Lawyer: 'If you take your child...the legal ramifications are very severe'

Custodial interference is a scary reality, one that family lawyers say happens too often.

PHOENIX -- - Jacob Gochenour now has full custody of his son, 1-year-old William, who has been missing for three months with the boy's mother and Gochenour's ex-wife Madeline Jones.

Gochenour is hoping his son will be returned soon.

"I'm very much hurt. I feel incomplete without my son. It's been really hard to go through all of this and not be part of his life and still not know how he's doing and if he's alright," said Gochenour. 

Custodial interference is a serious reality -- one that happens too often.  

"If you take your child and use self help, you just opened up a can of worms and the legal ramifications are very severe. It happens and it's unfortunate," said Attorney David Michael Cantor, from the Cantor Law Group. 

According to the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children, more than 2,100 children are reported missing every single day in the United States. That equates to one child reported missing every 41 seconds.

Abduction by a family member makes up 82 percent of all abduction scenarios.

As a criminal law specialist, Cantor advises family members to seek other solutions if there is a problem.

"Do not use self help. Go through the system, trust the system," said Cantor.

Cantor said people have a number of options.

"You can go to child help. You can go to detectives. You can get a lawyer to help you file paperwork. If you can't afford a lawyer, you can go directly to the court and they have self help counters that will allow you to file for orders of protection and junctions against harassment. There's all sorts of avenues available to parents other than taking a child and going on the run," said Cantor. 

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Madeline Jones and 1-year-old William, should call Mesa police. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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