Missing Mother, Daughter Found in Virginia; Mother Charged with Parental Child Abduction


February 20, 2014

Source: daggerpress.com

Harford County Sheriff’s detectives have now located the mother and 5 year-old daughter, the subject of an earlier news release, who left their home together on or about January 10, 2014 without telling anyone where they were going causing family members to report the disappearance to police describing the mother’s behavior as “out of character”.

American_Child

Amanda Deeann Mitchell, 29, of the 2900 block of Siwanoy Drive in Edgewood, was taken into custody without incident by the Fairfax County (VA) Police Department who advised Harford County Sheriff’s detectives they had also located the child at a local elementary school. Sanaa Bailey, 5, was evaluated and found to be in good health. There were no signs of abuse or neglect. The child will be returned to her biological father. Mitchell has been charged with one count of parental child abduction. She is currently incarcerated in Fairfax County pending an extradition hearing.

Detectives say Mitchell failed to drop the child off for scheduled visitation with the father on January 17th. Family members told police that Amanda has been known to stay in homeless shelters from time to time but her failure to allow visitation with the child’s biological father was atypical behavior. Mitchell has shared custody with the child’s father, Aaron Chester Bailey of Baltimore.

Sheriff’s Detective Tom Walsh said, “She [Amanda] had left the family home with the bare essentials and had taken the child with her”. He further explained that while police fully understood she is a custodial parent, her behavior was out of the norm for how people described her. Walsh would not go into detail as to how Fairfax County PD came to locate Mitchell suffice it to say detectives ran down numerous leads and shared information about Mitchell throughout the region.

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Tacoma police conduct child abduction drill


September 13, 2013

Source: kirotv.com

TACOMA, Wash. — 

Tacoma police conducted a child abduction drill Thursday. Everything about the drill was supposed to feel real, all the way down to how they brief the media to get the word out.

Tacoma_Police

The drill is practice for something they said has happened too often in Tacoma — 16 child abductions in about the last 50 years.

It was a nightmare scenario for parents. A girl in a park abducted by a stranger vanished as police moved to find her and her kidnapper before it’s too late.

But this was not a real abduction, it was a drill by the Tacoma Police Department’s Child Abduction Response Team or CART. The drill conducted Thursday morning on the city’s northeast side is part of an effort for police to win national certification, making them one of 20 CART teams nationwide and the only one in Washington state.

One notable abduction was that of Teeka Lewis, who disappeared in 1999. Her mother still goes back every year to the place she vanished. At the time, 2-year-old Lewis disappeared from a bowling alley that has since become a Home Depot

Teresa Lewis, Teekah’s mother, said watching the drill brought back memories of her daughter’s disappearance. “It’s like I’m reliving that day,” said Lewis.

Teekah Lewis is one of 16 children abducted by a stranger in the city of Tacoma since 1961. Tacoma police said that number is considered high among law enforcement.

The training hopes to better the law enforcement response to similar situations in the future.

Thursday’s drill was part of a certification process conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Criminal Justice Training Center. Police Detective Lindsey Wade said having a CART team in place when an abduction happens gives police what they need most: an organizational structure for rapid response that helps cut the amount of time it takes to get law enforcement mobilized, civilian resources in place to filter through tips and telephone calls and to alert news media outlets to broadcast information that can lead to valuable clues.

“About 76 percent of the time when a child is killed during a stereotypical abduction, it happens within three hours,” said Wade, “so that’s not a lot of time for us to react.”

There were people from different departments who will work on how to respond to abductions more efficiently.

The drill ended with a Tacoma police SWAT team locating the suspect, who was portrayed by a police officer, and the victim, a teenage actor, well before the deadline.

Alan Wolochuck, an assessor with the U.S. Department of Justice, praised the department’s performance after the drill. “They did very well. One of the best that we’ve seen around the country,” said Wolochuck.

Lewis said she believes the abduction of her daughter, along with other unsolved cases, helped spur the department to assemble the CART team. “The resources they have now, I wish they had them back then so she would have been found,” said Lewis.

A decision on the team’s application for national certification is expected to take about two weeks.

Related

Child abduction drill in Tacoma photo
Child abduction drill in Tacoma
VIDEO: Tacoma police conduct child abduction training gallery

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Dad of missing 5-year-old believes ex-wife, son headed west


April 15, 2013

Source: wtop.com

Cameron Serafin is missing. (Courtesy of Fairfax County Police)

UPDATE: Sunday- 4/14/2013, 12:10pm ET

WASHINGTON – The father of a missing 5-year-old boy tells WTOP he believes his ex- wife may be heading to the west coast with their son.

Joe Serafin says he thinks Rebecca Serafin and Cameron may be heading west, but is not aware that she has any friends or family in that part of the country.

Fairfax County police say Rebecca Serafin is now being charged with felony parental abduction, because police believe she’s taken Cameron out of Virginia where she and Joe Serafin share custody.

Police sources tell WTOP, they’vee tracked Rebecca Serafin and Cameron from BWI Airport to Birmingham, Ala., but it’s not known where they are at this point.

EARLIER: Thursday – 4/11/2013, 6:59pm ET

WASHINGTON – A 5-year-old boy is missing, and the boy’s father and Fairfax County police are asking for the public’s help in locating him.

Cameron Serafin is believed to be with his mom, Rebecca Serafin. Fairfax County police in the Reston district say they are concerned about his welfare.

The missing boy’s father, Joe Serafin, spoke to WTOP Thursday afternoon. He is very scared about his son.

“I’m worried about him, I don’t know where he is, I don’t know what’s happening to him,” Serafin says.

The child was supposed to have been returned to his dad on Sunday.

According to police, Rebecca Serafin altered her appearance and Cameron’s appearance in an “apparent attempt to avoid being located.”

Serafin says his ex-wife, Rebecca has a history of mental illness and substance abuse, which includes prescription drugs and heroin.

He says she disappeared with their son once before in 2011. The couple shares custody of Cameron.

Police tell WTOP that Rebecca Serafin also goes by the name Rebecca Love and Cameron also answers to Cameron Love.

He is 3-foot-5 and weighs about 40 pounds.

 

This photo shows what Rebecca and Cameron Serafin apparently now look like. (Courtesy of Fairfax County Police)

An arrest warrant has been issued for Rebecca Serafin, 32, charging her with a misdemeanor of custodial interference.

She is 5-foot-4 and weighs between 120 and 130 pounds.

Rebecca lives at home with her parents in the Great Falls Area, Serafin says. He says she packed some bags and told her parents she was going on a weekend retreat to a friend’s lake house. But, he says, there were an awful lot of bags packed.

Serafin says he knew immediately when they didn’t return that something was wrong. He says she wouldn’t answer any telephone calls or texts.

That’s when he called Fairfax County Police.

He has a message for Rebecca: “Please, just get Cameron home safely. Nothing else matters.”

He pleads with anyone with information to also help: “Please, help bring my son back.”

Information can be emailed to Crime Solvers. Police say people with information may text “TIP187” plus their message to CRIMES/274637 or call police at 703-691-2131.

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Dad takes kids in Fairfax, flees to Tunisia


Source: Washington Examiner

By: Emily Babay | 12/20/11 8:05 PM
Examiner Staff Writer | Follow Her: @Emilybabay
Photo courtesy of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN
Zainab Chebbi

Authorities are trying to recover two young Fairfax County children who were allegedly kidnapped by their father and taken to Tunisia.

Two-year-old Zainab Chebbi and 5-year-old Eslam Chebbi have been missing since Nov. 11, when prosecutors say their father, 39-year-old Faical Chebbi, flew with them to Tunisia.

Faical Chebbi called the children’s mother — his ex-wife — the next day and told her he and the children would not be returning, according to court records. Chebbi was charged in federal court in Alexandria with international parental kidnapping.

Chebbi and Edeanna Johnson-Chebbi divorced in January, nearly a year after she obtained a protective order because he threatened to kill her, according to court documents. Johnson-Chebbi had sole custody of Zainab and Eslam; Chebbi absconded with the children after picking them up from their grandparents’ house in Prince George’s County for a scheduled visit, according to the court documents.

“At first, I was sort of in an action mode,” said Johnson-Chebbi, who has created a Facebook pageand online petitions about the case. She said coping has gotten harder over the past month, but she is still optimistic her children will be returned.

“What else are you going to do?” she told The Washington Examiner. “I won’t allow myself to imagine that this will pass. They will be home. I just don’t know how or when.”

But Johnson-Chebbi faces an uphill battle. There are no treaties or agreements between the United States and Tunisia regarding parental abduction cases. The countries also don’t have an extradition treaty. And her ex-husband’s “arrogance” means the filing of criminal charges is unlikely to change his mindset, Johnson-Chebbi said.

She said the family’s court documents were on file with the Tunisian Embassy and the children shouldn’t have been able to obtain passports.

No attorney was listed for Chebbi in court records. The embassy didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Anyone with information can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST (843-5678).

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