April Jones’ parents back campaign aimed at improving chances of rescuing abducted children

February 10, 2016

Source: walesonline.co.uk

The parents of murdered schoolgirl April Jones travelled to Cardiff to back the ‘Amber Alert’ campaign.


Coral and Paul Jones (left), the parents of murdered schoolgirl April Jones (right), are backing a campaign which aims to improve the chances of rescuing abducted children before they are harmed.

The parents of murdered schoolgirl April Jones have travelled to Cardiff to back a campaign aimed at improving the chances of rescuing abducted children before they are harmed.

Five-year-old April was snatched as she was playing near her home in Machynlleth and murdered by paedophile Mark Bridger, who is now serving a life sentence.

Coral and Paul Jones spoke at an event in the Wales Millennium Centre also attended by Wales MEP Kay Swinburne, who leads a cross-party group at the European Parliament which encourages groups and individuals to register with the Amber Alert network.

In the UK the network is known as Child Rescue Alert: it exists to spread details of missing children who are in danger as quickly as possible via mobile phones, apps, social media and business networks, as well as traditional news outlets.

‘Every second counts’

Coral said: “April went missing in 2012 and an alert was sent out then.

“It means a lot to me – they helped me out and I’d like other people to be helped as well.

“Even if it gets one child back home, so one family doesn’t have to go through what we went through, it’s worth it.”

Paul said: “Every second counts in a situation where a child has gone missing – it’s very important that as many people sign up as possible to this scheme.”

Coral is now campaigning for April’s Law, which would increase sentences for those convicted of sex crimes, ensured they were always on a register and that crucial members of the community, including teachers, were made aware when paedophiles moved into an area.

A chilling statistic from the United States has suggested that 76% of abducted children are murdered within three hours of being abducted.


‘The more people sign up, the more effective it’s going to be’

Dr Swinburne said: “Launching the campaign at the European Parliament in May last year was very valuable in that it encouraged different countries to talk together about making their alert systems more compatible with each others.

“But I think it’s important to step up the campaign in Wales, which is why we’re meeting in Cardiff Bay to encourage AMs to spread the word to their constituents.”

Tim Burton, deputy police and crime commissioner for Dyfed-Powys, said: “This is a great initiative, and one that has particular resonance in our police area, which is where April’s family live.


“After the elections in May, it’s something that can be taken forward by all four incoming commissioners in Wales.”

Susanna Drury, director of policy and development for Missing People, one of the partner organisations involved in the project, said: “Our role is to get as many people as possible to sign up for Child Rescue Alert.

“The more people sign up, the more effective it’s going to be, and the more chance we’ve got of finding a child who is in danger.

Related: She was brutally murdered by a local man I’d said hello to when I passed him in the street’ April Jones’ sister describes how killer Mark Bridger destroyed her family

‘It’s a very quick and efficient system’

“Our other role is actually activating the alerts.

“On the police’s request, or on a request from the National Crime Agency, an alert will be issued by our team within minutes.

“It’s a very quick and efficient system, and we can get the message out either nationally or locally, or anything in between – whatever the police force thinks appropriate for that particular situation.”

At present around 300,000 people have signed up across the UK – and a range of partnerships with organisations like Facebook extends the reach even further.

People and organisations can sign up by visiting www.childrescuealert.org.uk .

Abducted Lakeville Children Found Safe, Mother Arrested

December 22, 2015

Source: CBS Boston

LAKEVILLE (CBS) – Two children who were reported missing in Lakeville have been found safe. Authorities say the children were taken by their mother, 47-year-old Valerie McGrath, on Sunday.


McGrath took the children with their father’s permission in the afternoon and said she’d return them at 5 p.m., but never did.

The children, a five-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl, were found safe in Raynham Monday evening and McGrath was arrested.

Police say McGrath was spotted in Swansea with the children at about 3:30 pm and the Land Rover she had been driving was later found in a field off of Sharps Lot Rd.

State Police located McGrath and the children in a McDonald’s drive-thru on Route 138 in Raynham in a car she had rented in Fall River.

The father, Steven Carrigan, has sole custody of the children.

“I’m just glad they’re back,” Carrigan said Monday night. “They seem pretty happy.”

Valerie McGrath

He says McGrath took the children Sunday to celebrate his son’s birthday.

“She still loves the kids,” Carrigan said. “I was praying that she wasn’t going to do anything to harm them.”

Police and family were not able to reach McGrath, and obtained a warrant for minor kidnapping by a relative.

“Due to the actions and statements made by McGrath in the last few weeks the Police Department has concerns for the safety of the children,” officials said in a statement Monday.

Carrigan was reunited with his children in Raynham and was surprised they were found so close to home.

“I think they’re both excited about going home and I am too,” Carrigan said.

McGrath is being held on $10,000 cash bail and will be arraigned Tuesday in Wareham District Court.

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Missing Children Being Treated As Parental Abduction

August 4, 2012

Source: Newrytimes

Two missing children have turned up safe and well.

Three-year-old Fernando and six-year-old Pinar Boyle went missing with their mother Elizabeth from the Co Down area on Thursday.

Police said they were found in the Republic of Ireland on Friday.

They are now being transferred back to Northern Ireland.

The PSNI thanked those who responded to an appeal for information on the family’s whereabouts.

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Kidnapping mum faces four years in prison

Published by The Local, 5 July 2011

An eight-year-old, kept hidden in the Dominican Republic from her Swedish father for four years, is back with her family in Sweden. 

“That feels good, but I still miss my mother a lot,” said the girl when questioned by the police.Her mother is now being charged for child abduction. The woman denies the crime, stating that she had good reasons for living there with her daughter for 3.5 years, according to newspaper Metro.
The girl has been in Sweden for a month now, living with her father, his new wife and her two baby sisters, according to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN). Her father hopes she will be able to see her mother in the future.The mother is currently jailed and waiting for trial. She faces up to four years in prison for abducting her daughter.

“My interpretation of the situation is that prison time is reasonable, and not in the lower end of the scale,” said prosecutor Hélène Dalhammar to DN.

Before being reunited with her father last month, the eight-year-old girl had not seen him since January 2007.

The parents were involved in a drawn-out custody case, in which the father wanted shared custody, but the mother demanded sole custody, claiming she was concerned there was a risk for sexual abuse.The court dismissed these claims and finally decided to grant the father sole custody, but the day before the court’s decision came into effect, the mother disappeared with her daughter.

The future remains uncertain as to whether the girl will be able to see both her parents without risk for another abduction.

“We can only hope the situation can be solved in time,” said Dalhammar to DN.

 TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Sharp rise in international parental kidnapping cases

By: Emily Babay

One year ago, Douglass Berg, of Reston, said goodbye to his son and daughter before they boarded a flight with his ex-wife on what was supposed to be a three-week visit to her native Japan. He has not seen the children since.

Stefanie Gardner, a native of Germany, traveled to that country with the two young sons she had been raising in Northern Virginia with her estranged husband, Gregory. Since then, she has refused to allow them to return. He accused her of kidnapping the boys, and a warrant for her arrest was issued in the United States. But a German court has awarded her sole custody.

For an increasing number of parents in the Washington area, child-bearing relationships with a foreign partner are deteriorating into charges of child abductions, and in many cases legal struggles in which the deck is stacked against Americans fighting the laws of another country.

Nationwide, the number of cases is rising dramatically. There were 1,135 international child abductions in fiscal 2009, according to State Department statistics. That’s nearly double the 642 cases reported in 2006.

Foreign travel, military operations and immigration have spurred an increase in international relationships, experts say. And an international city such as Washington, full of embassy personnel and staffers for global companies, is fertile ground for such abductions. But parents of different nationalities raising children together can lead to “cultural differences that people may not be willing to compromise on,” said Donna Linder, executive director of the nonprofit Child Find of America.

Berg told The Washington Examiner that his ex-wife “felt like I was invading her turf” by sharing custody of Gunnar, now age 10, and Kianna, 9, after their divorce. She thought child care was a mom’s responsibility.

“That may be her culture, but that’s certainly not mine,” he said.

Gardner’s attorneys say tensions grew between Gardner and her husband, and he consented to her taking the children to Germany in 2004.

German court documents show that, in 2005, she was awarded custody of Alec, now age 8, and Dominic, now 7. In 2006, a federal warrant was issued for Gardner’s arrest. Her attorneys are trying to get the charge dropped. One of them, Steven Gremminger, said they’ve given authorities information from German courts and the prosecutor “has indicated that she’s having the FBI review that.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria and the FBI declined to comment.

“There’s nothing easy” about international abduction cases, said Stefanie Eye, a State Department division chief for abductions. “You’re dealing with the laws of two or more sovereign nations.” Resolutions are often hard to find.

In 1994, the ex-husband of Catherine Meyer — who would later marry British ambassador Christopher Meyer — abducted her sons to Germany. While in D.C., Catherine Meyer became an advocate on parental abduction issues. Over nine years, she saw her children for just a few hours. The case was only resolved when the boys became adults and free to reunite with her.

That’s the moment Berg is waiting for, he said. He has created Web sites he hopes Gunnar and Kianna will find so “they realize that their father loves them very much and realize I was trying to get ahold of them.”

No one keeps statistics on how often criminal prosecutions are pursued in such cases. But even that doesn’t guarantee a child’s return. The FBI doesn’t have jurisdiction overseas, so it must rely on foreign authorities. Many cases reach an impasse, where children remain with the parent who has them. Often, no one can force an abducting parent to give up a child or return home, said Preston Findlay, a lawyer with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

For the parents on both sides, it’s a frustrating wait.

Gardner is “not a kidnapper, she’s a mom, and a good mom,” Gremminger said. And Berg said he continues to lose sleep wondering if he’ll see his children again. “It’s all you can think about,” he said.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Parental Abduction – The Philippines

Parental child abduction is not a crime under Philippine law.

Custody disputes are considered civil legal matters that must be resolved between the concerned parties or through the courts in the Philippines. Philippine authorities advise the American Embassy that generally the Philippine courts will give custody of children under the age of seven to the mother, provided there is no evidence that would indicate that the mother is unfit to raise the child. Although there is no treaty in force between the United States and the Philippines on enforcement of judgments, the Philippine courts will also take into consideration child custody decrees issued by foreign courts in deciding disputes regarding children residing in the Philippines.

General Information: The Philippines is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between the Philippines and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. Therefore, there is no treaty remedy by which the left behind parent would be able to pursue recovery of the child/ren should they be abducted to or wrongfully retained in the Philippines. Once in the Philippines, the child/ren would be completely subject to Philippine law for all matters including custody.

Child Abduction Recovery Services

Note: If your child is abducted to The Philippines, you will have very small chances to win the legal dispute there. The Philippines never returns abducted children. The only way is to re-kidnap the child or to make a deal with your ex spouse. It`s all about money in The Philippines.


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Six warning signs of possible child abduction

The incidence of international child abductions is greater than official figures reveal.

Some of the warning signs of impending abduction include:

  1. The other parent is planning a trip out of the country with your child;
  2. Your ex-spouse is coming from overseas, and you are worried they plan to abduct your child;
  3. Your ex-spouse wants you to co-sign your child’s passport without good reason;
  4. Your  child is a citizen of a country which allows one parent alone to apply for the child’s passport and you have a fear of child abduction;
  5. The other parent has a home, a family or other connections overseas and you are concerned that there is no reason for them to stay in your country;
  6. The other parent has no substantial property or employment in your country, and nothing keeping them here.

In addition, you should obtain urgent legal advice if:

  1. The other parent has already left the country with your child;
  2. You are not sure if they plan to return or if you believe they will not return;
  3. There is a link to overseas family or property;
  4. There is no other significant link to your country.

If any of the above applies to you, you should make an urgent appointment to see a family lawyer for further advice specific to your situation.

How to search for an abducted child

What steps can you take if you want to know the location of a child who you believe has been abducted? Under the Family Law Act, certain people can apply for a location order in relation to a child. A location order is an order made by a court that requires a person to provide information about a child’s location to the court.

The following people can apply for a location order: (Australia)

  • a person who a child is to live with in accordance with a parenting order;
  • a person who a child is to spend time with in accordance with a parenting order;
  • a person who a child is to communicate with under a parenting order;
  • a person who has parental responsibility for a child under a parenting order;
  • a grandparent of a child;
  • any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of a child;
  • For the purposes of the Child Protection Convention, a person (including the Commonwealth Central Authority) may apply to a court for a location order.

If you suspect a child is about to be abducted and taken out of the country you need to act quickly.

Source: Armstrong Legal


Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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