Crimes Against Children
The FBI provides a rapid and
effective investigative response to reported federal crimes
involving child victims, such as kidnappings, sexual assaults,
sexual exploitation of children, international parental
kidnappings, and Child Support Recovery Act matters.
On-line child pornography and child sexual exploitation are the largest crimes
against children problems confronting the FBI. To respond, the FBI started the
Innocent Images National Initiative. Innocent Images is a proactive on-line undercover
operation designed to prevent child pornography and child sexual exploitation
committed via the Internet and on-line services, to identify and rescue witting
and unwitting child victims, to identify and prosecute child sexual offenders,
and to create an on-line environment where would-be offenders are deterred because
of the possibility of communicating with undercover law enforcement Agents.
INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL KIDNAPPING: MOHAMAD SALAH HAMOUDA
On April 25, 2000, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
was notified of a potential International Parental Kidnapping case by Mary Hamouda,
the mother of three children, ages ten, six, and four. Mary and her husband Mohamad
Salah Hamouda were going through a divorce. Mary had physical custody and a final
custody order had not been issued. The couple had a written agreement, arranged
by their lawyers, that Mohamad would have the children from the evening of April
21, 2000, through the evening of April 22. On April 23, the children did not
report for school. On April 27, Mary filed a complaint with her local police
department regarding the kidnapping of her children. Mohamad had been born in
Lebanon, and she feared that he most likely fled to that country. The next day
a police sergeant brought the case to the attention of an FBI Agent detailed
to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and asked the FBI
for assistance. It was determined that Mohamad and the children had taken a flight
The FBI contacted relatives of Mohamad, including his brother Samir. On
June 12, Mohamad contacted his brother in the United States. Samir notified
FBI that Mohamad had called and was planning to call him again in approximately
hour. FBI Agents arrived at Samir's home and spoke with Mohamad when he called
to speak with his brother. Mohamad said he planned to return to the United
States, arriving at Dulles Airport in Virginia on June 18. Upon his arrival,
was arrested and the children were re-united with their mother.
CASE STUDY: MULTIPLE CHILD ABDUCTIONS
In the spring of 2001, a young girl playing outside her apartment in Louisiana
was abducted by an unidentified man in a van. The local FBI field office
quickly set up a 24-hour command center at the local police department. Neighborhood
searches were conducted via the ground and air. The National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children and the America's Most Wanted television show gave the
case media publicity. A few days later an employee at a bus station recognized
the girl and called the police. The girl was recovered alive-thanks to well-orchestrated,
cooperative action between law enforcement, the media, and the public.
The investigation revealed that the kidnapper drove the girl to a remote hunting
cabin where he repeatedly raped her. He then drove to a bus station with the
intention of putting her on a bus back to her hometown.
The FBI believed this kidnapping might be related to another kidnapping which
had occurred a month earlier. In that case, another young girl was taken from
outside her Texas residence by an unknown white male. She was held at a remote
cabin for six days, sexually assaulted, then driven back to her neighborhood
Interviews of both girls revealed similarities in the description of the cabin.
A month later another Texas girl was reported
missing to the FBI. She was last seen getting off a school bus and talking
to a white male who was driving a white car. A witness observed the girl
car and drive away with the subject. Based on the similarities in the subject's
description, the FBI believed this incident was related to the two earlier
cases. The FBI established a local command post.
Two days later a vehicle used during the abduction was described as being
light colored with a Texas license plate. FBI Houston disseminated a composite
the kidnapper, and students from a Houston elementary school reported they
approached by an individual fitting the suspect's description. The students thought
this man's actions were strange and wrote down his license plate number.
The FBI traced the car to its registered owner and interviewed him. They
that the car was recently sold to a white male, possibly a transient, who
paid cash for the car. No identifying information on the subject was obtained,
is apparently common practice in Texas. The seller of the car was shown a
composite of the wanted subject and verified the composite resembled the
person who purchased
A search located a traffic citation for the suspect's car issued a few
months earlier in Texas to Gregory Cox.
A report of a suspicious vehicle near a remote cabin in Texas was received
by the sheriff's office. Law enforcement officers responded to the call
and observed a compact car occupied by a young female and a male subject
next to a
small cabin. The female ran from the car toward the law enforcement officers.
The male simultaneously got out of the car and ran away from the law enforcement
officers. The male ran a short distance and then fatally shot himself in
The suspect was later confirmed to be a known sex offender. Because his DNA was
on file, the FBI Laboratory was able to link known DNA belonging to the suspect
with unknown DNA samples obtained from the victims.