Department Of State’s Annual Report Highlights Risk Of Parental Child Abduction


July 14, 2016

Source: mondaq.com

The U.S. Department of State reported yesterday that more than 600 children were abducted by parents from the United States to another country in 2015.

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A substantial number of those children may never be returned to their parents in the United States. The Department of State’s 2016 Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction released yesterday reported that only 299 children whose habitual residence was in the United States were returned in 2015.

The staggering numbers contained in the Report make it clear that parents must proceed with caution if they believe the other parent has any intention of abducting their child from the United States. Any parent who has concerns about the other parent abducting their child should immediately consult with an attorney who has knowledge and experience handling proceedings brought pursuant to the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at the Hague on October 25, 1980.

An experienced attorney may be able to advise the parent on preventive measures such as enrolling the child in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program and seeking a court order enjoining the other parent from traveling abroad. If the child has already been abducted, an experienced attorney can assist with submitting the necessary papers to request the return of the child, liaise with counsel in the country to which the child has been abducted, and provide assistance to that foreign counsel as necessary to seek the return of the child to the United States.

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In addition to identifying the number of children abducted by a parent from the United States to another country in 2015, the 2016 Annual Report assesses the extent to which certain Hague Convention partners have complied with the Convention. The Department of State reported that the following countries have not complied with the Convention: Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Romania. In determining whether the Hague Convention partner countries were in compliance, the criteria examined by the Department of State included the following: the number of unresolved cases; the extent to which the judicial authority implemented and complied with the Hague Convention provisions; the failure of law enforcement to locate abducted children; failure to enforce return orders; and the amount of time devoted to the appeals process.

The 2016 Annual Report also details the extreme difficulties in attempting to seek the return of abducted children from countries that are not Hague Convention partners. According to the Report, countries that demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance in 2015 were: Egypt, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, and Tunisia. For each of those countries, the Department of State examined the extent to which the country did or did not adhere to any protocols with respect to international child abduction.

The 2016 Annual Report is available here.

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My nine years in hell while dad fought for the right to see me


May 24, 2016

Source: plymouthherald.co.uk

Like most teenagers, Rosy Stanesby has unblinking, confident opinions on how the world should be, and fragile moments when the tears come readily.

Rosy-Stanesby

The distinctive thing about this 17-year-old is how both are present so boldly in her character – and spring from the same source.

She was able to channel her sense of justice into a speech before an audience in Parliament, but sometimes cries herself to sleep, both because of what she says the Family Court system did to her and continues to do to other children today.

“The things that have happened to me I can never forget,” she says.

Rosy was what might popularly be called a “tug of love” child. She was two years old when her parents separated in 2000. Her father, a registered child minder, sought shared residency and care but that could not be agreed.

The courts ruled that she should see her father for two days every fortnight.

Only after nine years of countless meetings and hearings was Rosy’s care equally divided between her mum and dad.

“I could not understand why I could only see my dad for two days at a time every other weekend.”

When she was old enough to understand a little, there were still frequent tears, not all of them her own.

The nine years before she was officially allowed to split her time equally between her mum and dad were punctuated by the “fun” of seeing her dad campaign for equal access – and the trauma of him being sent to prison.

Her dad, Jolly Stanesby, is a prominent campaigner for fathers’ rights. He was a leading figure in Fathers4Justice, known for the comic book hero costumes at their high-profile protests.

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“I remember thinking how funny Dad was climbing buildings,” Rosy says. Her favourite costume that of Batman’s sidekick, Robin. “I thought the ‘R’ stood for Rosy.”

In November 2008, Jolly who was found guilty of causing distress and alarm and refusing to obey a police officer after a rooftop protest at the home of the then deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman. He was jailed for two months.

“While he was in prison he missed my 10th birthday, my piano exam and my weekends together.”

She says she felt “a bit broken” by that episode.

That added to the constant feeling that her voice was not heard and her opinions not listened to by the Family Court.

Shortly afterwards, in 2009, it was agreed that her mum and dad would have equal care and residency.

“I started to sleep better at night and I became more confident. Life was how it should have been.”

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Carrick man Hopkins finds son who vanished with mum in US three years ago but faces legal battle to get him back


May 20, 2016

Source: belfasttelegraph.co.uk

He’s all alone and we just want him home, says anxious father.

In July 2013, John Hopkins stood waiting at the airport for his wife and nine-year-old son to return from their holiday in America. But they never came back.

Bring-Cody-Hopkins-Back

After three years of searching, the 40-year-old found his little boy, Cody, but he now faces a battle to bring him back home to Carrickfergus.

John met Cody’s American mother, Jackie, on the internet in 2002. They fell in love, and John went to Wisconsin to meet her. A few months later, he went back to get married in Las Vegas.

Cody was born on September 10, 2003, and although the family enjoyed life in the US they decided to move to Northern Ireland in 2006 after John’s mother suffered two strokes.

In 2013, Jackie began to feel homesick, so John arranged a trip for her and his son to visit her family in the States.

Throughout the two-week trip, Jackie sent messages keeping John up to date with what they were doing and finished each one with the words “love you”.

The pair were due to fly back on July 13, but they never arrived and all contact ceased.

“My wife couldn’t make friends and couldn’t get a job,” John said. “I knew she was struggling, but it was a complete shock when she just didn’t come back.”

Worried about what had happened, John contacted police in Wisconsin, where Jackie was staying, and was told she was fine and would be catching the next flight to Northern Ireland. A few days later, however, officers said they did not know where the mother and child were and had listed Cody as missing.

“I was always expecting her to come home,” John said. “It was hard when I realised. I’ve left Cody’s bedroom as it was. I couldn’t go into it for the first year, but it’s basically untouched.

“Cody is my only son and for the last three years I’ve been contacting someone nearly every day to try and get information.”

“I did almost give up at times, but I’ve had a lot of support from groups on Facebook and the charity Reunite, who all told me never to give up.

“There have been children who have been found after five or six years. I had to keep working at it.”

Over the weekend, John finally received the news he was waiting for: Cody had been found.

It transpired that Jackie had suffered a massive heart attack and died in Tennessee on May 7.

The authorities discovered she had been on the run for three years, using a false name to avoid detection.

Following her death, they were able to identify who she was and contact John to tell him his son was safe.

“I have been suffering with severe anxiety because of this, but the moment I found out that Cody was safe, it just dropped away – it was a sense of pure relief,” he said.

However, his elation was short-lived because Cody is now in the custody of child protection services in Tennessee – and his doting father faces a lengthy and expensive court battle to bring him back to Northern Ireland.

While John knows his son is in no danger, he has so far been unable to contact him.

“When I heard the news, I just wanted to be with my son,” he said. “But I’m not allowed any contact whatsoever until it goes through the courts, which will be by June 8 at the latest.

“I just can’t wait to see him. I haven’t even seen photographs of him, so I don’t even know what he looks like now.”

John has set up a petition in a bid to show the courts how much support Cody will have in Northern Ireland.

“He’s pretty much on his own over there and we just want to show that we want him back,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“He lived here for seven years and he has loads of friends around here.

“We want him to come back to his life here.”

The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs said: “We are aware of reports of an international parental child abduction from the United Kingdom to the United States.  The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is in force between the United Kingdom and the United States.

“The Bureau of Consular Affairs, along with our Embassies and Consulates, works with parents and foreign governments to try to resolve these difficult cases.  Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”

To sign John’s petition to bring Cody home, visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-cody-hopkins-home

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Australian actress Eliza Szonert regains custody of child in Malaysia after battle with former partner


December 10, 2015

Source: The Sydney morning herald

Former Neighbours actress Eliza Szonert has snatched her child back from her estranged musician partner in dramatic scenes in a restaurant in Malaysia during an ongoing custody row.

Eliza Szonert

Szonert and her former partner musician businessman Ashley Crick had been embroiled in a row over care of her son while they were staying in Kuala Lumpur – in an incident which had embroiled  Australian consular officials..

Szonert had originally travelled to Malaysia with the child to stay with Mr Crick but then she alleged a disagreement occurred resulting in her being ordered out of their accommodation without the child or her passport.

She sought assistance from the High Commission and also separately from an organisation that helps return children to their parents in custody disputes.

Read: We can recover your abducted child

Assisted by the agency on Thursday morning Szonert took the boy from Crick at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur’s  Mid Valley Mega Mall.

Video of the incident supplied to Fairfax shows Ms Szonert walking in accompanied by two large men. While the men engage Crick, she then walks around and picks up the child and walks away. The child appears to be distressed and Crick appears unable to act while engaged by the one of the accompanying men.

The video was supplied to Fairfax by the child recovery agency, which asked not to be identified for fear of jeopardising employees’ safety.

Szonert issued a statement after the incident saying she had “safely recovered my child”.

But she said she still did not have any passports for herself or her son, leaving them stranded in Malaysia.

“I am calling on the Australian government to provide all necessary assistance to help my son and I return to Australia,” she said.

Crick, a former international skydiving champion, has previously declined to comment on the situation.

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department on Wednesday night confirmed it was providing consular assistance to a woman in Kuala Lumpur but declined to provide further details due to privacy obligations. It had not responded to further questions at the time of publishing.

On Thursday, Mr Crick declined to make any comment other than to say he was “very focused on his son’s wellbeing”.

On Wednesday Szonert’s Melbourne-based mother Kay had alleged that Crick had her daughter’s  passport.

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“I’m worried for her well-being,” she said. “I’m amazed that she has been coping as well as she has. I don’t know for how long, but she doesn’t want to go home without her son.”

Fairfax understands the embassy has made representations over  the passport but is unable to become involved in the custody issue because of legal issues with Malaysia.

Malaysia is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Crick, who is an accomplished musician and has played with guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel on tour, has been reported to have been working in Malaysia as the chief technology officer at iflix, a subscription video online platform being rolled out throughout Asia.

In an interview for a trade publication recently, Mr Crick was quoted as saying he was an Aussie “learning the south-east Asian cultural quirks in a town none of us have lived in before, and enjoying it immensely working on a successful little project”.

“I’m loving it in Kuala Lumpur – it’s a beautiful city and great hub in the middle of everywhere we are aiming to be.”

Szonert, 41, played Danni Stark in Neighbours from 1993 to 1996 and appeared in the show’s 20th anniversary episode. She has appeared in the movie The Dish, and had a role in Underbelly, in which she played Trish Moran.

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Parental child abduction is child abuse


December 6, 2015

ABP World Group™ Child Recovery Services

Parental child abduction is child abuse. Let`s bring them home today..

Child Abduction Recovery Services

ABP World Group is a Global Security and Child Recovery Organization

Our intelligence and investigative capabilities combined with our ability to dispatch personnel to most locations in the world offers a safe and strategic solution to protecting what is most important to you, your child and/or children.

Unfortunately in the present climate, parental kidnapping occurs all too frequently and we are here to help you through what can be an extremely traumatic time.

We are aware that parental child abductions can be difficult to resolve but through the use of professional operatives we work hard to find a solution. We collaborate with numerous organizations to help return your child safely and as soon as possible.

Parental Abduction Child Recovery Services

ABP World Group’s successful recovery and reunification strategies rely on the use of all means available, including but not limited to:
  • Electronic forensic footprint investigations
  • Intelligence gathering
  • Information specialists
  • Collecting evidence
  • Special surveillance ops
  • Domestic support
  • International operations
  • Sea/Land/Air transport
  • GPS tracking

Although there are various civil remedies available to parents of abducted children, the challenges regarding parental abduction are enormous, including first and foremost, locating  the child.

Unfortunately for the majority of targeted parents, the financial burden involved in recovery and litigation falls upon their shoulders. With tens of thousands of children abducted by parents each year, the reality is that too many of these children never come home.  ABP World Group is dedicated to assisting those parents who need help in locating, rescuing, and returning  their abducted child home safely. We offer worldwide services regarding parental abduction or recovery of children that has suffered from parental kidnapping.

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ABP World Group`s special task force, specialized in recovering children from The ”Safe havens of child abductions”


November 29, 2015

ABP World Group Ltd.

For more than over 12 years, ABP World Group has been the world`s leading child recovery company, we have gathered experience during child recovery operations in a number of different countries on all continents.

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We know that some countries are seen as ”Safe Havens” for child abductors – mainly because of the legal system, but also the fact that to recover a child from many of these countries has been close to impossible and combined with a too high risk for all the involved.

We can work together with your lawyer,to make sure your case is not delayed for years.

If ABP World Group™ finds the risk extremely high and that launching an operation will lead to personal danger or damages we will stand down. Instead ABP World Group is ready to start a negotiation process immediately and without any bureaucracy delay.  This is most important because time is critical when it comes to any child abduction.

Child Abduction Recovery Services

Our specialists in the new task force have formed more than 12 years of experience from IPCA cases in mind. The operators in the task force are the best of the best- Team leaders from many different countries Special Forces units, and are trained to do whatever it takes, wherever it takes, whenever it takes. This means that recovery operations in countries like Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan Philippines, Middle East and North Africa etc. will be done with a great aspect of safety and success.

Prevention of Parental Abduction – Recognizing the Warning Signs

Parental Abduction Child Recovery Services

We will under these operations use any necessary means and type of logistics solutions ,to be sure that no criminal child abductor should never again feel safe and out of reach from our justice.

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Father accused of parental kidnapping located in Medina


June 25, 2015

Source: WGRZ

MEDINA, NY – A Texas man wanted for parental kidnapping over 20 years ago was arrested by the FBI in Medina, NY.

Daniel Lee Kestel

Daniel Lee Kestel, 58, is accused of kidnapping his 13-month-old son in 1992 from Loreno, Texas. Investigators say Kestel took his son for a scheduled visit, but never returned the child to his mother.

“We’re very gratified that we were able to finally locate him,” said Michelle Lee, a special agent in the FBI’s San Antonio bureau.

Kestel was only allowed to see his son on certain days. Investigators say Kestel picked his son up one day and fled Texas with him. The FBI says for years its received tips across the country about Kestel’s whereabouts.

“There were a few instances where we thought we were going to come close to being able to locate Kestel and unfortunately, those leads were not successful,” Lee said.

The FBI and the Loreno Police Department worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children following leads and tips on Kestel’s whereabouts.

Kestel Daniel Lee

The FBI says often times Kestel moved around, with his son, making it tough for authorities to find them. And finally, there was a break in the search, the FBI’s Buffalo office says it recently got a tip that Kestel was in Medina.

And, the father and son were found. Kestel’s son is now 24-years-old and has lived his entire life with his fugitive father.

Officials say Kestel’s son is in good health. Investigators won’t say what he’s been doing in Medina. As for Kestel himself, he’s been unemployed.

Kestel was arraigned and afforded an extradition hearing Monday in Orleans County Court in Albion. He waived the hearing.

In his court hearing, Kestel said he had been living under an alias — Paul Bambanek.

The federal charges of fleeing have been dismissed and the state charges in Texas stand. There’s been no mention, from investigators on whether those who knew Kestel was in Medina, will face charges.

Parental child abduction – We offer needed support
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Parental Child Abduction – International Child Recovery Services


ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

The goal of ABP World Group international child recovery services is to locate, negotiate and recover your missing child. We can dispatch personnel to most locations in the world; we specialize in locating missing children up to ages 18. Areas of expertise: Parental abduction, Missing children, Kidnappings, Runaway children and Counseling.

Unfortunately in this day and time parental kidnapping happens and we are here to help you trough this difficult period. We are aware parental child abduction can be difficult to resolve, but we use professional operatives with the skills and expertise to help find a resolution.

We also provide:

• Executive protection
• Close protection high or low profile
• Surveillance
• Investigation
• Security consulting
• Medical services
• Anti kidnap logistics and planning
• Abducted and missing children recovery
• Missing person investigations
• Panic room / Safe room construction
• Risk Management

For more information, visit our web site: www.abpworld.com

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International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) Awareness Month


May 23, 2013

Source: blogs.usembassy

Did you know that May is International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) Awareness Month?

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is committed to preventing international child abductions. The State Department places the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been abducted across an international border and is encouraging foreign governments to join the U.S. as parties to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Abducted_Children_USA
The Hague Abduction Convention is the primary civil law mechanism for parents seeking the return of the children from other treaty partner countries. The Convention does not address who should have custody of the child; it addresses where the custody case should be heard. Today the U.S. is a treaty partner with 70 countries (Hague Abduction countries).

May is also an important month for children because May 25, 2013 is the 30th annual Missing Children’s Day. The first annual Missing Children’s Day was proclaimed by President Reagan in 1983. Although we remember the plight of missing children particularly on this day, it is important to remember that all year long organizations in the U.S., like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), are working to promote children’s rights and protect them. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Childrenopened in 1984 to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children. Today NCMEC is authorized by Congress to perform 19 programs and services to assist law enforcement, families and the professionals who serve them. Organizations like NCMEC and the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs are both working hard to prevent child abductions and serve the needs of children.

Special Advisor to Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs spoke to the US Congress on May 9, 2013 about International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) Issues. Here is a link to her testimony, as well as the testimony of members of Congress and parents who have been victims of IPCA.

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India Considered ‘Safe Haven’ For Parental Child Abduction


By Steven Tanner on November 9, 2010 8:58 AMNo TrackBacks

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Rex Arul uses President Barack Obama’s upcoming diplomatic trip to India as an opportunity to speak out about abductions of U.S. children to the South Asian country. The U.S. has more unresolved parental child abduction cases involving India than any other country besides Mexico, according to the U.S. State Department.

The State Dept. currently is working on more than 100 cases involving U.S. children taken to India by a parent against the will of the other parent; and overall, there has been a 160 percent increase in parental abductions from the U.S. to other countries in the past 10 years.

But despite the best efforts of even the most skilled Atlanta divorce lawyers, it’s extremely difficult to convince the Indian courts to honor a U.S. custody order in most cases. In fact, India has the dubious distinction of being a “safe haven” for international child abduction, most often by one of the child’s parents.

India has not ratified the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, even though 80 other nations have since its drafting 30 years ago. Signatories of the international treaty agree to return abducted children back to their homes in honor of the home country’s family courts.

Instead of honoring U.S. court orders pertaining to child custody, Indian courts often assume jurisdiction and hear cases as if they hadn’t been tried in the U.S. And since more than 30 million such cases are pending in the Indian courts, causing long delays, the columnist claims this gives abducting parents time to “create facts to argue that the American child is settled in India.”

And even if your child is abducted to India and you seek help from the  State Dept., its website offers the following warning:

“Once a child has been abducted to India, remedies are very few.”

That’s not very encouraging. But speaking with a Georgia family law attorney if you believe your child may be abducted to India could go a long way toward preventing it in the first place.

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