Kidnappings in Mexico: 11 kidnapped in daylight from Mexico City bar


May 31, 2013

Source: nbcnews

MEXICO CITY — Eleven young people were brazenly kidnapped in broad daylight from a bar in Mexico City’s Zona Rosa, a normally calm district of offices, restaurants, drinking spots and dance clubs, anguished relatives said Thursday.

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The apparent mass abduction purportedly happened sometime between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday just off the Paseo de la Reforma, the city’s main boulevard, near the Angel of Independence monument and less than two blocks from the U.S. Embassy.

The incident was the second recent high-publicity blemish for the city’s largely unregulated entertainment scene, coming 20 days after the grandson of American civil rights activist Malcolm X was beaten to death at another tough bar in the downtown area.

Calling for authorities to find their loved ones, family members marched Thursday morning from the Interior Department building to the Zocalo, the city’s main square. Later they protested outside the bar, which bears a sign that reads Bicentenario Restaurante-Bar, and demanded to see the bar’s surveillance video.

“How could so many people have disappeared, just like that, in broad daylight?” asked Josefina Garcia, mother of Said Sanchez Garcia, 19, her only son. “The police say they don’t have them, so what, the earth just opened up and swallowed them?”

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She said her son wasn’t involved in any criminal activity, and worked at a market stall selling beauty products.

City prosecutors said they had received 11 missing-person reports, but Garcia said residents of the tough downtown neighborhood of Tepito where the victims live thought as many as 15 or 16 people could have been abducted.

The known missing include six men, most in their 20s, a 16-year-old boy and four young women.

While no clear motives had been revealed in the attack, residents of Tepito said there has been a wave of abductions of neighborhood young people in recent months that could be related to organized crime activities. Tepito is the center of black market activities in the city, where guns, drugs, stolen goods and contraband are widely sold.

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Mass abductions have been rare in Mexico City, but are common in parts of the country where drug cartels operate and are fighting with rival gangs over territory.

Prosecutors slapped closure stickers on the front doors of the Mexico City bar Thursday, with inscriptions saying the city’s anti-kidnapping unit was investigating abductions at the site.

Late Thursday night, dozens of members of a special police intervention unit, many carrying automatic weapons and wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, blocked off the street in front of the bar and searched inside. Officers would not comment on what they were looking for.

Isabel Fonseca, whose brother is among those missing, said a man who escaped told her that masked men arrived in several white SUVs and took the group away. She said her brother, Eulogio Fonseca, is a street vendor who sells cellphone accessories.

“We want them alive,” Fonseca said. “They went out to have fun; they are not criminals.”

Mexico City’s chief prosecutor, Rodolfo Rios, said investigators had been able to glean little information on the disappearances.

Relatives believe the youths were at the club, which they know as “Heaven,” around midmorning Sunday, when waiters and bar employees herded them out to the street and armed men bundled them into waiting vehicles and spirited them away.

Rios said police had not located any employees of the bar and no other witnesses had presented themselves.

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For the CAC course (Conduct after Capture) contact ABP World Group. The objective of this course is to better prepare civilians for a kidnap/hostage situation and improve their chances of getting home alive.

 

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International child abduction to Mexico


Mexico is amongst the world’s most popular sources and destinations for international child abduction while also being widely regarded as having one of the least effective systems of protecting and returning internationally abducted children within its borders.

To help protect abducted children Mexico signed on to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in 1991,[1] and the Inter-American Convention on the International Return of Children

Since adhering to the Hague Abduction Convention, the world’s most recognized and utilized instrument for addressing international child abduction, Mexico has been repeatedly criticized for enjoying the benefit of having its treaty partners protect Mexico’s own internationally abducted children, while being consistently non-compliant in fulfilling its reciprocal obligations to protect and return children abducted to Mexico. To date its procedures for enforcing its treaty obligations are unpredictable and entirely ineffective. The Centre for International Family Law Studies in Cardiff, Wales compared seven jurisdictions, including Mexico. The conclusion was that Mexico was by far the worst offender in its failure to return abducted children.

Merely because a country is a party to the Hague Convention does not mean that it will effectively enforce its treaty obligations. For example, the U.S. State Department has asserted that Mexico is “non-compliant” with the terms of the Convention. U.S State Department Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 2004. Mexico’s noncompliance results from the following problems:

  • Mexico has not enacted any legislation to implement the Hague Convention, which has not been integrated into the Mexican legal system.
  • The Mexican Central Authority has no law enforcement powers and Mexican law enforcement agencies make no serious efforts to locate parentally abducted children.
  • The burden of finding an abducted child in Mexico is left entirely to the left-behind parent. Mexican authorities provide no effective help and if the child cannot be located, nothing happens.
  • There is an apparent lack of understanding of the Convention among the judiciary in Mexico.
  • The Mexican Central Authority does not have adequate resources to perform its functions under the Convention.
  • The “amparo” (a special appeal in Mexico claiming a violation of constitutional rights) is used by taking parents to block Hague proceedings indefinitely.
  • Mexican courts are able to reconsider the facts of a Hague at any stage of the proceeding, which allows proceedings to be prolonged substantially.

Accordingly, custody orders concerning parents with strong ties to Mexico must be drafted so as to minimize the risk that the child will be taken to that country. It would be reckless to permit a Mexican parent who has expressed a desire to move to Mexico, and who has strong family or business ties to Mexico, to take a child into that country for a visit, regardless of the conditions that may be imposed to encourage the parent to bring the child back to this country.

The State Department’s 2004 report establishes that similar concerns exist with respect to Austria, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mauritius, Turkey and Romania and, to a somewhat lesser extent, several other countries.

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Parental Abduction – When Parents Kidnap Their Own


By: Carma Haley 

An estimated 355,000 children are abducted from their homes each year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). These children can go days, weeks, months or even years with no contact from anyone except their abductor. And many of these children are not taken by strangers: They are abducted by their own parents.

There are some who claim kidnapping their own children is the only option they have, but what about the other parent — and what about the child?



Mark Samrodan, spokesman for NCMEC, says parental kidnapping is the practice of a noncustodial parent taking a child from the custodial parent from one state to another without court permission or in violation of court orders obtained through a divorce or custody hearing. The practice of parental kidnapping is forbidden by both federal and state laws in the absence of a provable emergency situation and can result in the noncustodial parent being charged with felony kidnapping. But often this threat does not stop parental kidnapping from occurring.

Who Kidnaps?

Research completed by the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrown-away Children (NISMART), which was founded by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, states there are many reasons parents may resort to abducting their children. These reasons include using a child as a “pawn” in contentious divorce proceedings, as an extension of battering, to control their spouse or ex-spouse by depriving them of custody or visitation of the child, or to protect the child from abuse. 

“My husband and I obtained legal custody of our granddaughter when it was determined that her mom was unable to take care of her,” says Shirley Sunderland, from Altoona, Pa. “When the baby was 3 months old I was working at the local hospital and often had difficulty finding a sitter for the evening shift. [My daughter] offered to take care of her for that one night. When I got home, the baby was gone and so were some of her belongings. I got a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach and then realized that the baby had been kidnapped by her own mother.”

The Missing Children’s Registry of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada has developed an overall profile of parental abductions. The profile was constructed to assist those whose child has been abducted by a parent and includes facts such as:

  • Either parent, mother or father, will abduct his or her own child.
  • Mothers tend to abduct children after a court order is completed while fathers do so before the court order.
  • Mothers who abduct their children will keep the children for a longer period of time then fathers who abduct.
  • The “average” age range for parents who abduct their child is 28 to 40 years of age.
  • The fathers who abduct their children are likely to have employment while the mothers who abduct are more likely to be unemployed.
  • The majority of children who are abducted by their own parent but kept within the United States are between 3 and 7 years of age, but children who are taken out of the country tend to be 8 years of age or older.
  • Both male and female children are abducted equally.
  • The majority of children abducted by their own parent are done so from the home and not from areas such as a babysitters, daycare or schoolyard.
  • The abductor, both mother and father, typically makes contact within 48 hours of abducting the child to inform the searcing parent of the child’s well being.
The Other Side of the Coin

The typical reasons are not the only reasons a parent may feel they have no alternative but to kidnap their own child. Many believe the justification of parental abduction go beyond any of the reasons listed above as well as beyond the courtroom.”Dispelling typical myths that parents who kidnap their own child are doing so to get even with society and/or hurt their ex-spouse has proven quite difficult,” says Bonnie Russell, advocate for parental abduction prevention and former victim of a parental kidnapping from Solana Beach, Calif. “While some cases of parental abduction are due to this, it is more the exception then the rule. Other reasons include abuse, neglect, endangerment, unjust hearings or simple injustices. Until the underlying reason parents resort to kidnapping is addressed, no one will understand the subject.”

Some parents feel they have been treated inappropriately before, during or after a custody battle and this treatment played a role in losing custody of their children. For some of these parents, taking their child was their only option.

“My husband physically abused me for years,” says Carolyn Hawkins, a mother of two originally from Medina, Ohio. “And even though I reported him to the police numerous times, had a medical record as thick as a dictionay and had left him twice before, he was awarded custody of my children because he had more money and could hire a lawyer where mine was court appointed. The abuse I suffered led me into a depression and that was used against me in court. What else could I do but get my kids away from him?”

Alternatives to Kidnapping

Many services are available to help in the event of a situation that may be dangerous or harmful to a child. Social service departments, health departments and area chapters of Child Abuse Prevention agencies or even a school counselor can all help a parent who fears for their child’s welfare and safety.

In the event of a disputed divorce or custody order, a parent can move up the chain of command to find assistance or to have additional evidence heard, Samrodan says. If a parent is not in a financial situation to afford an attorney, local chapters of Legal Aid or free legal assistance can be found through social service offices.

“There is always something else that should be tried or attempted before a parent resorts to kidnapping their child,” says Samrodan. “Whether a local, state or federal organization, if a parent truly feels they need assistance, then they can and will find it — all they need to do is ask.”

If a parent suspects the noncustodial parent may abduct their child, they should file an order with the court to investigate a possible parental kidnapping which can assist them in getting a visitation order held until the threat has passed. In the event of a continued threat or possible attempts to abduct the child, the custodial parent should file an order with the court to have the noncustodial parent’s visitation revised to prevent an abduction from taking place, Samrodan says.

“It only takes a few minutes and a little bit of effort to et help when a parent fears their child may or will be abducted by their noncustodial parent,” says Samrodan. “If they need assistance, anyone at the courthouse would be happy to help — again, all that needs to be done is to ask.”

The Effects on the Child

Recent research conducted by NISMART states children endure adverse consequences from being abducted. Besides emotional turmoil, children may suffer from inadequate schooling, poor nutrition, unstable lifestyles and neglect. Some are abandoned, only to be discovered living in foster homes. In the most egregious cases, children suffer long-term harm that may leave them scarred for life. The belief that a child is safe with a parent lessens the chance of aggressive investigation by law enforcement, NISMART states. Yet one study reported 49 percent of abductors have previously established criminal histories and 75 percent of abducting fathers have a history of violent behavior.

After the child is located, researchers suggest that the police encourage both the parent and the child to receive a psychological and physical evaluation.

While Samrodan says parents may feel there is no other alternative, parental kidnapping only adds to the problems. He says parents can often avoid the situation if they are willing to work together and through the courts to find what the best schedule or routine that offers the child time with both parents.

“The system is not perfect and may not always offer the perfect solution the first time around,” says Samrodan. “But taking a child away from what they know as home; what they know as friends; and what they know as stability can and will only add to the hurt and trauma of all those involved. There are other ways and there are people to help you find them. Think before you take your child.”

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