More than 10 years ago, the mother of an 8-year-old girl fled the United States while embroiled in a custody dispute. Her now-husband was with them. According to court records, the girl was taken from her father, who had custody while living in New Hampshire. The Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested the mother’s husband as he returned to the U.S.
According to federal marshals, the girl, who is now 19, was with the man when he was arrested. She was questioned by investigators to ensure that she was doing okay. She is safe and that was the primary goal for the marshals.
Mother Turned Herself in Last November
The mother fled with the child in 2004 to South America. Once the girl was no longer considered a minor and the family court no longer had control of her, the mother turned herself into authorities. That occurred last November. The man and the girl’s travel arrangements were reported to the marshals, who were waiting for the pair when they arrived in Atlanta from Costa Rica.
According to a supervisor for the marshals, they had followed a lot of false leads over the past 10 years on where the child was. They found several children who looked like the missing girls, but none of the leads panned out.
Mother Said the Child’s Father Was Abusing the Girl While in His Custody
The mother says that she left with her child after learning that the little girl was being abused by her father. An investigation was completed due to those allegations; however, there were never any charges filed. According to the mother’s lawyer, the young woman plans to testify at her mother’s trial, due to start next month. The mother is currently out on bail worth $250,000. Her husband is currently in an Atlanta jail. Proceedings for extradition to New Hampshire will begin if he doesn’t agree to return to face the charges.
Child custody can be a contentious topic during a divorce; however, when a parent flees with a child because he or she doesn’t like the custody, visitation or parenting time arrangement, it is a crime. International child custody cases take an experienced attorney because of the agencies that must be involved. For those who have had their child or children taken without a court order to another country, an attorney can prove a valuable ally.
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