West Coast Kidnapping Suspect Found in South Carolina

Los Angeles Man Accused of Kidnapping Discovered with Victim in Grand Strand


A man wanted on the West Coast for “child stealing” has been discovered after two years in hiding in Grand Strand, SC.

Donald Eugene Byrd, 59, has been on the run for two years after kidnapping his grandson, who was 12 at the time. He took the boy from the child’s mother, who had full custody of him, in the midst of a heated custody battle.

Byrd was wanted specifically by the Los Angeles Police for child stealing, which is a form of child abduction or kidnapping.

The kidnapping suspect was found at a home near Myrtle Beach after the Horry County Sherriff’s Department’s warrants division received a tip about his location. Reportedly, Byrd answered the door but identified himself as someone else. After answering several questions, he admitted that he was the kidnapping suspect.

The kidnapping victim, now 14, was also found in the residence. He has been taken to the Department of Social Services.

According to the Horry County Sheriff’s Department, the pair had been living in Grand Strand for a couple of months. Byrd has been booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center, and is awaiting extradition back to Los Angeles.

Child Abduction and Parental Kidnapping

Kidnapping is defined as taking someone to an undisclosed location against their will. According to the laws of South Carolina, whoever shall unlawfully seize, confine, inveigle, decoy, kidnap, abduct or carry away any other person by any means whatsoever without authority of law, except when a minor is seized or taken by his parent, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for a period not to exceed thirty years unless sentenced for murder as provided in Section 16-3-20[i].

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Efforts to Combat Crimes Against Children released a report in 2009 stating that the agency had investigated 653 reports of domestic parental kidnapping between 2000 and 2007. While most of these children were returned home safely to the custodial parent or guardian, single parents often fear for their children’s safety.

In the midst of a heated custody battle, one parent might fear that the other parent will refuse to accept the court’s ordered custody, and kidnap the child or children.

Federal law has specific provisions regarding kidnapping, and the FBI is responsible for child abduction investigations. The FBI also has internal policies to assist local law enforcement with investigations into child abduction and kidnapping.

If you suspect your child has been kidnapped by a relative due to a custody dispute, it is important to remember these three things:

1.     Contact the police. It will help to create a legitimate paper trail, and if there is significant evidence of an abduction or kidnapping, the police will issue an Amber Alert.

2.     Contact the court that issued the custody order. If the courts know that the non-custodial parent, or another relative, has taken illegal custody of your child, they also have the authority to involve police.

3.     Keep lines of communication open with family members. Try to communicate with your ex and his/her family, or with other family members if the kidnapper is related to you.

The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes Criminals On Behalf of Kidnapping Victims

If you or a loved one are the victims of a serious crime, including kidnapping, it is important that you take the person who hurt you to court – whether it is a criminal trial, or personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have been based in Columbia, SC for 16 years, and are also licensed to practice in Georgia and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us for help. 803.252.4800.

About Pete Strom

Defending criminal charges including drug crimes, DUI, CDV, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, computer crimes, money laundering, and juvenile crimes, Pete also handles Federal and State investigations. Representing individuals in Civil Matters including Class Actions, Personal Injury, Qui Tam Actions, Defective Products, Nursing Home Neglect, and Professional Licensing Defense cases. Joseph Preston “Pete” Strom, Jr., the managing partner at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., has been fighting for justice since 1984.

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