Father waits to hear from daughter in 1993 parental abduction case

Source: Alberni Valley Times

Published: Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Joe Chisholm has been told that the daughter he has not seen since May 13, 1993, wants to contact him.

Counsellors with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection told Chisholm that his daughter, Sigourney Teresa Chisholm, who grew up in Victoria under the assumed identity of Thea Whelan, is doing okay, but is still in shock.

On Thursday, her mother, Patricia Joan O’Byrne, 54, was arrested at home by Victoria police, who were working with the Toronto Police Service to solve an 18-year-old parental abduction case. O’Byrne was known to neighbours and colleagues as Pamela Whelan, a public information officer for the provincial government at several ministries.

On Thursday, Toronto police and counsellors sat down with Thea, who was valedictorian of her 2009 graduating class from Victoria High School. She was told her father had been looking for her for 18 years. Her mother and father had married and lived in Toronto. They separated and had joint custody of her when the mother is accused of disappearing with her, violating a custody order. Thea was 20 months old. At the time, Chisholm had a fouryear-old son, Jesse, from a previous relationship.

A September tip to Calgarybased Missing Children Society of Canada eventually led to O’Byrne’s arrest. She is to appear Monday in Toronto’s College Park courthouse for a bail hearing.

Reached at home Saturday, Chisholm said the child protection counsellors have been doing a great job keeping him in touch with his daughter.

“We’ve been sending little notes and messages to her along the way,” Chisholm said. “They said she was in shock. I mean, we’re still in shock, even though we were prepared for this. Jesse and I are walking on eggshells. She didn’t know everything about her past and more is being revealed, and that’s shocking.”

Chisholm sent Thea a note telling her he was looking forward to meeting her. He also told her he cannot imagine what she’s going through. Chisholm’s parents, Don and Joan, have sent her family photographs and a note.

“She hasn’t responded yet. I’ve heard she wants to. It’s just a matter of time,” Chisholm said. “Everything is indicating she’s just getting ready for that day, whether it’s the weekend or a couple of weeks from now.”

Chisholm said his whole family is beside themselves.

“Every family gathering in the last 18 years has been like a funeral. It’s hard to get all excited and huggy and happy when someone’s missing.”

He hopes his daughter has good friends to help her through her extraordinary situation. Counsellors are continuing to support her, he said.

“They made sure she was talked down and not left to her own devices. She hasn’t done anything wrong. She hasn’t committed a crime. She’s the victim,” said Chisholm. “My biggest concern is that she has all the time she needs.”

Chisholm expressed empathy for his ex-wife and hopes the circumstances will not ruin his daughter’s relationship with her mother. “I mean, she’s a good kid – you’ve got to give her mom credit.”

Chisholm does not plan to attend O’Byrne’s court appearance Monday. He has sent her a message.

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Most cases of parental abduction resolved within a week

I found this article at Times Colonist.

I do not understand the numbers they are using here, as we know that most cases of parental abduction are NOT resolved within a week.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Between 200 and 300 children are abducted by a parent every year in Canada, according to the National Centre for Missing Children.

The vast majority of those cases are resolved within a week, with the parent either being found soon after or the parent returning voluntarily with the child.

The cases like that of Joe Chisholm and daughter Sigourney are relatively rare, said Christy Dzikowicz, director of missing children’s services at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

She hopes the media attention given it will help other missing child cases that have been unsolved for years.

“Every province has one and for those parents, it is always there. But they always have hope. We see it with all our families. Without fail, they all have absolute hope they will find their children.”

Victoria police Det. Roger de Pass said he wants the Chisholm case to give hope to other parents.

“It’s always challenging to solve older files but I think this investigation is a reminder to all families of missing children that there are still detectives working these files and they’re not giving up,” de Pass said.

Parental abductions are far more common than stranger abductions. There are about 50 child abductions by strangers a year, said the missing children’s centre.

Reasons for parental abduction vary, but often it is done by the parent who feels they have not been treated fairly in a custody dispute or feels misrepresented in court. Indeed, custody battles can see every negative comment ever made between a couple magnified into enormous character flaws.

Sometimes a child is abducted because the parent fears for the child’s safety.

Parental abduction is a criminal offence.

An RCMP study found:

• the mother and father are equally likely to abduct their child

• mothers tend to do so after a court order while fathers tend to abduct the child before the court order is made

• most abducted children are young, younger than seven years

• male and female children are equally likely to be abducted

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

Join the Facebook Group: International Parental Child Abduction