USA / Brazil: Arrest of boy’s grandparents gives hope for father in parental abduction case

The grandparents of a boy in a high-profile international custody battle are under arrest for their alleged role in his abduction. In 2013, Nicolas Brann was taken to Brazil by his mother, Marcelle Guimaraes. He’s been there ever since.

Nico’s father, Christopher Brann, turned to the FBI two years ago for help getting his son back, but hadn’t heard about the case until Wednesday. With the federal authorities now involved, he hopes the arrests of Nico’s grandparents means his son could be one step closer to returning home.

Brann saw his son in Brazil just last week. The Houston physician found out about the arrests in a surprise Wednesday morning call from his attorney.

“When I answered the phone he simply said ‘are you sitting down?’ And I said, ‘yes.’ And he said ‘are you ready to cry like a baby?’ And I said ‘yes,'” Christopher recounted to CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller. “It’s the first time that I’ve actually had any hope.”

Nico was taken by his mother, Marcelle Guimaraes, in July 2013, nearly a year after the couple divorced. She claimed they were going to Brazil for a wedding, and never returned. According to the FBI, Marcelle’s parents, 67-year-old Carlos Guimaraes and his 62-year-old wife Jemima, helped carry out the plot.


Christopher Brann and his son, Nico.


A criminal complaint secretly filed by federal prosecutors last year alleges Nico’s grandmother helped enroll him in a Brazilian school two months before his trip. It also says Nico’s grandfather Carlos bought plane tickets to make it seem like Nico was coming back to Texas.

Asked if Nico grandparents should be jailed, Christopher said, “I believe that justice should be served. I don’t know that I’m in favor of them, you know, being in jail into perpetuity.”

With her parents in custody, Christopher hopes his ex-wife will want to start serious discussions about returning Nico. A Texas judge granted him the right to decide where Nico should live, but the Brazilian courts have so far ignored it.

Christopher only gets to see his son in Brazil every two to three months. He is worried Marcelle will use the grandparents’ arrests to turn his son against him.

“My hope, pure and simple, is that Nico comes home, that we can make amends, that we can move on with our lives, and that Nico will have equal access to both parents in his life because that’s what he deserves,” Christopher said.

The grandparents will make their first appearance in federal court next week. They each could face up to eight years in prison if convicted. In a statement to CBS News, Marcelle’s attorney said her client’s parents are not related to this case and Mr. Brann has regular access to see his son.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from Brazil or The United States feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)


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