Understanding Stages of Grief applied to Parents Affected by Parental Child Abduction / Alienation / Retention

June 23, 2016

Source: Medium.com

“The death of a child is indisputably one of the most incredibly horrible tragedies one can imagine. Whether by sudden accidental circumstance, or by a more lengthy cause as in illness, the loss of a child is undeniably painful to experience. Painful to the parents, parents to the family, and painful to anyone related to the child. Never knowing the laughter of that child again or the tears, the joys and the accomplishments is a pain no parent should ever have to endure, and yet it happens. No one might be to blame. It can just happen”. (Tim Line)

Imagine a similar pain and the same sense of loss, with one exception-the parent is very much aware that the child is alive.

Parental Alienation PAS

The effects of Parental Alienation, Parental Child Abduction and retention are very similar to the loss of a child in some other way. However, the bereavement cannot end.

This feeling of bereavement can also affect the child that an abducting/alienating parent claims to love and can have serious emotional scars that can remain for a long period of time – If not for a lifetime.

Yet, parental child abduction and parental alienation remain as silent abuses that the effects never seem to be fully understood unless you or your family have to cope with this trauma yourselves.

Even parents that are lucky enough to have any contact whatsoever with their children, Parental Alienation, where a custodial parent maliciously tries to destroy the relationship between the child and target parent, rips the innocent child from their arms slowly. They witness the suffering. They witness the effects but they feel powerless to do anything about it.

The very sad part of this is it is not unique. There are hundreds of thousands of children and parents affected by Parental alienation and also thousands of cases involving parental child abduction but it is only recently that law professionals are starting to sit up and take notice of the traumatic emotional damage that this can cause target families and children.

If you are a parent, spend a moment to look at your children and imagine what it would be like if you woke tomorrow morning to find that they are not there and you have no idea where they have been taken to or if you will ever see them again. Imagine the minefield of legal litigation required to locate and reunite with your children once they have been found to have been abducted abroad?

Imagine pleading for help from authorities, courts, family, friends and groups but they are powerless or reluctant to help to reunite you with your child and can even facilitate the abduction, alienation and retention by their inaction.

People find it very difficult to understand the effects on a target parent. Many feel that eventually, time should allow you to “get over it” and just carry on with life but it is not that simple.

Let us look at an extended Kübler-Ross model that tries to explain the stages of grieving and see how that can be applied to a parent who is retained from their children’s lives.


In many cases, a target parent can actually identify the signs that abduction and alienation might occur but they are often given false reassurances that this will not happen or is not happening by authorities and legal professionals. When it does, the initial trauma is one of shock and numbness. However, there is a belief that everybody around will be just as horrified at the situation and will do everything they can to find a resolution to return the child to the situation prior to abduction/retention


Unlike a bereavement resulting from death, the shock never really passes as a target parent fails to understand how the situation could have occurred and begins questioning people around them. One minute they were a loving parent sharing their children’s lives and the next, it is taken away from them, often through no or little fault of the affected parent. Emotions can overflow their usual boundaries. They are expressed in ways ranging from wrenching sobs to gentle tears.

sad child

The strongest try to look for a resolution quickly and place their trust in authorities, lawyers, courts and organisations to help them resolve the situation. These emotions heighten even further if heinous “tactics” are used by the other parent to achieve their alienating objectives such as false allegations. This stage in the grieving process is also without end.

Stage 3: ANGER.

Mixed with the hurt, many people feel angry. “How could the other parent do this to them?”, “Why aren’t people doing enough to help?”, in cases where false allegations are used as a mechanism to aliene and retain their child, “Why are the authorities listening to them? This is NOT me that they are talking about!” They sometimes want to retaliate. Although the anger is towards the other parent for their actions, it can also be transferred to other areas such as the lawyers and authorities for their apathy and inaction. The anger can also be misdirected at people closest to the target parent through their absolute despair of the situation and this can affect friendships, relationships and support. This anger one feels can reappear so once again is another stage in the process than can be without end

Stage 4: SICKNESS.

Often the body acts out the pain being felt through actual physical symptoms. Nausea, headaches, diarrhoea, extreme fatigue, lack of sleep are common. In some cases, panic attacks can occur that can be compared to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) especially in situation such as family court proceedings. Once again, as these litigation processes can be ongoing, so can recurrences of the sickness stage.

Stage 5: PANIC.

Along with a time of sickness and emotional upset, people begin to realise that they aren’t acting like themselves anymore. They begin to worry, wondering if they are becoming mentally ill. They frequently ask themselves “What is happening to me?”. From the outsiders point of view, this is often met with wrongful judgement. They can lose sight of the person they really are and just start to see the shell of the person that the target parent might be becoming without the help to keep them strong and focused. The longer it takes for resolution, the harder it is for the target parent to cope. Apathy often occurs in other aspects of the target parents lives that could affect their work and personal lives.

Stage 6: GUILT.

Personal guilt feelings build up as people wonder whether they are somehow to blame for the situation they find themselves in. They ask themselves if they could have done something to make it different…. “if only . . .”


The pain of their loss often causes people to withdraw into themselves. As the depression deepens, friends and family find it harder to draw the person out, to talk them into participating in regular activities again. Many suffer detachment issues in their relationships with others. Mixed with the other stages that are still present in some form, without understanding of family and friends, it can appear as though the target parent does not WANT to be around people who care when it is, in fact, quite the opposite.


Once the effort is made to get back into the normal routine, the pain of loss makes it difficult to be as trusting and open as before the loss. Suspicion must be battled constantly. Friends and families are tested again and again.

Stage 9: HOPE.

Only the very strongest emotionally of the target parents can maintain this. They focus on areas that might be able to help others in a similar situation. They identify the failures in the system that do not seem to protect and try to do something about it. Some try to become advocates or write a book about their experiences. Raise awareness in whatever way they can. Some affected parents can never reach this stage as they feel defeated, betrayed and can even result in major depression or even suicide.


Sadly, a parent who continues to be subjected to alienation and retention can never fully reach this stage. Many are forced into a position where they have to box all of the emotions that they feel and “give up” on finding a solution as a means of self preservation. Although they do not give up on their love for their children, they give up hope of ever being a parent to that child again.


In conclusion to this short paper, it appears that when a child is retained, alienated and/or abducted the grieving processes begins but can NEVER end until there is resolution. Unfortunately, in many cases, this forced “living bereavement” goes without deterrent or accountability in the family courts or by authorities which continues to subject families to this abuse.

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Angie Vu spends her birthday in jail on parental kidnapping charges

June 3, 2016

Source: nydailynews.com

Call it a windowless room with a Vu.

Model Angie Vu

It’s model/DJ Angie Vu’s birthday, but she isn’t partying. Asia’s sexiest deejay turned 33 on Wednesday at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she has spent nearly seven months fighting extradition to Paris and parental kidnapping charges.

Vu has endured a seismic shift in her life from globe-hopping deejay to Bureau of Prisons inmate 86359053, coping through prayer, exercise, and reading the Bible.

But her fellow inmates weren’t clued in about the birthday because the Vietnamese stunner just doesn’t think there’s anything to celebrate.

“I attended some birthday parties in here. …It was nicely celebrated from what possibly (could be) done with what we had in prison, but I still found it sad,” she told the Daily News’ John Marzulli, adding that she has partied “all over the world.”

“I get used to VIP tables, hanging out with beautiful models, drinking champagne from the bottle, dancing on the sofa. … So no prison birthday party, (it) will make me cry,” she said.


“I will just read books and do yoga today. I also play chess a lot these days,” according to Vu. “I became the chess champion in the unit.”

Vu is hoping that Federal Judge Frederic Block will grant a hearing on her petition which claims the family court in France improperly gave custody of her daughter to the biological father Richard Froger.

Vu was arrested last November at Kennedy Airport as she and her child were about to board a flight to China with one-way tickets.

Vu’s 9-year-old daughter Isabella is living with her father in Paris.

“There’s nothing to celebrate about when my only child is kidnapped by the father against all the laws and I got thrown in prison with the blame,” Vu said.

With any luck at all, someone will bring her a birthday cake with a file in it.

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Cyprus – Child ‘kidnapper’ a notorious mercenary

February 2, 2016

Source: in-cyprus.com

One of the suspects arrested Sunday on suspicion of attempting to kidnap a four-year-old girl living in Nicosia is a notorious former mercenary, according to state television.


CyBC TV reported Tuesday night that the now 60-year-old Norwegian Espen Lee had been a mercenary operating in the Middle East with the Omega pirate group.  Lee is also an international debt collector and has an international security company, Espen Lee Security, which advertises highly specialised security solutions all over the world and has its own website.

Lie and two other suspects – said to be 29, 40 – were taken into custody on Sunday at the Agios Dometios checkpoint after reports that they had come to the island to take the child from its Greek Cypriot mother. All three are Norwegian nationals, and neither of them is a relative of the child.

“The suspects are currently in court where investigators are seeking to keep them in remand while investigations are continuing”, Police Spokesperson Andreas Angelides told the Cyprus Weekly.

“The hearing may be postponed until a Norwegian translator is found. They are currently under investigation for conspiracy to commit a crime. Attempted kidnapping will most likely be added as an additional charge later.”

He added: “The child’s mother had secured an injunction from Cyprus to have the child returned to her from the father – who is Norwegian and whom she had separated from. We had received information that the trio would be arriving in Cyprus to kidnap the child, and we have sufficient evidence to back up those claims.”
Lie’s lawyer denies his client’s involvement in the case but allegedly the suspect was carrying documents which prove he was searching for the little girl.

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20 years, 794 rescues: How a Hood County woman thought up Amber Alerts

January 16, 2016

Source: star-telegram.com

Twenty years after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was found dead in Arlington, a Hood County woman cried all over again this week.


Massage therapist Diana R. Simone in her Fort Worth office in 2002, when she was unmasked as the anonymous radio listener who suggested Amber Alerts.

“It got pretty emotional,” said Diana R. Simone, the massage therapist whose idea for Amber Alerts has rescued 794 children.

“I just wish something could have been done for Amber.”

Simone and a client, the late Rev. Tom Stoker of Fort Worth, were talking about the grim news and crying that day on the massage table.

In the early days of brick-sized cellphones, she wondered aloud if an alert could be sounded for missing children.

“Why not radio?” Stoker asked, popping up from the table. Simone called a KDMX/102.9 midday host, Kim Ashley, and the Amber Alert was born.


Two decades later, it’s finally working the way she imagined. The new cellphone Amber Alerts have rescued 21 children.

That year, seven local radio station managers from competing chains, including Dan Bennett and Tyler Cox of what is now Cumulus Media’s WBAP/820 AM and KLIF/570 AM, did the hard work to set up a local broadcast alert system, similar to those for thunderstorms.

“Now people say, ‘Oh, you’re the one who thought up those phone alerts waking me up at 2 in the morning!’ ” Simone said.

“But we’re away from radio more now. People listen to their own music. But they take their cellphones everywhere.”

“The heroes are the police looking for these children, and the firefighters, and the people working in battered women’s shelters”-Diana R. Simone of Hood County, who suggested Amber Alerts.

Until 2002, the radio managers always credited a “listener idea” and Simone remained anonymous. It was Stoker who unearthed a copy of her followup letter, and KDMX officials identified it.

In 2002, she said she had never told anyone it was her idea because “it seemed to be working.”

It is. The incidence of child abductions by strangers has declined sharply since 1996, and the alerts also discourage family abductions that risk lives.

“It’s fantastic that it acts as a deterrent,” Simone said.

“It puts a million eyes on the lookout in a matter of minutes.”

Simone, now 70, is often held up as an example of the power of ideas.

When The Dallas Morning News’ Sharon F. Grigsby wrote a nice salute to Simone this week, the headline was: “Think ‘just plain folks’ can’t make a difference? This life-saving woman sure did.”

“In today’s world — which too often seems to be going to hell in a handbasket and in which scoundrels, posers and just plain jerks get too much air time — I wanted to make sure Diana Simone’s name was lifted up,” Grigsby wrote.

Simone was sheepish.

“It strikes me as so strange when people talk about me,” she said.

“The heroes are the police looking for these children, and the firefighters, and the people working in battered women’s shelters. I only did something, just one thing, one time.”

But it has worked 794 times.

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Child Abduction Safety

January 6, 2016

Source: kake.com

Wichita A father mistaken for a predator after a woman calls police saying the man tried to lure children into his car.

Stranger Danger Child Kidnapping

The incident happened on north Robin.

KAKE News reached out to the family who learned it was a big misunderstanding. However, the family feels grateful the woman cared enough to let police know about something that may have seemed suspicious.

Brittany, who didn’t want to go on camera, laughs knowing someone mistook her husband for a possible child predator. She says if the report was true she would fear for her children’s safety, “someone possibly around this area trying to pick up kids that’s frightening as a parent.”

She says she’s taught her little ones to stay away from strangers, “to first off run as fast as you can in the opposite direction and to yell as loud as possible.”

Wichita Police Department says that’s a good idea but also suggest kids learn their parent’s names, phone numbers, address and even other emergency contact numbers.

It’s suggested to have ID photos taken about every six months. Also, to make sure dental and medical records are up to date.
It’s a good idea to also have your children fingerprinted.

Parental-Child-Abduction USA

They say avoid dressing kids in clothing with their names on it. Children tend to trust people who know their names.

Also, teach kids the importance of never accepting anything from strangers. If children should come in contact with a stranger they should report it to parents and police.

While this was just a big misunderstanding, Brittany is thankful someone took the time to report what could have been a serious crime. She said, “a lot of times people just drive on, they wouldn’t think anything of it. Even though it was nothing she took the time out of her day to make sure that those children were safe and those children were my children.”

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Child Abduction in Dubai – ‘My husband ran away with our baby’

December 3, 2015

Source: gulfnews.com

Distraught Dubai mother, 22, files police complaint

Zawi Dubai Abducted Child

Heart-broken. Zawi, 22, shows an image of her infant son Abdul Hadi who was allegedly abducted by her husband following a marital dispute.

For over five months after Abdul Hadi was born, Zawi, 22, had never missed breast-feeding the infant before lovingly tucking him into his crib.

The last time she did that was on October 27. The following day her husband fled with the child to his native Pakistan after allegedly assaulting her.

Zawi has not heard about her son since. Worse, she claims she cannot go to Pakistan to look for him as her husband has taken away her passport.

Her long-term visit visa too expired this week.

Legal recourse

Driven to despair, the woman has moved a Dubai Court after lodging a police complaint.

“I am living a nightmare. After delivery, I came to Dubai with my son to settle down with my husband. He told me he was going to apply for our residency but look what he has done,” says Zawi who is now living with her parents in Ajman. “I am thankful that at least my parents are here. If I still have some semblance of sanity in me, it is because of them. My life stopped the day my child was snatched away from me. I still can’t come to terms with the fact that my darling Hadi is being kept away from me. I don’t know how he is managing because he is still an infant who needs a mother’s constant care and has to be breast fed. I pray he is alright,” adds Zawi who was born in Muscat but raised in the UAE.

Abducted Dubai Pakistan Child

In a police statement to the Dubai courts, Zawi has claimed she was brtually attacked by her husband at their Skycourts Tower residence in Dubailand a night before he ran off with her belongings and son.

“I was badly beaten. So I called my father and left with him, fearing for my safety. I tried to take my child along but my husband’s family stopped me. When I returned the next morning, the door to my husband’s apartment was locked.

Read: We can recover your abducted child

A day later my worst fears came true when I found out that my husband had flown to Pakistan with my child, passport and jewellery,” said Zawi who has also sought intervention from the Pakistan consulate.

“I have applied for a new passport but am yet to hear back from them.”

Meanwhile, Zawi claims her husband was detained at the airport while attempting to re-enter the UAE on November 28 but was later released on bail.

Instances of parental child abduction are on the rise in the UAE. While there are no official figures available, lawyers say they come across such cases routinely.

In recent times, XPRESS alone has reported three child abductions. Many lawyers are now advising parents to seek travel bans on their children so that they cannot be taken out of the country when marriages break down.

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Police: Parental Abduction Suspect Located

November 9, 2015

Source: patch.com

Fairfax County Police officers located the woman who went missing with her 6 month old son on Nov. 5, 2015. She was reported missing by her husband and believed to have been headed to El Salvador.

Nelly Bonillas de Cordon

Police say Nelly Bonillas de Cordon was found in the Reston area after being notified by Child Protective Services, according to a Nov. 6, 2015 police announcement.

Cordon was charged with one count of abduction.

Child Protective Services is working on arrangements for the care of the child and he appeared to be unharmed, according to police.

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Appeals court rules that custodial parents cannot be convicted of kidnapping their own children

September 1, 2015

Source: Dailyjournal.net

RALEIGH, North Carolina — The state Court of Appeals has ruled that North Carolina law as written now means custodial parents cannot be convicted of kidnapping their own children.


In a decision issued Tuesday, a three-judge panel vacated two second-degree kidnapping convictions for Issac Pender Jr. The court let other convictions stand.

The decision said that on July 6, 2012, Pender broke into the Louisburg home where his estranged wife lived, threatening to kill her. The court said Pender ordered the 12 occupants into a room where his wife was hiding in a closet, then pointed his shotgun at each person.

In their unanimous ruling, the judges said the case suggests that legislators may want to consider amending the kidnapping statute to allow a parent to be charged with kidnapping under certain circumstances.

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“My husband stole my kids – it could happen to you”

August 11, 2015

Source: closeronline.co.uk

Having your child taken is every mother’s worst nightmare.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 19.02.22

But, for Lisa it became a reality when her estranged husband took their two children 4,000 miles away to Kansas, America and refused to bring them home.

Lisa, 42, fought to get them back and, eight months later, they were reunited after an American court order forced their dad, Luke*, 36, an American citizen, to return them to the UK.

In February this year Lisa also won full parental rights – meaning her children would never again be able to leave the country with their father.

Now, Lisa’s children, Abigail, 11, and Matthew, eight, live with her in Batley, West Yorkshire, while their dad has moved back to the states and is allowed two Skype calls with them a week.


Lisa says: “I didn’t know if I was ever going to see my children again. I felt so helpless.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 19.02.43

“We were having some marriage problems and Luke suggested taking the children to the States for a holiday to see family.

“I was a bit worried about being apart from them for a while, but I never imagined he’d try to keep them there.

“The pain of not knowing when I was going to see them again was indescribable.

“At first I was in shock, then I panicked, but I knew I had to keep it together to get them back, so I put every scrap of my energy into doing that.

Thankfully they’re home now, but it’s been a nightmare and I will never forgive Luke.”

Worryingly, Lisa isn’t alone in her struggle.

In the UK a child is kidnapped by a parent or family member every 12 hours.

A spokesperson from Reunite – a charity that helps with parental child abduction – explains: “We’re seeing more and more children abducted by parents because of mixed nationality relationships.

“When these relationships break down, parents want to take their child back to their home country.

“It can be difficult to bring a child home because a parent has to deal with two different countries and legal systems. A further complication is that the abducting parent has rights over the child too.”

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Child kidnappings 4 times what UK officials admit

February 23, 2015

Source: presstv.ir 

British charities are warning that child abductions are on the increase in the country, and that they are four times higher than official figures.

Parental Child Abduction

Figures show almost 900 cases were reported in the past year alone.

The data gathered from police forces by the charity Parents and Abducted Children Together (Pact), and seen exclusively by The Independent on Sunday, reveal that kidnappings and abductions of children under 18 rose by 13 percent between 2012-13 and 2013-14 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Kidnappings alone increased faster still, with a rise of 18 percent over the same period.

The abduction of children by people other than their parents – which could include a stranger luring a child into a car with sweets or a teenage girl being taken willingly by an older man – rose twice as fast as parental abductions (14 percent, compared with 6 per cent).

Since the Rotherham scandal, where widespread child sexual abuse took place against girls as young as 12 between 1997 and 2013, councils and police forces have come under greater scrutiny about the way in which they handle child abductions and kidnappings.

Now Peter Saunders, founder of National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) says, “The figures are very, very worrying,” but “it seems the authorities have not been taking these cases seriously enough.”

During 2013-14, 158 children were abducted by parents, 401 children were abducted by people other than their parents, and 321 children were kidnapped. Kidnappings, which are defined by the use of force or fraud to remove a child, include cases such as children taken in return for a ransom or young gang members held by rival factions. One-fifth of all kidnappings recorded by police involve a child victim.

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