I found this to be an interesting article from the Detroit Free Press about what recourse Katherine Lester’s parents could have in keeping her from running away again…
Technically, Katherine Lester’s parents can prohibit her from reuniting with a Middle Eastern man she met on an Internet site. She is, after all, 16, a minor, and according to Michigan law, still under the care of her parents.
But realistically, there may be little they can do to keep her home, short of having a court declare the teen incorrigible, legal experts say.
But Lester turns 17 next week. Experts say that should she decide to leave home again, police may not want to look for a runaway at that age, particularly if her parents and authorities know where she is.
“I’ve had cases where kids that age get up and walk out, and yes, the police will take a missing persons report. But will they treat it like a 9-year-old who disappears off the street? No, they won’t,” said Bloomfield Hills attorney Leslie Logan, who specializes in family and probate law.
Attorney Diana Bare of Ortonville said the circumstances surrounding the case might make it more likely that law enforcement and the courts would be aggressive in trying to keep Lester in the country, but ultimately, her parents would have to seek help from the courts.
“I really think the danger in which this girl has put herself makes it a different kind of case,” she said. ” … The fact that she met him on the Internet, that he surreptitiously moved to get her out of the country, without her parents knowing, it just smacks of criminality.”
Michigan law allows children as young as 16 to wed with parental permission.
It also allows 16-year-olds to become what’s known as emancipated minors, freeing them from parental control.
But that takes a court order and there is no such order in the Lester case, at least not yet.
If the Lester family decided to try to control the girl with the court’s help, they would have to ask that a judge find her incorrigible — meaning she refuses to obey her parents — which would allow them to place her in a secure juvenile facility until she turns 18.
The measures may seem a bit drastic but isn’t what she did drastic at best?