Three Abducted Montana Children found safe on sailboat off Florida coast


Source: Daily Mail

Three Montana children were found safe after apparently living on a 40-foot sailboat off the coast of Florida since they were abducted by their father in August, according to authorities. 

The Bryant children, Megan, 15, Maxwell, 13 and Sebastian, 12, went to visit their father James Bryant in South Florida for the summer and were never returned to their mother in Belgrade, Montana.

She reported them missing in August. When police checked local marinas, they were told James Bryant’s boat, the Night Dragon, had set sail in July with Bryant, his children, and his new wife aboard.

James Bryant
Alyssa Bryant
Going home: James Bryant, 44, (left) was arrested and will be extradited back to Montana after he was found with his three children, including Megan, 15 (right)
Maxwell Bryant
Sebastian Bryant

Found safe: Maxwell, 13, (left) and Sebastian, 12, (right) spent the fall and winter on their father’s 40-foot sailboat after he allegedly abducted them and their sister

The children were last heard from August 17, when Sebastian called a friend in Billings, Montana, from a phone in West Palm Beach, Florida, and said he was excited to return home to his mother.

None of the children’s cell phones were used again.

Authorities feared that Bryant might head for the Bahamas or Puerto Rico to hide out.

On Tuesday, a flyover by a US Customs and Border Protection aircrew spotted a 40-foot sailboat about 30 miles off the coast of Pompano Beach.

The 110-foot Coast Guard Cutter Okracoke intercepted the craft and discovered James Bryant and the three children, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

A dog, a cat, a snake and a lizard were also found aboard the boat.

They arrested James Bryant on a felony warrant for parenting interference that was issued by a Montana judge in September.

After the children were reported missing, Florida authorities and the FBI began the hunt for James Bryant and his Night Dragon boat.

‘A suspected kidnapper has been apprehended without incident,’ Coast Guard Capt Chris Scraba told the Sun-Sentinel.

‘A mother will have her three children safely returned to her unharmed.’

Authorities say James Bryant is slated to be extradited back to Montana to face charges.

The children were turned over the the Broward County Sheriff’s Office so they can be reunited with their mother and make the 2,600 mile trek back to Montana.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2121577/Montana-children-sailboat-Florida-abducted-father.html#ixzz1qQBxXQBI

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Florida Divorce and Custody Disputes that Lead to Parental Abduction: What To Do To Recover Your Child


Source: Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer Blog

In a Florida family law case involving children, such as divorce, paternity, or change of custody, emotions can run rather high.

Unfortunately, stress often surrounds these experiences and the consequences of the stress, if not handled properly, can lead to horrible actions by one parent. A parent who feels their world is caving in may turn to extreme acts, like abducting their child. Florida law has accepted, like most states, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) which rules that initial child custody determinations should be made by the child’s home state.

A child’s home state is the state in which a child has lived with a parent or guardian for at least six (6) months. It also determines that if a parent, in fact takes a child, the child should be returned to the home state unless an emergency lead to the fleeing (e.g. physical abuse of the parent and/or child by the other parent).
The UCCJEA allows for protection of the parents and the child by providing for legal action to be taken if a parent were to abduct the child. In the United States, there are numbers cases of parent abduction each year and having a protection like the UCCJEA is vital to recovering the children. What it allows is for the nonoffending party to file a petition with the court for an emergency child pick-up. The petition must state the actions of the other parent and give a place where the parent and child are most likely located. Once an order is entered in the home state of the child, like Florida, then the order must be adopted by the state where the child is physically located. Once the order is adopted, it is enforceable against the parent with the child and the parent is required to return the child to the home state. If the offending parent refuses or fails to do so, then the parent may be charged with kidnapping, not to mention the impact that parent’s actions will have on any custody dispute pending in the court.


In Florida, there are many individuals that moved from other countries and as a family law attorney, I often have clients concerned that the other parent will return to his/her country with the child. If a child is taken, without consent of both parents, to a different country, then the Hague Convention on International Kidnapping and Child Custody will have to be employed. The countries that have adopted this action often work diligently at having the child returned to the United States. However, not all countries have adopted the Hague Convention, which can lead to additional jurisdictional issues. A passport for a child requires both parents to consent by signing the application; if this is a concern of yours then you should deny the child getting a passport.
Child abduction is a serious matter and having an understanding for your rights and what actions can be taken to protect you and your child are vital in any type of case. If you have experienced a child custody battle or abduction, then you should speak with a family law attorney in your area for immediate assistance.

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Parental Move Away/Abduction: Entrepreneur Wins Custody Of Missing Child


Source: Fathersrights.com

Big Jake won contracts for his trucking company by the force of his many contacts flowing from his Southern California roots. But his self marketing talents were eclipsed by his self maintenance skills aided by his baseball glove sized hands that, creased by wrench grip scars from the multitude of in flight maintenance diesel repairs this gentle giant of German English ancestry managed through his 50 year company history — hauling newsprint for his California based publishing company clientele — equipped his Kenworth fleeted tractors well for dependable, on-time reliability. And given his wide set baby blue eyes and shock of blond brown beach boy surfer hair, our six foot four two hundred thirty pound client not surprisingly fathered the most delightfully pert seven year old Goldilocks like girl in the county.

How she adored her daddy

!home content img1 150x150 Parental Move Away/Abduction: Entrepreneur Wins Custody Of Missing Child

So much so that jealously framed mother’s agenda to rip into the heart of our latter day Paul Bunyan by stealing away in the night with little Rebecca in tow of her Berkeley- Doctored new mate to the Greek Islands for his post doctoral research project enveloping the demise at the hands of Scipio Africans, his hero and his target of historical focus — Hannibal of Carthage.

But we cut off our bespectacled wasp with his anxious entourage at the boarding gate with the Vista Family Court’s restraining order recorded with the US Department Of Justice tagging Rebecca’s passport!

And Mother’s Mr Peepers bolted with Rebecca and Mother into darkness somewhere east of Raleigh and north of Savannah.

That is, until or gentle giant landed an overland cross-country consignment bound for Philadelphia with restraining orders in his glove box.

Soon afterward, and southbound for Tallahassee, our law firm’s investigator spotted Rebecca’s caravan in Southern Georgia, eight months to the day of Rebecca’s disappearance from her Oceanside California home. The hunt was on.

Our Midwest connections with the Chicago Tribune’s law firm led to legal connections in Tallassee where our new co-counsel having the local banking industry in legal lockstep identified Mr. Peeper’s newly opened Tallahassee bank account and his local motel address, where sharply early the following morning over-nighted orders were served requiring court surrender that very day.

Big Jake had meantime been storming his lighted rig, freed of it’s delivered cargo’s weight, south east to Florida. Contemporaneously or firm’s on sight PI kept watch at a respectful distance as the flushed prey efforted an escape west bound towards the Panhandle across north Florida – Mississippi Bound, our glue foot racing to the rear in chase.

But our over-educated, mental Mensa-man and his maul chose both the wrong weekend and the wrong Mississippi town for cover. For it was the very Saturday in December that Florida defeated arch rival Alabama, and Mississippi State beat Oklahoma!

Meridian, Mississippi and Tallassee were all in sleepless celebration mode.
Rebecca’s Tallahassee court issued restraining order was delivered by wire to a hoop hollering Meridian judge who alerted his wide eyed police chief early Sunday morning and the itinerant band and their Mercedes and RV fleet were seized and placed in the local caboose.

Rebecca, herself, spent that Sunday at the Mayor’s plantation home in honor of his alumni status with the Florida judge issuing the over-nighted Florida arrest citation — Florida State had been their mutual Alma Mater!

Meantime Big Jake had swung his broiling hot, diesel powered behemoth West from Tallahassee towards the Deep South, escorted by two Florida State Trooper squads by-passing the required checkpoints towards his beloved Rebecca.

Come Sunday Noon, yours truly was conference calling from my La Costa kitchen phone with Peeper’s newly retained Florida counsel arranging with the stern encouragement of two reunited alums of Florida State School Of Law, the assignment of Our Mr Big Hands of Sandy Hair as special deputy to personally escort Rebecca and her felon former parens patriae back to Tallahassee for arraignment with Rebecca delightedly reunified sitting shotgun aboard Big Jakes smokin big rig enroute for a Tuesday afternoon court Hearing.

Early Wednesday morning beaming Rebecca was released into her daddy’s care for her return to Oceanside while her former travel companions remained behind pending a preliminary hearing and trial.

Following further California proceedings Rebecca was returned full time into her father’s care and 15 years later earned her psychology degree — from UC Cal, where else!

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Father gets son back after 9-year search


Source: Royalgazette

After nearly a decade of searching, Giovanni Burrows finally has his son back.

Following a court hearing in Jacksonville, Florida, yesterday afternoon, Mr Burrows said he was confident the courts would find in his favour, but added that the financial impact of the prolonged search will cause lingering challenges.

“I just knew this was what was going to happen,” he said. “One battle is now finally over, but there’s now another struggle that has just begun.”

The court decision brought an end to a nine-year search and several hearings about the future of 14-year-old Jasai Swan-Burrows.

Mr Burrows won full custody of Jasai from his ex-wife, Kim Sakena Swan, in 2001.

Ms Swan fled the country with Jasai in 2003, when he was five years old.

Since then, Mr Burrows has dedicated himself to tracking down his son and bringing him back to Bermuda. Every time he thought the search was nearing an end, he struck another roadblock.

Mr Burrows and US authorities tracked Ms Swan down in St Petersburg, Florida last May.

However she and Jasai disappeared on May 11, just before a hearing was scheduled to take place.

According to Clearwater police Jasai asked a caretaker to go to the bathroom and instead met with his mother and fled.

“It seems like every year we would get close, but then something would happen. I would fly to Florida, and they would be gone,” Mr Burrows said.

“We knew they were still in Florida. They really couldn’t go anywhere else, but they kept getting tipped off.”

The search ended Thursday when Ms Swan was arrested in Jacksonville and charged with interference with child custody and parental abduction.

Both Jasai and his younger sister, who was born in the United States, were taken by the authorities.

Mr Burrows flew to Jacksonville for an emergency hearing on Sunday. He hoped to pick up his son and return to the Island, but that was not to be the hearing was adjourned. A second hearing was scheduled for Monday but that too was set back.

Prior to yesterday’s hearing, Mr Burrows said: “Every time I think ‘It’s happening again’. Every day my son disappears again.

“I’m wearing the same clothes I came up here in. All that’s happening now is my debt is growing bigger, but it’s all right. I would go into a million dollars in debt if it meant I would have my son back.”

He said he had no doubt the courts would return his son to him, but after years of hard work and near misses, he found it hard to get excited about the court’s impending decision.

“I have told myself that this is not over until the plane lands in Bermuda,” he said.

Mr Burrows said he has spoken to his son everyday since he arrived in Florida.

“He said he didn’t want to come back to Bermuda without his sister, or without knowing that she was coming soon, so I’ve been doing everything I can to make sure that happens,” he said. “He loves his sister, so I have to do what I can.”

Once back in Bermuda, Mr Burrows has to deal with the bills he has racked up in his nine-year search. Between the flights to and from Florida and the cost of the prolonged legal battle, he has spent about $500,000.

Even yesterday he was unsure as to how he was going afford to get back to Bermuda. His best option was to rent a car and drive with Jasai to Miami in hopes of getting less expensive airfare for his teenage son.

“I have maxed out all my credit cards; I have sold possessions,” he said. “The bank is helping me pay my lawyer, who was kind enough to offer me a reduced rate, but that’s something I will have to pay back.

“I’m renting a place that has a loft for my son, but that’s up for sale now so they could make us move out. All I want is for my son to be happy and stable.

“I’ve sent a letter to the Premier, to the Government, asking if they might be able to help me buy some sort of house, a fixer-upper, so I can have a stable home for my son.”

He hoped others might be able to learn from what happened to him, he added. Since his story has come out others in similar situations have come to him asking for advice.

“One man contacted me on Facebook in pretty much the same situation so I told him who he should contact and what he needed to do,” he said. “I felt a little jealous because he was able to get his son back a week later while I’ve been working for ten years, but it felt good to know that I helped someone.”

The long search

2001: Giovanni Burrows is granted full custody of his son, Jasai Swan-Burrows. Jasai’s mother, Kim Sakena Swan, is allowed to see their son on weekends.
January 18, 2003: Ms Swan leaves Bermuda on a flight to Atlanta, taking five-year-old Jasai with her. She lists Stone Mountain, Georgia, as her intended final destination on her departure card.
September 2006: Mr Burrows moves to the United States to search for his son, spending a year speaking with media outlets, the British Consulate and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The search leads Mr Burrows to St Petersburg, Florida, but all he found was an empty residence with pictures and other paraphernalia left behind. He eventually returns to Bermuda empty-handed.
May 2011: Authorities find Ms Swan and Jasai, now 13 years old, living in a homeless hostel in St Petersburg. Mr Burrows flies to Florida and, for the first time in more than eight years, gets to spend time with his son.
May 11, 2011: A hearing is held in Clearwater to return Jasai to Bermuda. However just before the hearing, Jasai leaves his caretaker and secretly meets and leaves with his mother.
February 2, 2012: Ms Swan is arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, and charged with interference with child custody and parental abduction.
February 7, 2012:Jacksonville courts return Jasai to Mr Burrows, allowing him to return to Bermuda.

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Parental Abduction – Woman stopped at border on kidnapping warrant


Source: KLTV

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) – A Florida woman awaits extradition and two boys have been turned over to Texas Child Protective Services after U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained the woman officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge on an outstanding kidnapping warrant.

CBP spokesman Eduardo Perez says agents stopped 25-year-old Iris Sandoval of Gibsonton, Fla., Monday when a database revealed the November 2008 parental kidnapping warrant from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Hidalgo Police Capt. Robert Vela says the boys, ages 7 and 8 years old, were turned over to Child Protective Services Monday night. Sandoval was being held at the Hidalgo County Jail in Edinburg awaiting return to Florida.

A sheriff’s spokesman didn’t return a call for comment Tuesday.

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McCready case raises awareness about parental abductions


Source: Winknews.com

 

LEE COUNTY, Fla. – New developments in the Mindy McCready child custody war.

The country singer went on national television talking about what happened when US Marshals took her son, Zander.

Right now the five year old boy is in a foster home in Arkansas.

But his legal guardians want him back here in Southwest Florida.

In 2007 a Lee County judge awarded Mindy McCready’s mother, Gayle Inge custody of Zander.

But two weeks ago McCready defied that order, took back her son, and went on the run until authorities found her hiding in an Arkansas home.

Last Friday authorities took Zander, which McCready says terrified the boy.

“He was screaming, “please don’t touch me. Please don’t touch me. Please leave me alone I want to be alone with my mommy”,” Mindy McCready told Good Morning America.

The country singer appeared on the morning show Thursday and Friday morning.

In the interview she made accusations of abuse against her mother saying Zander was beaten and forced to speak Gibberish at local churches.

Earlier this week an Arkansas judge put a gag order on the child custody part of the case.

But while leaving the courthouse McCready says she may regain custody of her son despite violating a court order back her in Lee County.

“I do not to this moment and will not ever think that me taking my own child, that I carried for nine months, would ever be breaking the law and what I did was to protect my child and there’s not a person in the world who will tell me that’s wrong,” McCready told GMA.

But committing a parental abduction is wrong in the eyes of the law.

Aimee McLaughlin from the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida can not speak about McCready’s case.

However, she says this whole situation is raising awareness about parental abductions.

“Parental abduction is real, especially in Southwest Florida,” she said.

McLaughlin says there’s 5 cases in our area right now.

The Children’s Network has a team working to find these children.

“We have a missing child specialist who works with local law enforcement, NCIC and FDLE,” McLaughlin says.

She adds it’s their mission to bring families together and parental abductions only make it worse for the child.

“Our goal is to reunify families when it’s safe to do  so. I would encourage those parents to bring their children back and work with us and our case plan,” she said.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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A Father’s Day story


By David Story, Special to The Villager
Alabama June 17, 2011 

[PHOTO]

Contributed Auburn Villager

Luis Gallardo-Rivera and his daughter, Amaia

Last Father’s Day, Opelika city employee Luis Gallardo-Rivera didn’t know if he’d ever see his daughter Amaia again as he embarked on a desperate odyssey. His search ended up spanning two states, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and including a trek across Bulgaria from Sofia to Burgas on the Black Sea.

A single man with visitation rights to see his 6-year-old daughter Amaia, Gallardo-Rivera says the disappearance of his daughter was unexpected. In the prior year, his relationship with her mother Beatriz had “settled down.”

“Things were rocky with Beatriz after Amaia’s birth, with visitation disagreements,” admits Gallardo-Rivera, a Columbus native. “I’d travel to Florida from Puerto Rico, where I was living and I’d first met Beatriz, and later to Florida from Columbus.”

Then Beatriz announced she had a real-estate job offer in Spain.

“Beatriz said she’d take Amaia for nine months,” says Gallardo-Rivera, who had joint custody. “It was temporary, and though I wouldn’t see Amaia for nine months, I could have her every summer per our new visitation arrangement.”

Bulgarian connection

The only hitch, adds Gallardo-Rivera, was that Amaia’s mother was engaged to a Bulgarian national.

“The day before they left for Spain, Beatriz called and said they were making a pit stop in Bulgaria to meet the fiancé’s family and get married,” he says.

Gallardo-Rivera admits resenting the fact that Beatriz’s fiancé was a father figure to Amaia. But he appreciated that Amaia got along with the man who might become her stepfather. He says he was glad his daughter had a chance to travel, and he understood the fiancé’s wanting to see his home and family.

But weeks passed and then a couple of months went by with only email and webcam communications between Gallardo-Rivera and his daughter. Beatriz explained that there were visa problems delaying their departure for Spain. Because he has a friend who’s an immigration lawyer, Gallardo-Rivera says this didn’t sound improbable.

The first warning bell rang when Beatriz said Amaia couldn’t come back to visit her father, adding that it wasn’t feasible for the child to leave Bulgaria and try to get back in. She said Gallardo-Rivera could come and visit, however.

“I was frustrated, but not entirely suspicious,” he says. “Now, I look back and think, how could I have been so stupid!”

By February, Gallardo-Rivera was planning a visit. Shortly afterwards, his story took an alarming turn.

Arrest warrant

“On March 16 of last year, I found an arrest warrant online for Beatriz on federal charges of mortgage fraud,” he says. “A 50-plus-page document from the federal Department of Justice initiated by the FBI, which had first interviewed Beatriz the day before she called me with the Spain story.”

Gallardo-Rivera says he didn’t care so much about the bank’s allegations of mortgage fraud as he did about what Beatriz had done to him and his daughter.

“Everything fell into place, so, I called the FBI,” he says. “They had no news of her whereabouts—she and Amaia had boarded a flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam—so I gave the Bureau an address.”

Gallardo-Rivera immediately tried to obtain emergency full custody, filing in Florida.

“It was denied for lack of jurisdiction, and their court ruling said I could file in Alabama or Puerto Rico,” he says. “My lawyer said not to file in Alabama, so I filed in Puerto Rico, and the request was denied.”

Months pass

Months passed and Gallardo-Rivera still communicated with Amaia via webcam, watching what he said to avoid giving away anything. Then, things began to turn in his favor.

“The FBI had to go through the State Department to work with the Bulgarian embassy in Sofia” he says. “I had called the embassy repeatedly, having written to the U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria, Nancy McEldowney.”

Gallardo-Rivera finally got in touch with a female official, Kimberly Atkinson of the embassy’s American Citizens Services, who became his contact. The search for Amaia evolved from a federal case to an Interpol case.

“Atkinson was very proactive,” says Gallardo-Rivera, who had been assured that once Beatriz was apprehended the American embassy would hold his daughter.

“I was sitting tight, and in mid-October I received a call from Atkinson,” he says. “The embassy had just finished a legal consultation and said they couldn’t hold Amaia overnight if they found her. ‘Are you going to get her soon?’ I asked, and Atkinson said she couldn’t answer that.”

Atkinson said she could pass Amaia on to an American missionary couple, the Ridgways, pending Gallardo-Rivera’s arrival.

“‘Should I come?’ I asked,” recalls Gallardo-Rivera, “and Atkinson couldn’t give me a definitive answer. So I slept on it, decided to go, and bought a ticket for Bulgaria.”

Gallardo-Rivera flew into Letishte Sofia-Vrazhdebna airport in Sofia, arriving on a Friday. He checked into the Kempinski Hotel Zografski in the Lozenets neighborhood near downtown Sofia. As Gallardo-Rivera strolled past the hotel’s lake, he contemplated his situation.

“The Kempinski Hotel was next to the embassy,” he explains, “and by Monday I was frustrated when Atkinson informed me Beatriz still wasn’t in custody. I didn’t know what to do, so I went back to the hotel and tried to contact the Bulgarian police. Then my sister told me about a private investigation agency she’d found online,”

A private detective

Korona AIK Detective Agency at 14 Budapeshta St. is known for tracking hiding or missing persons, and the agency had a 10-year for reputation working with foreign clients.

“I gave Korona’s Alexandra Karmanska my daughter’s last address in Bulgaria, plus the name of the Drita School,” says Gallardo-Rivera, “She arranged surveillance of the school and learned Amaia was abruptly checked out by her mother’s fiancé on the same day I’d gotten the call from the U.S. Embassy about the American couple, the Ridgways.”

Gallardo-Rivera moved to a less expensive hotel, the Hotel Maxim, close to downtown Sofia and the Vitosha Street commercial district. He stayed till the end of the second week but was on leave without pay.

“I was trying to email Beatriz because the webcam communication had suddenly stopped,” he explains, “but there were no email responses.”

Gallardo-Rivera decided to return home. Once he was back in Alabama, the emails started again and were forwarded by him to the FBI, which forwarded them to Bulgaria. There, authorities traced the IP address to the seaside town of Burgas.

Gallardo-Rivera was still trying to arrange a trip without letting Beatriz know he knew where she was. He said he was going to visit his brother in Ibiza, Spain, and wanted to make side trip to Bulgaria.

“No, don’t come,” Beatriz said. “Amaia is going to winter camp with her school.”

The Hague Treaty

The emails slacked off, and when they came again, Beatriz was elusive about her address. Gallardo-Rivera tried to get Amaia on the Missing Children’s List, a process that only local authorities can initiate. The Florida police wouldn’t follow through, however, so Gallardo-Rivera turned to the International Missing Children’s List and made a petition through the Hague Treaty.

The Hague’s Office of Children’s Issues provides direction to foreign service posts on international parental child abduction and fulfills U.S. treaty obligations relating to the abduction of children.

The Hague Treaty, a multilateral treaty protecting children from abduction and retention across international boundaries, provides guidelines for an application process to have a child returned under the treaty.

“In the week or two leading up to finally getting Amaia back in November, I made calls and wrote letters to my congressmen, the State Department, Bulgarian Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the International Missing Children’s List and Interpol’s Bulgarian office,” says Gallardo-Rivera. “I got flooded with calls in response.”

Then Atkinson called from Sofia, saying the embassy had Amaia. She and Beatriz had been in the home of a friend of the fiancé’s in Burgas. Gallardo-Rivera drove straight to the Atlanta airport, thinking his daughter was en route to the Ridgways. There were complications, however.

“It was alleged that Beatriz said I’d given up custody rights or they’d been revoked,” according to Gallardo-Rivera. “But I had my documents when an embassy car with a translator picked me up at the airport.”

Gallardo-Rivera’s documents showed he had never relinquished joint custody, and he immediately became custodial parent as soon as Beatriz was incarcerated.

The embassy got Gallardo-Rivera to the Social Assistance Office, but Amaia wasn’t with the Ridgways; she was at the Dragalevtsi Shelter for Children because Beatriz claimed Gallardo-Rivera had relinquished custody.

When Gallardo-Rivera saw Amaia there she hugged him. The embassy staff drove them to the airport, and they were out of the country three hours after his arrival.

Home at last

Amaia’s aunt and paternal grandfather were waiting when they landed in Atlanta.

“I am grateful I’d always tried to communicate with Amaia, because she was comfortable with me,” says here dad. “Amaia took it all like a champ.”

Amaia started school at Jeter Primary in Opelika the following Wednesday.

“Amaia was smiling and acting like a little girl,” recalls Sandra Gallardo, Amaia’s aunt, of their airport reunion. “She’d say little things in reference to her time in Bulgaria, and it caught us off guard and was hard to respond to. Amaia has a strong sense of leadership and a deep need to understand things but is as silly as any young girl.”

Her aunt adds that Amaia has always been extremely social, makes friends quickly and never forgets names.

“Folks stop me and tell me they can’t believe Amaia’s only been with me for a few months,” says Gallardo-Rivera. “She’s resilient and integrated into school. She’s gotten used to new rules; it’s like we’ve always lived together.”

Be careful with whom you have children, sums up Gallardo-Rivera.

“It’s a challenge—going from bachelor to full-time single Dad with the ‘technical’ aspects of health plans,” he says. “Nothing can prepare you for day-to-day parenthood. It’s not like when you could eat a bowl of cereal for dinner or skip a meal; you have another mouth to feed.”

The ‘big picture’

His sleep was the first thing affected. He wakes up an hour early and stays up at night to make dinner and help with homework.

“All of these things are peanuts compared to the big picture, so it’s worth it,” he muses.

Amaia and her dad even make it down to Florida so she can see her maternal grandparents, who knew nothing about Beatriz’a legal troubles.

“I’ve learned so many things about Amaia,” says her dad. “She is into art. Her drawings are very detailed. I signed her up with 4-H club at school, and we visit different parks and go to Opelika’s Sportsplex to swim.”

The one thing he hasn’t figured out yet is how to fix a little girl’s hair, confesses Gallardo-Rivera.

“I try to convince her to go with a short haircut, but with the movie Tangled, that hasn’t been successful,” he says. “You can tell when my sister or a female co-worker has helped with my Amaia’s hair and when ‘Daddy’ did it.”

This is the first Father’s Day Amaia will spend with Gallardo-Rivera, his father and all his siblings.

“My family has showered her with so much love,” he says. “She adores them, and they love her. They’ve grown so close so fast; she calls my dad ‘abuelo.'”

Gallardo-Rivera’s father Orlando—Amaia’s grandfather, says she is totally different from when she first arrived.

“When we are together, she is very affectionate and talks of things she does with her Dad; she loves being with him,” he says. “My son has a unique way with her. He’s always there for Amaia.”

Note: Gallardo-Rivera said Amaia’s mom Beatriz was extradited and is awaiting trial in Florida. Gallardo-Rivera now has full legal and physical custody, and Beatriz will have to request visitation in court. So far, she has not. The facility she is in does not allow visitors, so Amaia has only seen her mom via webcam since leaving Bulgaria. Beatriz’s fiancé is still in Bulgaria, and since he didn’t formally sign anything or directly commit any mortgage fraud, he is not facing charges.

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More Norwegian children snatched


The number of children taken illegally out of Norway by one of their separated parents has more than doubled in the past year.

Nearly 400 Norwegian children have disappeared overseas in the past decade, and authorities fear economic motives are behind several of the abductions.


Under Norwegian law, a parent who loses his or her child to their former partner must still continue to pay child support. As long as the child lives with one of the parents, the other must pay child support, even if a Norwegian court has ruled that the child was illegally abducted.

‘Good business’

Child support payments often amount to around NOK 5,000 (USD 900), a lot of money in many countries. ”Rumors are beginning to fly overseas that it’s good business to abduct Norwegian children,” Martin Waage of security firm ABP World Group Ltd. told newspaper Aftenposten. “I know of some cases where the abductions were probably planned even before the children were conceived.” Most of the children abducted between 2004 and 2010 were taken to Sweden, followed by Great Britain and the US. total of 64 children disappeared last year, compared to 31 in 2009, according to figures from the ministries of justice and foreign affairs.

Martin Waage specializes in child abductions and dealt with around 50 cases last year alone. In the most difficult cases, he has found children and brought them home to Norway after armed counter-abductions. Government officials agree that child support laws can be a motivating factor in some cases, and state secretary Astri Aas-Hansen in the Justice Ministry told Aftenposten that they’re reviewing current regulations: “We see that (the child support) can contribute towards the child being abducted and held abroad.”

‘High priority’

She said the ministry is making child abductions a high priority. Police have received special instructions in how to handle abductions, Norway has hosted seminars for judges and others in the Baltic countries, for example, and efforts are being made to urge other countries to adopt international rules against child abductions. The problem is that many countries like Slovakia haven’t followed up on the rules.

“We have put this on the agenda in international circles,” Aas-Hansen told Aftenposten. The ministry also has compiled a website, in English, with information and tips for parents involved in abduction cases.

The efforts haven’t yet helped fathers like Tommy Hoholm, who has been trying to retrieve his two sons from their mother, who took them to Slovakia. He hasn’t seen them for four years, despite court rulings in both Norway and Slovakia that he has custody of the boys. He told Aftenposten their mother is keeping them hidden, something she denies.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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THE LEFT-BEHIND PARENT


Your Experience of Missing-Child Trauma

Source:www.lilaclane.com/missing-children/left-behind/

Your child has been kidnapped or is missing, and here on the internet you’ll find a lot of valuable support, legal information, and contacts. However, there will be many difficult hours where you will feel very much alone — and this page is meant to help you get through those times.
THE INITIAL CRISIS
The first few days are incredibly confusing. You’ll receive a lot of advice. Here’s a little more. 

ENLIST A GUARDIAN
You need a cool head to guide you. As the left-behind parent, you’re going to be in shock, so your intellectual capabilities will be compromised. Enlist a relative or friend to be your crisis Guardian — you will need them to stay with you and accompany you to all appointments. Ideally, they should take a week off from work to be by your side.

If you have a current spouse living with you, they should not try to fill this role. They can’t — they’re in shock too. You need a third person, someone with enough emotional distance to stay calm.

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS
Start an activity log and keep it up every day. This will be difficult because the world’s going to be pulling you in ten directions at once, but as the hours and days pass, everything’s going to become a big blur — so you absolutely have to keep track. Get a blank book, notebook or ledger; and every day, record the important points of each meeting with police, phone calls with organizations, etc.  If you don’t have an answering machine, pick one up so that you won’t miss any incoming assistance.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Sleep when you’re able to sleep. Eat when you’re able to eat.

Your body is going to go haywire. Eating will be difficult. Your stomach will often be churning. Carry Tums with you at all times, and nibble them when necessary. Your ability to digest food will disappear, so you’ll need to adapt your eating habits. Keep a wide selection of snacks available, and try to eat at every opportunity. For meals, you’ll have better luck if you try lighter fare than usual. A chicken salad will stay down better than a heavy steak. Drink constantly — dehydration causes disorientation.

Often, you’ll be awake all night, then exhausted the whole next day, so grab your Z’s whenever you can. If it’s 3 pm and you have a gap before a 4 pm meeting, grab the opportunity and lie down. If necessary, take a sleeping pill at bedtime (particularly if nightmares are waking you repeatedly). Sleep deprivation leads to slowed mental processes and, later, paranoia — so you absolutely must get sleep, whenever and however possible.

Since your body and mind are going to be stretched to the limits of endurance, it’s strongly recommended that you go to a 24-hour clinic (or emergency room) and have them prescribe something to stabilize your emotions. A doctor will know what kind of medication can help you get through this trauma. It’s very important that you maintain your sanity no matter how nightmarish the experience becomes.

THE SECOND PHASE
Your emotions will change after the first few days of the crisis. The initial agony is from not knowing from minute to minute. Later, the agony is not knowing day after day.

Most of the time, you’ll find yourself in one of three coping states:

1. INTELLECTUAL STATE. This is the state you need to be in when you’re talking with police, touching base with your lawyer, researching information on what to do, etc. You have to be mentally focused, which usually means that at times you have to push your emotions underneath and try not to think too much about your child except in abstract terms. This state is sometimes forced on you (due to appointments) even when you don’t feel ready. Other times this state will come to you naturally, and you’ll find yourself actively digging through documents and reading information paks.

2. EMOTIONAL STATE. In this state of mind it’s very difficult to focus on anything mentally. Your thoughts are with your child, where they might be, how they might be doing, you miss them and want to comfort them. Crying relieves physical stress, and you’re under tremendous stress, so don’t cut your tears short. If you start to cry, try to sob it out of your system without holding back. Don’t restrict your crying. Enlist your guardian to comfort you — and if you feel the need, hug one of your child’s stuffed animals.

There will be times when you are caught in your reeling emotions, unable to respond to intellectual challenges around you. At these times it will be important for your crisis Guardian to be with you, so they can answer authorities’ questions, help make decisions, etc.

Seeing the child’s photos or toys around the house may become too painful. Don’t feel guilty if you decide to put away these toys, move the photos, or close the door to the child’s room. You are not abandoning their memory. After all, your thoughts are with them constantly. But you do need some control over your emotional cycles, especially when it’s time to gather information or make decisions — at times like that, a photo within sight may be unnecessary torment. Make adjustments in your home if you feel the need, and don’t feel bad about it. You need to keep your head together, in order to fight for your child’s well-being.

3. DRIFTING STATE. There will be times that you’re so exhausted or in such shock that you don’t feel anything at all. You’ll find yourself staring blankly at a wall, or drifting with no thought as you look right through the book or screen in front of you. This is a natural result of the trauma. It’s a time when your system can regroup — recharging your batteries, so to speak. Your intellectual and emotional states burn extraordinary amounts of energy out of your body, so if and when you enter a listless state, don’t fight it. Drift and let your thoughts remain unfocused. Your body and mind can use this time to recover.

All three of these states will be useful to you, and should occur as a natural cycle. If you find yourself stuck in a counterproductive state for longer than one day, go to a 24-hour clinic and have a doctor prescribe medication to help you cope.

DISTRACTIONS
There will be times when you can do nothing — times when you’re supposed to wait for a callback or the next step in the proceedings. Such times are painful as you wait for the world to acknowledge the urgency of this situation… and the wheels of justice grind so slow they’ll seem to have stopped. If you’re at a waiting point, it’s important not to work yourself into hysteria over these empty minutes. You need to seek distraction, or you’re just going to overstress yourself. You’ll particularly need distraction on Saturdays and Sundays, when cases are often placed on hold.

Television is usually a great relaxer, but at this time it won’t be. As you flip the channels you’ll see cartoons, children’s shows, commercials with children — everywhere you look there will be children, including children who look like or remind you of your own child. So don’t channel-surf. Get a TV guide and select a specific show to watch, then turn directly to that program. Choose shows that won’t assail you with family-focus commercials. Good bets are CNN, Animal Planet, nature shows, or non-family movies. Even better, pick videotapes to watch.

GOING OUT
Much of the work of regaining your child will have to do with your phone. You’ll be calling people and waiting for return calls, checking in with lawyers and detectives, and giving updates to family members. Consequently you will frequently find yourself trapped at home. Over time this will make you feel like a freak in a cave. You need to get outside once in a while.

When you go into public with the intention of re-charging your emotional batteries, try not to put yourself into stressful situations. Don’t go to fast-food restaurants; you’ll see many children that remind you of your missing child. Money is an issue now due to the costs of the search, but don’t discount your need to reduce stress. Two visits to McDonalds can be traded for one visit to a nice restaurant, late in the evening, when there won’t be any children dining there.

Shopping is a major source of stress. Malls and supermarkets are full of child-reminders. Ask your Guardian to do the shopping for you. Alternatively, shop at 7-Eleven late in the evening.

Lest this sound like we’re discounting natural emotion:  there’s nothing wrong with allowing your emotions full expression. But it’s much more comforting to let those feelings flow when you want to (instead of when the world forces it on you), in the security of your home, where your loved ones can comfort you and you can express yourself fully.

Good luck with your search.  May you soon be happily reunited with your beloved child.

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National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – This is the ONLY website at which you need to register your child as missing.  NCMEC is a non-profit system with federal affiliation; they work with the law enforcement divisions on your case.  Most other “list your missing child here” websites are hosted by people who’ll contact you and promise to find your child in exchange for large amounts of money.  If you need that kind of help, look for legitimate private-investigator listings, or recovery sites that don’t ask you to “register” your missing child in their database — don’t get duped by people who risk children’s lives for money.

Missing (tv show) – If your child has been classified ‘missing endangered’, see if this show will present your case

Federal Parent Locator Service – 18 USC 55318 USC 663

Missing Children Search Aids – List of contacts

Divorcenet.com – Legal information

Hague Convention Agreement – A means for requesting the return of internationally kidnapped children

Hague Participating Countries – Country by country

Child Abduction Resources – U.S. Department of State

Canada – International Kidnapping Information

International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act, 18 U.S.Code §1204

Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (1980), 28 U.S.C. §1738A

Federal Law / Missing Children Title 42, Chapter 72, Subchapter IV, 5771+

International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. §11601

Missing Children Record-Flagging Act – Not in force in all areas yet

Bring Tessie Home page – Our personal struggle with parental kidnapping

Emotional AbuseStalking – Traumas that foreshadow impending parental kidnapping

Laurie’s Webpage Theme Sets – Thank you, Laurie, for the design of this page

Lost links (I’m trying to track them down):
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (1979), 43 U.S.C. §458A
National Child Search Assistance Act (1990), 42 U.S.C. § 5780)
Homepage of Maureen and Missing Child Nadia

Search Google for more webpages about Parental Abduction

Gift From Within – for those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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The Recovery of Internationally Abducted Children – A Comprehensive Guide (excellent)

When Parents Kidnap

Not Without my Daughter

For the Love of a Child

Torn From my Heart: A Mother’s Search for her Stolen Children

Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America (focuses mostly on non-parental kidnappings)

Obstacles to the Recovery and Return of Parentally Kidnapped Children and many other excellent references at OJJDP

If you need to raise money for your child-abduction case,
it’s possible for you to receive donations from people
via the internet.  Click these links to see how it works.
Sample donation link – Amazon.com
Sample donation link – PayPal.com

Most child kidnappings involve a parent or relative as kidnapper, and that is the experience of our family. However, if your situation is different — the child has been kidnapped by a stranger, or is missing due to other circumstances (such as a runaway) — this page will speak to your experiences too, so please read on….


Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

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CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION


CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION

The following information is excerpted from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

In light of the high profile abductions of several children, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) encourages families not to panic. Instead, parents need to empower themselves with information that can help protect their children.

CHILD ABDUCTION: STATISTICS

  • Parental abductions and runaway cases make up the majority of missing children in the United States. In 2002 there were about 797,500 children reported missing, or nearly 2,185 per day. The vast majority of these cases were recovered quickly; however, the parent or guardian was concerned enough to contact law enforcement and they placed the child into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center – a computerized national database of criminal justice information. It is available to Federal, state and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies.
  • Each year there are about 3,000 to 5,000 non-family abductions reported to police, most of which are short term sexually-motivated cases. About 200 to 300 of these cases, or 6 percent, make up the most serious cases where the child was murdered, ransomed or taken with the intent to keep.
  • The NCMEC analyzed more than 4200 attempted abductions from February 2005 to March 2010 and found that 38% of attempted abductions occur while a child is walking alone to or from school, riding the school bus or riding a bicycle; 37% of attempted abductions occur between the hours of 2:00pm through 7:00pm on a weekday; 43% of attempted abductions involve children between the ages of 10 and 14; 72% of attempted abduction victims are female; 68% of attempted abductions involve the suspect driving a vehicle.
  • Research shows that of the 58,000 non-family abductions each year 63% involved a friend, long-term acquaintance, neighbor, caretaker, baby sitter or person of authority; only 37% involved a stranger.

SAFETY TIPS FOR PARENTS:

  • Be sure to go over the rules with your children about whose homes they can visit when you’re not there and discuss the boundaries of where they can and can’t go in the neighborhood.
  • Always listen to your children and keep the lines of communication open. Teach your children to get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away, and practice role-playing and basic safety skills with them.
  • Teach your children in whose car they may ride. Children should be cautioned never to approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent or trusted adult.
  • Make sure children know their names, address, telephone numbers and how to use the telephone.
  • Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends and neighbors.

SAFETY TIPS FOR CHILDREN:

  • Always check first with your parents or the person in charge before you go anywhere or do anything.
  • Always take a friend when you play or go somewhere.
  • Don’t be tricked by adults who offer you special treats or gifts or ask you for help.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no and get away from any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or confused. Trust your feelings.
  • Don’t get into a car or go near a car with someone in it unless you are with your parents or a trusted adult.
  • Never take a ride from someone without checking first with your parents.
  • Never go into a public restroom by yourself.
  • Never go alone to the mall, movies, video arcades or parks.
  • Stay safe when you’re home alone by keeping the door locked. Do not open the door for or talk to anyone who stops by unless the person is a trusted family friend or relative.

INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL ABDUCTION

In situations where parents have not resolved the issue of child custody, and one of the parents has ties to another country, there is the risk that that parent might take the child with them to a foreign country. Parents who are in this situation can find useful information about international parental abduction in “A Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping” published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

For emergency assistance contact:

ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

The goal of ABP World Group Ltd. 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.

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