Invisible Children

Emily Fritts

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.

Mary Fritts kidnapped her 7-year-old daughter, Emily Fritts, from Staunton, Virginia, in August 1994 to avoid allowing her ex-husband visitation rights. The mother and daughter assumed new identities and moved frequently, living in Tennessee, Oregon, Kansas, Alaska, and Montana. Mary also homeschooled Emily. Emily’s father, Rodney Fritts, hired a private investigator and spent nearly half a million dollars searching for his daughter. After Rodney went on The Montel Williams Show in 2002, Mary made the decision to return Emily to her father and surrender herself to authorities in hopes of receiving reduced charges. Emily was 15 when she was reunited with her father. Mary was convicted of a misdemeanor and fined $250.

Date: April 15, 2002
Location: Tennessee, Oregon, Kansas, Alaska, and Montana

Documents: Date:
After 8 years on the run, girl reunited with father 2002-05-08
8 years after fleeing, mother and daughter come home 2002-05-09
In an August night of 1994 2002-09-15
Custody case mother is free, fined $250 2003-04-10
Home-Schooling Freedoms Help Parents Who Abduct Children 2004-11-18