Abducted then Murdered Children: a Canadian Study
Preliminary Results

May 25th, 2016, marks the 30th anniversary of Canada’s participation in International Missing Children’s Day. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is recognizing this important day by releasing preliminary findings from its report titled Abducted then Murdered Children: A Canadian Study. The purpose of the study is to better understand the demographics of these children and gain insights into the techniques and histories of the offenders – all in an effort to help identify additional prevention and intervention strategies in the area of abducted and murdered children.

While cases of abducted then murdered children are extremely rare, the impacts of such events on communities and the general public are significant. The apparent randomness and heinous nature of such crimes creates an atmosphere of fear and vulnerability, undermining the public’s sense of security.

The study, which is the first of its kind in Canada, examined 155 child victims and 93 offenders. It involved an environmental scan and examination of instances involving the abduction and subsequent murder of a child by someone other than the child’s parent or relative. Some key findings include:

  • The average age of the victims was 11.6 years old, with a significant proportion of victims between the ages of 14 and 16 years old
  • The average offender was 25.9 years old, and 22% were under the age of 18
  • In 68% of the instances where an approximate abduction location could be established, the abduction occurred within the child’s own neighbourhood
  • 36% of instances involved prior contact between the offender and the victim
  • Children appeared to have been taken by force in 18% of the instances
  • In 77% of cases, the offender’s motivation for abducting a child was sexual or presumed sexual
  • In 60% of the cases where time could be determined, 70% of the victims were murdered within 3 hours of abduction
Province Number of Children
British Columbia 46
Ontario 40
Quebec 34
Manitoba 10
Alberta 10
Saskatchewan 8
New Brunswick 3
Nova Scotia 2
Newfoundland 1
Nunavut 1
Total 155

The information gleaned from this study underscores the importance of resources aimed at increasing the personal safety of children. To this end, the Canadian Centre has created a tip sheet for parents, Keeping Children Safe from Abduction.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has operated a missing children’s program for the last 30 years (formerly operating as Child Find Manitoba, and now directly affiliated with Child Find Ontario). As a result, our staff had connected with a number of victim families before the study began. Over the course of the study, the Canadian Centre attempted to reach out to additional victim families through police and other contacts. If we have not made contact with you, and you believe that your child may be represented in the study, please contact us.