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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27619
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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Are there MO laws that can lead to criminal charges if you

Customer Question

Are there MO laws that can lead to criminal charges if you knowingly harbor a 16 year old runaway.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

There are state laws for things like interference with custody that would apply if you're a non-custodial parent or someone seeking custody that has not yet obtained a court order. It looks like the state of Missouri has left many of these things to local ordinance, though. The kidnapping statute talks about taking someone under age 14 without their consent but does not refer to keeping a teenager over the objection of a parent. The specific child kidnapping statute also talks about children under the age of 14. So it's not a crime if the child is 16.

If you happen to be in St. Louis, there is a city code section that specifically prohibits harboring a runway under the age of 17. That's a misdemeanor, unless you call the police or child services within 24 hours. If you're not in St. Louis, I can check the city code for wherever you live.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I live in Overland MO. That is a part of St. Louis County. I am an adoptive parent of a 16 y/o I adopted when she was 4. Her birth mothers parental rights were terminated. The birth mother hid her and harbored her twice in this month. Can she be charged with custodial interference or knowingly harboring a runaway?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, she can.

For some reason, my links didn't post above. Give me just a minute and I'll get them for you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Overland unfortunately does not have a statute similar to St. Louis's, and the St. Louis Code is just for the city. I'm reading the County Code, and I don't see any similar provisions. But she can be charged with custodial interference since her rights have been terminated and you have custody.