law. (For instance, it is a federal violation for a person to travel between states to engage in any sexual act with a person under 18.) If a case is warranted, we will immediately open an investigation in partnership with state and local authorities.
During 2005 alone, law enforcement entered 632,804 children as missing into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database. Although the majority of these children were temporarily missing and not abducted, we are committed to assisting law enforcement in investigating cases where there is appropriate jurisdiction.
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC)
Our National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC), part of our Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) near Quantico, Virginia, provides free assistance—in the form of investigative/operational support, research, and training—to federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies.
In particular, the NCAVC has a rapid response element that:
Applies the most current expertise available in matters involving missing and exploited children;
Provides immediate operational assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies involved in violent crime investigations; and
Provides onsite investigative support through technical and forensic resource coordination.
Upon being notified that a child has been abducted, our field offices and the NCAVC coordinate an immediate response to the abduction situation. The National Child Search Assistance Act of 1990 states that law enforcement agencies may not observe a waiting period before accepting a missing child report and that each missing child that is reported to law enforcement must be entered immediately into the state law enforcement system and National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Our special agents join local law enforcement in coordinating and conducting comprehensive investigations. Our Evidence Response Team personnel may conduct the forensic investigation of the abduction site, while a Rapid Start Team may immediately be deployed to coordinate and track investigative leads, which often number in the thousands.
Members of NCAVC also teach and give presentations at training courses for CAC Coordinators. In addition, more than 150 FBI agents nationwide are designated as NCAVC Coordinators and provide a necessary and effective link between the NCAVC, our local field offices, and local law enforcement.
The Morgan P. Hardiman Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC) was also established through legislation in 1998 under the NCAVC. According to the legislation, CASMIRC is "to provide investigative support through the coordination and provision of federal law enforcement resources, training, and application of other multidisciplinary expertise to assist federal, state, and local authorities in matters involving child abductions, mysterious disappearances of children, child homicide, and serial murder across the country."
Many FBI employees are parents, too, and we want nothing more than to keep your children safe. To that end, we make a concerted effort to help prevent child abductions in the first place through public outreach and education.
For example, we’ve created a brochure for parents entitled A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety to inform parents about the dangers of Internet-related abductions. Also see our Be Crime Smart webpage for more tips and guidance.
For more information about current kidnapping, child abduction, and missing person cases that we are investigating, visit the Kidnapping and Missing Persons webpage.
What We Investigate
Major Thefts/Violent Crime
• Art Theft
• Bank Robbery
• Cargo Theft
• Crimes Against Children
• Cruise Ship Crime
• Indian Country Crime
• Jewelry and Gems Theft
• Retail Theft
• Vehicle Theft
• Violent Gangs
Notably: (b) With respect to subsection (a)(1), above, the failure to release the victim within twenty-four hours after he shall have been unlawfully seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, kidnapped, abducted, or carried away shall create a rebuttable presumption that such person has been transported in interstate or foreign commerce. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the fact that the presumption under this section has not yet taken effect does not preclude a Federal investigation of a possible violation of this section before the 24-hour period has ended.
That gives the FBI jurisdiction to step in right from the start on any case involving a missing child.
(audio interview at link)
Mr. Schiff: Hello I’m Neal Schiff and welcome to Inside the FBI, a weekly podcast about news, cases and operations. The FBI has an Office for Victim Assistance and these folks have been at some major incidents, such as the tragedy at Virginia Tech, helping those in need.
Ms. Turman: “The Office for Victim Assistance was created shortly after 9/11. And it was established really to give focus to the FBI’s Victim Assistance program. The program really became fully focused about that time. We established fulltime Victim Specialist positions for all of the FBI field offices and then began developing special victims programs as well. And our officer here at Headquarters oversees all of the programs and positions and provides support and assistance to them.”
Mr. Schiff: What do Victim Specialists do?
Ms. Turman: “Well Victim Specialists are here to ensure that every victim in an FBI investigation receives the rights and assistance to which they are entitled under the law and which will help them cope with the impact of crime.”
Mr. Schiff: What are some of the types of situations that may have your staff called out on?
Ms. Turman: “Victim Specialists can get called out on all kinds of situations involving victims. For instance, even a bank robbery. If the FBI responds to a bank robbery where there has been violence, a Victim Specialist may go out to that bank robbery to assist the victims. To provide emotional support; to help contact family members if the victim has been injured or killed; a Victim Specialist may go out to the scene of a kidnapping to provide support to the family. There are other kinds, usually it’s a violent crime of some kind where they will provide immediate on-scene support to; they’ll provide crisis intervention for the family or surviving victims; they may go to a hospital or they may, as I said, go to a victim’s home.”
Mr. Schiff: Well certainly coming to mind is the heinous crime at Virginia Tech a couple of years ago that your office definitely was on scene.
Ms. Turman: “Yes, Victim Specialists may also respond as teams to those kinds of incidents like Virginia Tech. We have Victim Assistance Rapid Deployment Teams which consist of some of our Victim Specialists who are highly trained. They have been through special training for these kinds of mass casualty events and they will go out and support the local responders as well. In Virginia Tech, we were there with local Virginia victim assistance responders. We worked alongside the Red Cross, with folks from Virginia Tech, and provided a lot of assistance, not only to the university staff, but to victims’ families and participated in the Family Support Center, but also found that they were helping people in all kinds of venues even sitting in a restaurant one evening after being at the Family Assistance Center. They found they were talking to a Virginia Tech student who was a waiter who was very impacted by the event.”
Mr. Schiff: When you are out at a scene of violence, you almost have to put yourself away from what really happened to be able to have the where-with-all to be able to assist those who are the victims?
Ms. Turman: “Absolutely. And I think our folks are trained; they’re almost all social workers; they have mental health degrees; they’ve worked with violent crime victims for many, many years. Most of them have Masters Degrees and they are professional Victim Specialists, so they have to have a degree of objectivity. They look at this as professionals; so they’re trained to provide to provide support; they’re trained not to get to personally involved. So it is their job; they care very much, and they are able to provide a wonderful level of compassionate support, but it’s also very practical and they approach it as part of their job. So they can do their jobs without losing their objectivity. Somebody has to be able to do that and to make good decisions to provide support and assistance to people who are not able to think very clearly and not able to manage sometimes even the most basic tasks because everything has been pulled out from under them.”
Mr. Schiff: How large a staff do you have and what kind of training do they go through?
Ms. Turman: “Right now we have 122 fulltime Victim Specialist positions for the field and we have about, we’ve just grown, to about 20-something people here at headquarters. All of our people come to their jobs with a great deal of professional training and education. And then they go through additional training here. We have annual training for all of our staff that’s very FBI specific that deals with specific kinds of cases. A lot of our folks are licensed social workers or clinical social workers, so they have to through additional training to maintain those licenses ever year. If they are on the Rapid Deployment Teams, then they go through specialized training for that. We also have Child Interview Specialists, Forensic Child Interview Specialists on our staff who receive specialized training to be able to do those jobs, to interview child adolescent victims who have been victims of all kinds of crimes and sometimes have been witnesses to horrific crimes as well. So they have specialized training in child development and how children develop language. They may also interview kids who have developmental disabilities.”
(more at link)
bumping this reference thread to the front of the reference forum to make it easier to find among the Today's News threads