From the time we first got them, my ex-husband insisted on keeping my passport and our children's passports in a file at his office "so they wouldn't get lost". Each time we used them to go somewhere, he would immediately collect them and take them out of the house. Thinking back now in hindsight, I realize I was never given access to our passports on my own; my husband always brought them home himself when we needed them (which wasn't very often).
Then one day when we were planning for a trip (and I can't remember which one right now), I mentioned to my husband that he'd need to remember to bring home our passports so I could check the expiration dates on them and pack them.
A few hours later, my husband called and said he didn't have the passports. He claimed they weren't in the file at his office where he normally kept them and that I had kept them after our last trip and must have stashed them somewhere. I knew this wasn't true, and I reminded him about how he always insisted on taking them; he responded by accusing me of having misplaced them. I knew he was wrong, but I spent the rest of the day searching our house from top to bottom just to make sure. I also went over and looked in our safe deposit box. Of course the passports weren't in either place.
When my husband got home that night, I told him I was now positive the passports were not in our house or at the bank. I also told him I intended to go over to his office and look for them myself because I knew that's where they were.
At that point, my husband insisted on immediately going back over to his office to look again by himself. I can't remember exactly how long he was gone--maybe an hour or so. He came back and said he was absolutely positive all of our passports were not there. He said they must have been stolen out of the file drawer and that we would all have to apply for replacements. I told him I still wanted to go over and look for them myself, but he insisted he was sure they were gone.
The next day, I spoke with his office staff about the matter, and they too said the passports must have been stolen, but they would not let me go back to look for them "because they were busy". Reluctantly, I took the kids to pick up and fill out new applications and have new photographs taken. My husband also went separately and did the same--I saw his application and photo and mailing envelope all ready to be sent, although he said he mailed his application separately from his office.
We all received our new passports in time to take our trip, although my husband's must have been delivered separately to his office. I mentioned to my husband that I'd reported the kids' and my passports as missing or stolen when I applied for new ones for us. I told him I still believed the originals had been misplaced at his office, and I reminded him that if they should ever turn up, we were obligated by law to inform the government and surrender them immediately. He said he knew this.
A year or two later (again, I can't remember exactly when), my husband came home and told me out of the blue that our missing passports had turned up at his office after all. He said they'd been misfiled, and someone had noticed them and realized what they were. I told him we needed to go turn them in the next day. My husband said he'd already done this and the whole matter had been taken care of.
Many years later after he'd left and I'd begun to discover all the strange things that were going on around here, I realized I'd never actually known anything about the missing passports other than what my husband and his office staff had told me. I wrote to the FBI office in San Antonio and explained all this to them because I was afraid other people might have used our passports without our knowledge, but I never received any reply from them.
I will say that every time my children and I used our passports, I don't ever recall noticing any unusual stamps or markings for trips I didn't know about. However, I remain concerned about the fact that, in retrospect, my children and I did not have control of our own passports (meaning they might have been used without our knowledge) much of the time and that we only have my ex-husband's word that he really did return the lost ones when they turned up again. My own passport has now been expired for some time because I haven't used it or renewed it.