Lawmaker looks to reduce risk of child abductions in divorce cases


July 13 , 2013

Source: wincountry

LANSING, MI- State Senator John Proos is backing new legislation that would give divorce judges the power to order a change of custody for children when they perceive a risk of parental abduction. 

Senator John Proos

Proos says that, sometimes, a parent will kidnap a child when the divorce isn’t going smoothly. This plan would let judges evaluate possible risk factors and respond accordingly.

Risk factors for parental abduction might include previous threats to do so, or recent actions to get a passport. The new law would let a judge order prevention measures like imposing travel restrictions or placing the child’s name in the US Department of State’s Child Passport Issuance Alert Program, in addition to the possible custody changes.

 

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Preventing Parental Kidnapping After Divorce


July 7 , 2013

Source: pasadenalawoffice.com

Parental kidnapping, while not something most parents will need to worry about after a Pasadena divorce, is still a risk all custodial parents must be aware of.

CHILDREN

The term parental kidnapping is used to mean that a parent who does not have legal custody has taken the child without the permission of the custodial parent. The parent taking the child may leave the state or even the country in order to avoid having the custodial parent make contact.

If your ex threatens to leave with your child, there are several preventative measures you can take. If you are separated, but not yet divorced, a judge can provide you with a temporary order of custody. Without a temporary order of custody, you both have equal rights to the child. Your lawyer can also help you implement protections in your custody order, such as having precise pickup times and requiring regular phone contact during visits.

Keep current photos of your child and your ex on hand to provide to police if needed. It is also a good idea to keep info such as your ex’s Social Security number, driver’s license number, and the make and model of his or her car on hand to provide law enforcement in the event of an abduction.

mother and daughter

Talk to your child’s daycare provider and/or teacher to make sure they know that your ex is not allowed to pick up your child. Schools and child care facilities assume both parents have equal custody rights unless they are told otherwise.

If your child has a passport, place it in a safe deposit box that your ex can not access. If your child does not have a passport, you should have his or her name added to the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert System. This ensures that you will be contacted if someone tries to apply for a passport in your child’s name.

 

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Texas man could finally be reunited with his abducted daughters


June 27 , 2013

Source: theshapirolawfirm.com

As international travel has become more and more accessible, one thing that, sadly, has been becoming increasingly common is international parental child abduction. International parental child abduction is when one parent takes a child to another country to interfere with the other parent’s custody rights.

International parental child abduction can be incredibly impactful on the child involved and the parent who has had the child abducted from them. Sadly, a custodial parent who has had a child abducted from them to another country can sometimes face major legal hurdles in getting their child back.

Texas

Recently, some news has arisen regarding an international parental child abduction case involving a Texas man.

The man was married to a Russian-born woman. The two lived in Texas together and they had two daughters.

The man and the woman eventually got divorced. In the divorce, the man was granted custody of the former couple’s two daughters.

In 2008, the unthinkable happened to the man; his daughters were abducted by his ex-wife to a foreign country. Specifically, during one of her visitations with the children, the woman took the children to Russia. The children have been in Russia ever since, as issues regarding the Russian legal system reportedly prevented the man from being able to retake custody of the children.

It appears that the man may now finally be able to get his daughters back. Recently, the man’s ex-wife died. This reportedly makes it so the man no longer just has custody of the children under U.S. law, but also has custody of the children under Russian law. However, there still could be some challenges awaiting the man in his efforts to reunite with his daughters.

The man reportedly plans to go to Russia next month to try to get his daughters back. One wonders what will ultimately happen during this trip.

As this case shows, child custody matters with international aspects, such as child custody matters involving international parental child abduction, can be incredibly complicated. Thus, if a person is involved in a child custody matter with international aspects, having a strong and experienced family law attorney on one’s side can be very important.

Source: KHOU, “Hope arises for dad in custody battle for daughters taken to Russia,” Jim Douglas, June 20, 2013

Read about ABP World Group`s, CAC – Conduct After Capture training here

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INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION – ABP World Group – CHILD RECOVERY SERVICES


May 22, 2013

Tragically International Child Abduction has reached global epidemic proportions.  According to leading experts the increase in inter-racial marriages and relationships  will, in the future, lead to a significant rise in the number of children born to parents of different nationalities 

“It is a great misconception that a child abducted by a parent is a safe child” – Martin Waage, ABP World Group Ltd.

As is true for all relationships, a statistically significant number of these marriages or partnerships will also end in divorce. All too often, following the breakup of a marriage, one of the parents will abduct a child of that relationship against the wishes of the other parent,  frequently removing them to a country where the child has probably never lived. This is called “International Parental Child Abduction”.

Although there are various civil remedies available to parents of abducted children, the challenges they face 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.

Statement from a US client:

“After all my years of experience as Worldwide Medical Director for the worlds largest medical assistance company, I found only ABP World capable of providing the unique service of non-violent recovery of a abducted child. It is very difficult to find a company like ABP World that can provide the experience, honesty, integrity, and assets to actually recover an abducted child safely and at a reasonable cost. I hold ABP World in highest regard and recommend them whole heartedly. The world is simply a better place because of the work they do.”

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

Unfortunately in this present climate parental kidnapping occurs all too frequently and we are here to help you through this extremely traumatic period.

We are aware that parental child abduction can be difficult to resolve, but through the use of professional operatives with the skills and expertise necessary to find a resolution. We are here to help you.

ABP World Group’s successful recovery and re-unification strategies rely on the use of all the means available  including, but not limited to:

Electronic Forensic Foot printing Investigations

. Intelligence Gathering

. Information Specialists/Skip Tracing

. Evidence Procurement

. Interview/Evaluation

. Surveillance Special Ops

. Non-Combatant Evacuation Ops

. Domestic Support

. International Operations

. Maritime/Land/Air transport

Danish Client:
“I have received assistance from ABP World Group in bringing my kidnapped child back home. The situation demanded alternative solutions in order to bring my child safely home, as the country where my child was kidnapped to, did not actively participate in helping solving the kidnapping. In this regard ABP World Group proved to be invaluable help. They provided the necessary experience in dealing with these matters and throughout the planning and execution always kept calm and seemed prepared for everything. It was my impression that the safety of my child and myself was always the top priority, and they always made sure to take any necessary precautions through detailed planning rather than pursuing a quick solution.

I can definitively recommend getting assistance from ABP World Group to anyone else in the same situation”

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031-753 83 77 Sweden

Abducted to Greece: Mom battles to rescue son held in Greece by father


February 18 2013

Source: usatoday

Father ignores legally binding divorce decree when he doesn’t send son back to U.S. after a 2011 visit.

Leo_Zagaris_Greece

Alissa Zagaris hopes an international arrest warrant filed against her ex-husband will allow her to get her son Leo, 12, back home from Greece, where he allegedly has been held against his will since August 2011.

INDIANAPOLIS — In June 2011 Alissa Zagaris drove her then-10-year-old son, Leo, from their home in Noblesville, Ind., to Chicago and put him on a plane for Greece — just as she had done four times before.

It was a long-distance visitation arrangement set forth by the couple’s divorce agreement struck in a Hamilton County, Ind., court. Leo would fly over, spend some time with his father, Nikolaos Zagaris, then fly back.

No big deal.

STORY: N.J. father, son adjusting after Brazil abduction drama

STORY: Documentation for traveling in Europe with children

But on this fifth journey, things went wrong when Leo, now 12, did not come home. His father kept him in Greece — despite the legally binding divorce decree that awarded Alissa custody.

Leo soon would become embroiled in a protracted and messy bureaucratic morass that would involve two nations, the FBI, Interpol, the State Department, international treaties, courts on two continents and one angry and heartbroken mom.

Unlike so many other incidents when one parent keeps a child away from the other, this was not a custody case. This was an international abduction. This, authorities ultimately concluded, was kidnapping.

GREECE_SS1

Nevertheless, prodding authorities in Athens, Washington and Indianapolis to take up her case has been a long, frustrating journey for Zagaris. In December, in a Greek court, Zagaris finally got the chance to tell her side of the story — and she was reunited with her son for a brief, supervised visit.

When she saw Leo for the first time in 19 months, all her fears and anxieties — stemming from his recent comments about hating America — melted away.

“My little boy jumped in my arms,” Zagaris said. “He is this tall on me now (holding a hand up to her shoulder) and he lunged at me and held my hand the whole time. “We sat together on the couch and I just rubbed his skin. His skin is fine like mine. I always rub his back. And look into his eyes.”

The Dec. 13, 2012, visit lasted for about 45 tense minutes as Nickolaos and his mother watched.

‘Left behind moms’ unite

Many of the more than 350 or so friends and followers of Zagaris’ two Facebook pages — her personal page and one she set up to publicize her son’s kidnapping — call themselves “left behind moms” or “left behind parents.”

They are the husbands and wives who fight the same battles Zagaris has fought during the past 19 months.

According to the Bring Sean Home Foundation, founded in 2009 as a support group and resource hub, more than 4,700 American children were abducted outside the United States between 2008 and 2010 by a parent or guardian,

Getting them back is rarely quick and never easy. Zagaris found that out in the fall of 2011 when it became clear to her that her ex-husband had no intention of sending Leo home.

Islands-of-Greece-2

She contacted the U.S. State Department, office of Consular Affairs, and reported what had happened. They urged her to file an application with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction — a necessary step in any case that spans international borders.

The Hague Convention, designed to make the process work more smoothly, is contingent on both countries agreeing to its terms — which provide a framework for communicating the facts of a case and agreeing to abide by the laws of both countries.

In other words they need to get along, which can be a sticky situation depending on the state of world affairs.

“Sometimes they cooperate in getting a child back to the country,” said Wendy Osborne, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Indianapolis. “But some countries don’t play by the rules.”

Osborne declined to comment on Zagaris’ case — an agent in Indianapolis is heavily involved and filed the affidavit that led to charges being filed by the U.S. District Court.

But Osborne said the FBI is involved in hundreds of cases like this across the country.

“At one time I was working on six myself, involving Mexico, Syria, other countries, all at the same time,” Osborne said. “And these are very difficult cases because they are so emotional.”

According to the Bring Sean Home Foundation, children abducted abroad are often traumatized, losing contact with a parent and finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings, forced to live in a country where they may not know the language or the culture.

Leo, does not speak Greek, Zagaris said. And despite assurances that he would be enrolled in an English-speaking school, she suspects that has never happened. Experts also say abducted children are often told lies about the other parent or guardian and the country from which they came.

Love, marriage, violence

A younger “Nick” and Alissa met in 2000 when he was a weekend waiter at a Greek restaurant, and she, a nutritionist and caterer by trade, was a manager. One thing led to another.

“It was mainly a physical relationship,” she said. “I had no intention of getting serious. But then, lo and behold, I’m pregnant.”

Attempts to reach Nickolaos Zagaris through his attorney for this story were unsuccessful.

Alissa said Nickolaos, a Greek citizen, was looking for a way to stay in America. He had come to the U.S. on a student visa and studied at the University of Indianapolis. But that visa had expired.

Not long after their wedding in July 2000, Leo was born. Zagaris said things changed once the pressures of parental responsibility set in.

“Nick changed,” she said. “Before that it was just me and him. The day Leo was born, everything changed.” As the baby grew, Zagaris said, Nick grew physically abusive toward her. In 2008, Nick was arrested and charged in Hamilton County with domestic battery and felony strangulation. Before he would stand trial on those charges, he fled to Greece.

Zagaris filed and was granted a divorce (without her husband present) in Hamilton County. The court granted custody of Leo to his mom. Despite the charges pending against him, the court allowed for a clause in the divorce decree that not only gave Nick visitation rights, but guaranteed visits to Greece.

In exchange, Nick Zagaris would maintain child support payments and put $5,000 into an account controlled by his attorney as a sort of “insurance clause” that he would have to give to his ex-wife should he ever fail to return Leo in a timely fashion.

According to the State Department, Zagaris was lucky her ex-husband had not taken their son to a non-compliant nation such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, France or Poland — countries on the State Department’s “enforcement concerns” list when it comes to child issues.

Greece, however, is known as a country that works well with other countries.

She had other facts in her favor. Nick was not only a fugitive from a felony charge in Hamilton County, he was violating a court-ordered divorce agreement that specifically gave her custody.

The Greek courts set a hearing date for April 6, 2012.

During the delay, Zagaris also filed charges against Nick in Hamilton County, based on the violation of the custodial agreement. Hamilton County issued a warrant for his arrest.

She wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pleading for the White House to do something to help.

Hillary-Clinton-9251306-2-402

Not much happened.

“I used to be a very clear, organized thinker,” Zagaris said. “But I’ve lost my mind.

“There is a very high suicide rate with our kind. It’s very hard. We have to fight through every obstacle, every hurdle just to get our cases taken seriously.

“It’s like our children are wrapped up in this diplomatic nightmare.”

The State Department spokesman told The Indianapolis Star on Friday that it is working as quickly as it can.

“The Department of State is aware of the Zagaris case and is providing all appropriate assistance,” the spokesman said. “We will continue to monitor the case and the welfare of the child through close coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Athens and the Greek Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention.”

A final dagger?

With two legal victories in Greek courts, Zagaris was counting the days when she could bring her son back.

But on Jan. 9, the State Department sent Zagaris an email saying that the Greek Central Authority told U.S. officials that because of “recent judicial strikes” in Greece a final and formal decision could take up to two years to be published.

After that, her ex-husband would have 30 days to file yet another appeal, with the Greek supreme court, the email said. Another appeal would mean another long delay.

However, the State Department told her that it was working with Greek officials who seem to be willing to move forward with returning Leo to Indiana despite any future appeal … “and will be in touch as soon as the situation is clarified.”

Zagaris was stunned.

“It’s just back and forth, back and forth,” she said. “I’m frustrated. I’ve won the right twice now from Greece. I’ve got the acknowledgments from the courts.

“It’s been 19 months.”

While all this was happening, Zagaris said she received an angry phone call from her ex-husband. According to an FBI affidavit, Nick Zagaris threatened to “take (him) to the United Arab Emirates” — a nation not part of the Hague Convention.

Not long after that call, an FBI special agent filed the paperwork and U.S. Magistrate Judge Tim Baker signed the formal federal charges against Nikolaos Zagaris for international parental kidnapping.

Those charges have been filed with Interpol, the international police community comprising 190 countries, including Greece. Greek authorities now (or soon) will have the authority to simply arrest him on those charges.

But now all Zagaris can do is wait for the words that will finally end a mother’s nightmare.

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The Most Dangerous Kidnappers: Parents


January 28, 2013

Source: Abcnews

Despite what seems to have been a rash of children abducted by strangers last year, there aren’t any more than normal, and vastly greater numbers of children are kidnapped by their own parents and relatives — and those cases rarely generate headlines.

sad-child

Stranger abductions make up the smallest percentage of children reported missing every year. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believes that stranger abductions are decreasing overall and projects that there will be approximately 100 of these kind of cases by the end of this year.

According to statistics cited by the NCMEC, most missing children are abducted by relatives or parents: a soon-to-be released report, the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children, referred to as NISMART-2, finds that 203,900 kids were abducted in 1999 by family members or parents. Approximately, 58,200 were “non-family” abductions — only 115 were defined as the frightening kidnappings by strangers.

Parental kidnappings do not spark media attention — and the sense of urgency from law enforcement officials — that the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the kidnapping and slaying of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion and this month’s abduction and rescue of two California teenagers attracted.

Experts say there is a perception among the public and law enforcement that children kidnapped by their parents are not endangered. After all, figures from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention show that only 4 percent of children abducted by their parents are physically harmed.

“I think there’s a perception with people that, ‘Oh, since they’re with a parent no harm will come to the child,'” said Nancy Hammer, director of the International Division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “And also since it involves two parents and family, it seems to be a messy situation. It doesn’t seem as black and white as if a child was abducted by a stranger. It’s taken a while, but progress has been made in making these abductions crimes, felonies. But they can lack the sense of urgency in the public and law enforcement reserved for other cases.”

A Very Lucky Recovery

Tracy and Robert Morse had to fight those perceptions when their children were abducted. In December 1996, three of Robert Morse’s children from a previous marriage were kidnapped by their biological, non-custodial mother when they got off the bus at school.

Abducted_Children_USA

“There’s this perception in the public and among law enforcement, that when children are abducted by their parents that they’re safe, and that just isn’t true,” said Tracy Morse, co-founder of American Parental Abductions Resource & Support Organization — APART for short. “These children are separated from everything they know and love, they are forced to live a life of a fugitive, constantly on the run, separated from their identity and their schooling interrupted and often told their left behind parents don’t care about them.

“When my husband’s children were kidnapped by his ex-wife, she pulled up at school and made a big scene at school and everything,” Morse continued. “People who saw her take the children, they just thought, ‘Oh, it’s a domestic thing. We shouldn’t interfere.'”

Tracy and Robert Morse spent more than more than two years trying to find their children and only got a break in their search when the children’s mother remarried and sparked the suspicion of her new in-laws and their relatives. One of her new husband’s relatives went on the Web site for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, saw the faces of the three children and contacted NCMEC officials. The children were recovered and reunited with the Morses in March 1999.

“The kids were a mess, in really bad shape,” said Tracy Morse. “But we were very, very lucky.”

Following their children’s recovery, the Morses founded APART to give parents a resource to both prepare themselves and their children for family abductions and give them guidance as to what to do during those situations. “Left Behind” parents spent so much time trying to figure out what to do when their children are abducted by an ex-spouse or family member, valuable time is wasted. Abductor parents easily flee amid the confusion and shock.

A Mother’s Desperate 28-Year Quest

One woman who wishes she had the Morses’ good luck and perhaps could have benefited from APART when her son was abducted is Marianne Malky.

Malky, founder of Voice for the Children, a Florida-based organization that helps locate and recover missing children, has been searching for her son David for 28 years. Malky said David, then 7 years old, was taken by his non-custodial father, Stephan Shipenberg, during a court-ordered weekend visit in 1974. Shipenberg, she said, called her and told her that she would never see David again.

Malky, who lived in New Jersey at the time, went to Shipenberg’s job at American Airlines in New York City and was told he had quit. She found out he had moved from his Manhattan apartment and ultimately tracked him and David at a new address as they drove away in a station wagon. As she pounded on the car window, that was the last time she saw her son.

Recover_Abducted_Child

Since then, Malky has had little progress in finding David, and she said she has received little help from law enforcement. She was so anxious to get her son back and track him down that she did not file a missing person’s report in New Jersey when he was first abducted. When she tried to file one year later, she was told too much time had passed.

“There isn’t any finding your kids unless you do everything yourself. You basically have to do everything,” Malky said. “No one [from law enforcement] really wants to get involved. ‘It’s too complicated,’ they say. ‘It’s a domestic problem.’ You’re told you need custody papers or you need to go to an attorney to get custodial papers, but what you need are [private] investigators. Custody papers don’t find missing children; investigators do.”

At one time, she said, she received a tip that David was attending grammar school under another last name “Kaplan” and contacted officials. However, by the time she made it to the school, administrators had contacted Shipenberg and he had retrieved David. She has learned that her son attended middle school and high school in Oyster Bay, N.Y., but she says the schools refused to give her access to his records. She also learned that he was in the Navy, but officials would not release any records because of privacy laws.

“In the United States, it’s very difficult to find them [abducted children and abductor parents] because they change their name,” Malky said. “It’s very difficult if you don’t know what their name is.”

Frustration of ‘Left Behind’ Parents

Malky said she has received tips and help from people who believe they have spotted Shipenberg and David over the years. However, she said her quest has cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars and frustrated — experiences commonly shared “left behind” parents.

“You end up broke and physically and emotionally drained,” Malky said. “But I was — am still — determined.”

And lack of resources is an obstacle for parents in family abduction cases. Not everyone has the money to hire private investigators and communication firms to print fliers for their missing children. Often, as time passes and money dwindles, parents are forced to accept that they may never see their children again.

“Unless you really keep the pressure on police, really harass them, you won’t get the updates that you want on your case, and it’ll fall on the bottom of the pile,” said Morse. “You have to turn to private investigators but not everyone has those kind of resources.”

Malky said she never saw David’s abduction coming. His father never made any previous threats, and they had civil discussions about the custody and visitation arrangements.

“I didn’t see this coming. Usually they tell you that they’re going to take your child. I was never told,” said Malky. “But I tell you, all these cases are premeditated. They know where they’re going to go, where they’re going to hide.”

• Family Abduction Safeguards and Warning Signs? Read Below

AMBER Needed for Parental Abductions

New wireless child safety tracking devices have been developed that enable parents to trace the whereabouts of their children. The lightweight devices integrate digital technology from the Department of Defense’s Global Positioning System satellites to pinpoint children’s locations, and many child advocates believe they could prevent child abductions or at least help recover kidnapped children.

Abducted_Children_Mexico

Still, more needs to be done. Experts say parental abduction victims need a program similar to the AMBER alert system, which was credited with helping law enforcement officials to rescue two California teenagers approximately 12 hours after they were abducted at gunpoint, and save an infant abducted from an Abilene, Texas, parking lot last week. Parental abductees have little, if any chance, of being considered for the AMBER alert system because the children’s lives are not considered endangered in most cases.

“The AMBER alert system is great, and they need to develop one for family abductions,” said Morse.

More may also need to be done in the courts when parents are trying to reach an agreement on visitation and custodial rights. Sometimes the early signs of a family abduction manifest during legal negotiations.

“The first instance or signs that people may abduct their children are likely seen in court,” said Hammer. “Maybe if more court officials are trained to pay more attention to certain risk factors, they can identify which child may be at risk and take action and fully inform parents what they face, what will happen if they do abduct their child.”

Child advocates also argue that there should be more severe punishment for parental child abductors — or at least they should be prosecuted to the law’s fullest extent. Stephen Fagan pleaded guilty in 1999 to kidnapping his two daughters, telling them their mother was dead and living under an assumed name for 20 years. He avoided jail time by agreeing to a deal that gave him five years’ probation, a $100,000 fine and 2,000 hours of community service.

Barry and Judith Smiley kidnapped a baby after an attempted adoption of the infant was ruled invalid, and they lived for 22 years under an assumed name, raising the boy they called Matthew Propp as their own son. They avoided trial and possibly 25 years by agreeing to plead guilty to second-degree kidnapping in June. Barry Smiley received a two-to-six-year sentence while his wife Judith was sentenced to a six-month prison term and five years’ probation.

These plea deals, child advocates argue, make would-be parental abductors believe that they would not be risking anything if they kidnapped their children.

White House Weighing In

Many left-behind parents have complained that custody orders have not been readily enforceable when they locate a missing child. Often, they have had to hire two attorneys — one for each state — if the abducting parent has traveled to another state. As the filings go through the court system, the abducting parent may flee the state again without a trace, leaving the wronged parent back where they started, not knowing the whereabouts of a missing child.

According to the Department of Justice, California is the only state that requires district attorneys to take whatever civil remedies and criminal prosecutorial measures necessary to locate and recover children abducted by family members and to enforce child custody orders. In July 1997, the National Council of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws approved the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which contains a similar mandate. As of February 2001, 21 states had enacted UCCJEA, and it had been introduced to the legislatures in 10 other states.

Some change may begin with attention from the White House. President Bush has announced the White House would hold a first-ever conference on missing, exploited and runaway children in September. Held in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, the conference will focus on the prevention of child victimization, improving law enforcement policies for handling crimes against children, stranger abductions, and domestic and international parental kidnapping, among other topics.

‘Never an End’

Despite the time that has passed, and the fact that her son is now approaching his mid-30s, Marianne Malky is willing to do whatever it takes to find him. She said she plans to file lawsuits against the schools she suspects David has attended to force them to release his records.

If Malky finds her son, there is a possibility that he will not accept her. It happened to Barbara Kurth, the ex-wife of Stephen Fagan, when authorities tracked him down and prosecuted him for kidnapping. Even after learning that that their mother was not dead and that their father had lied to them for 20 years, Kurth’s daughters stayed by Fagan’s side. Afterwards, Fagan said he abducted the daughters because Kurth was neglecting them and abused alcohol, a claim she denied.

Still, knowing this, Malky remains determined.

“I know he has been told that I don’t care about him, that I don’t love him, but I’m not giving up,” Malky said. “Hopefully, I will win. … The feeling that I and many parents of children who have been abducted is not unlike those whose children have been killed, except that we never have an end. There’s never an end until you find your child.”

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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

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013

German Phone Number: 069 2547 2471

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +44 20 3239 0013

U.S / Barbados – Mother who kidnapped children gets 18 months


January 19, 2013

Source: Buffalo News

Jacqueline Bontzolakes says an abusive relationship forced her to gather up her two kids, flee her Town of Tonawanda home and escape to faraway Barbados.

map of caribbean

A federal court jury didn’t buy her story, however, and instead found her guilty in one of Buffalo’s first cases of international parental kidnapping.

Today, a judge sentenced Bontzolakes to 18 months in prison, well below what he could have given her.

“I ended up doing something I regret in order to protect my daughter,” she told U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson in a tearful plea for leniency.

Bontzolakes never denied taking her kids away from their fathers and leaving the country, but insisted there were sound reasons for what she did – the fear that her oldest daughter also was being abused.

Federal prosecutors tell a far different story of why Bontzolakes kidnapped her children. They claim it was because she had lost custody of the girl.

“I would ask the court not to forget who the real victims are here, the two children she kidnapped,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Fauzia K. Mattingly told Wilson, a visiting judge from Arkansas.

With nearly two dozen of Bontzolakes’ family, friends and supporters looking on, Wilson stopped well short of the three-year sentence he could have given her under federal sentencing guidelines.

The government’s case against Bontzolakes offers a glimpse into international parental kidnapping, which until this year was rare, if not unheard of, in Buffalo federal court.

It has been a long-standing problem elsewhere, however, an issue so big that a Hague Convention in 1980 resulted in an international treaty governing how countries deal with these types of kidnappings.

 

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Parental child abductions have ‘risen by 88% in a decade’


December 12, 2012

Source: ITV

  • Cases of parental child abduction have risen 88% in just under a decade (2003-2012), the FCO have said.
  • 24% of Britons are unaware parental child abduction is a crime.
  • The FCO’s child abduction section received an average of four calls a day between October 2011 and September 2012.

Happy-Children_Parents_Family

  • The FCO also pointed out that parents may suffer severe financial difficulties as they fight for custody of their child through foreign courts.
  • Further illustrating public misunderstanding, nearly three quarters of those surveyed (74%) thought fathers were more likely to abduct children.
  • But, according to statistics from the Reunite International Child Abduction Centre, 70% of the charity’s cases concern mothers taking the child.
  • There are skewed opinions over where children were taken – 71% thought parents most commonly abduct their children to the Middle East, India or Pakistan.

A worldwide problem

Parental child abduction – where a parent takes a child without the permission of those with parental responsibility – is now a worldwide issue. In 2003/04 we worked on cases in 51 countries; now cases relate to 84 different countries, showing just how widespread the problem has become.

We also fear that these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg; many cases go unreported as parents seek custody of their children through foreign courts.

Raising awareness

Public understanding of parental child abduction is alarmingly low.

The research we commissioned shows that half the UK population believes the government can intervene to order the return of a child to the UK if he or she has been abducted by a parent.

The reality is that whilst help is available, parental child abduction cases can take years to resolve. This has significant impact on those concerned and there is the strong possibility that the child may never be returned.

It is also much harder to return a child from a country that has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention, an international agreement between certain countries which aims to ensure the return of a child who has been abducted by a parent.

Legal and financial reality

Despite parental child abduction being against the law, a quarter (24%) of people do not think, or are unaware, that it’s a crime for a parent to take their child overseas without the consent of others with parental responsibility.

When asked which parent they thought was more likely to abduct a child, three quarters (74%) of people thought it was fathers.  Yet according to statistics from the Reunite International Child Abduction Centre, 70% of the charity’s cases concern mothers taking the child.

As well as this emotional distress, both parents may often face severe financial difficulties as they fight for custody of their child through foreign courts. The statistics show that people tend to underestimate just how much getting a child back costs, including legal fees overseas and in the UK which may continue to mount up even after  the child is returned to this country.

There also seems to be a lack of awareness about who pays the costs of resolving a parental child abduction case involving a non-Hague country. Sixty-two per cent either didn’t know or responded with the wrong answer, and only 38% answered correctly by saying it was the parents who would pay, not the UK Government.

The expert view

Daisy Organ, head of the Foreign Offfice Child Abduction Section said:

“The increase in parental child abduction cases is a major cause for concern, particularly in the lead up to the school holidays; we know that before or during school holidays is one of the most common times for a child to be abducted. We hope that this campaign will help inform and educate the UK public and encourage parents thinking of abducting their child to think twice before they cause significant distress to themselves and their family. “

Alison Shalaby, Chief Executive of Reunite, said:

“It is important to remember that parental child abduction is not faith or country specific. 71% of the UK public thought that parents most commonly abduct their children to the Middle East, India and Pakistan but it can happen to anyone, from any background. Countries where children are abducted to can range from Australia, to France, to Thailand.

“We have seen a 20% increase in calls made to our helpline in the first half of 2012 compared to 2011  and a 67% increase in the number of children who have been abducted by a parent to a non-Hague country between 2001 and 2011.

“This issue is not going away and with a 47% increase in the number of child abduction cases Reunite has worked on between 2001 and 2011, we are urging parents to think twice before they abduct their child or seek help if they think their child is at risk.”

Contact information

If you are concerned, or if your child has been abducted, you can call the FCO’s Child Abduction Section on 0207 008 0878 or visithttp://www.fco.gov.uk/childabduction, or Reunite on 0116 2556 234.

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Christmas A Time of Parental Child Abduction Risk


November 3, 2012

Source: SOS Childrens Villages 

It`s only a few weeks until Christmas. We know that many children will be abducted this holiday season. We urge you to be aware of the risk, and take precautions. Martin Waage, ABP World Group Ltd.

This post is from December 2011.

A European Union official has commented on the region’s work on international parental child abduction at the same time that security actors have warned parents to be vigilant about protecting their children over the holidays.

International child abduction is on an upward trend and the Christmas season is one of the higher-risk periods for parental abduction—particularly when it comes to multi-cultural relationships.

Yesterday, the European Union (EU) Commission Vice-President (Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship), Viviane Reding, made a statement on the issue in Strasbourg.

“Preventing child abduction is an essential part of the EU’s policy to promote the rights of the child. I welcome the initiative of the European Parliament Mediator for international parental child abduction,” she said.

Within the EU, the International Law Association (ILA) Regulation mandates courts within EU member states to not refuse an order to return a child to his or her state of origin, if within the EU.

While the laws do not prevent or solve all cases of international parental child abduction, disputes between EU member states are solved more efficiently and swiftly, Ms. Reding noted.

Among the improvements made to the legal system is the removal of the exequatur rule.  This has allowed for a shorter time period in which courts may recognize and enforce judgments made by another state.

In international cases related to child custody and parental abduction, the Hague Convention applies. All EU member states are state parties to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and more countries are gradually signing on.

The Convention aims to protect children from the harmful impacts of abduction and retention by providing a protocol for international cooperation for their return to their country of origin.

According to a press release circulated by PR Web, the ABP World Group (which is an international leader in security matters related to child and adult abduction recovery) is warning parents worried that the other parent may illegally leave the country with their child to use new technology, such as GPS tracking devices, to protect their children.

Martin Waage, Managing Director of ABP World Group, stated, “With international child abductions happening at a record pace, ABP World Group urges parents to take every precaution to protect their children from this horrible fate.”

“Tragically, the number of global parental abductions occurring is an unknown due to failures by governments to keep accurate data,” he added.

However, using the situation in the United States as “microcosm” for the rest of the world, there could be as many as 125,000 children illegally abducted between now and 2020. In Canada, these numbers alone could reach 12,000-15,000, based on current reported cases with a modest 20 per cent growth factor, said Mr. Waage.

While Canada is also a signatory to the Hague Convention, though many countries in the Middle East and Asia are not. 

 

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Parents on alert: Child abductions rarely committed by strangers


October 13, 2012

Source:KDVR

According to the Department of Justice, 800,000 children are reported missing every year in the united states.  Out of that number, 69,000 were kidnapped. “I think anytime a child is missing it’s a big number.  Whether it’s one or 69,000, but yes, 69,000 sounds like a large number,” says criminal justice professor Stacey Hervey from Metro State College in Denver.

Our children are taught to beware of stranger-danger. “If someone you don’t know approaches you, that you yell and scream that this is not my mom or dad,” says Hervey.

But the likely danger is closer to home.  Of the 69,000 children kidnapped every year, 82 percent, eight out of ten, are abducted by a family member.  “In the case of Jessica Ridgeway the media picks up on it very quickly and of course it puts the fear in every parent’s heart.  But in reality they are a very miniscule  number as far as stranger abductions.  The likelihood  is someone that you know is going to take your kid.”

When it comes to anyone having regular contact with your child, don’t be paranoid, be prudent.  “Child predators are very manipulative, and do want to work themselves into your life and make you trust them.”

And the odds of your child being abducted by anybody?  That would be .02 percent.  Perspective is everything.

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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

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013

Norway Phone Number: +47 45504271

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +370 610 44 447