Two Orlando men charged with felony interference with custody of a child have been sentenced to one day in jail with credit for time served, 100 hours of community service and two years of probation following their entry of a plea of no contest.
Christopher Stokes and Richard Douglas abducted an eight-year-old Orlando boy after his mother told them she believed the child was living on the streets with her estranged husband, the boy’s father.
The men abducted the boy in March from an Orlando area hotel, and then called police an hour later to ask about Florida child custody law. A police dispatcher informed the caller that what they had done was kidnapping, a federal offense, and the caller then hung up.
Believing the call was linked to the abduction case, the dispatcher traced the call back to Stokes and the police then arrested him and Douglas. Officers returned the boy to his father unharmed.
This case provides a quick lesson in the right and wrong way to solve child custody disputes. Violating a court order regarding child custody on your own is never a good idea. If you believe your child is in danger or being harmed, you should contact a child custody attorney immediately, who can petition the court for an emergency hearing to resolve the dispute.