Police seek Holland-area mother, Wendi Carpenter, on parental kidnapping charge


By Staff reports
Holland police are looking for a local woman they say left the state with her two children after she failed to show up on Tuesday for a scheduled transfer of the children to their father.
Wendi Carpenter had the two young children for visitation during the summer but had to transfer the children to their father because of a court order, according to a news release from Holland police. After she didn’t show up to the Holland Department of Public Safety for the transfer, police started an investigation.Based on that investigation, police now believe Carpenter has fled the state with the two children, Luke Carpenter and Cambria Carpenter. Wendi Carpenter is wanted on a warrant for custodial interference authorized by the Ottawa County Prosecutor.She is listed as a practicing psychologist with two different nonprofit counseling groups, Healing Waters and Lakeshore Pure Freedom, both in Zeeland. Police did not release the father’s name.

The mother and children were last known to be in Holland, in the 300 block of Pine Avenue,  around 8 a.m. on Tuesday, police said. The mother and children left in her vehicle, a 2006 Toyota Highlander, police said, but that vehicle has since been located in western Missouri. They might have left that area in a dark-colored SUV.

The Holland Department of Public Safety is asking anyone with information as to the possible location of the mother or children to call the Holland Department of Public Safety Detective Bureau at (616) 355-1150 or Silent Observer at (888) 88-SILENT.

Published by: ABP World Group  Executive Protection
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INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL ABDUCTIONS A GROWING PROBLEM


Source:Weinman & Associates

Of the 1,500 children who were victims of international parental abductions in 2010, less than 600 were recovered and brought back to the United States. The State Department estimates one-third of those children were taken to Mexico by way of border states like Texas.

The government reports a startling number of children abducted by their parents in the last decade – nearly 7,000 between 2000 and 2009. Many of the children are taken during scheduled non-custodial parent visitations and whisked away to a foreign-born parent’s native homeland.

On September 1, Texas will enact a new law making child abductions a state felony, but lawmakers and watchdog groups say it is still too easy for absconding parents with children to get away. Border officials have no nationwide child custody database and airlines are too time-crunched to check passengers carefully.

One former criminal prosecutor and judge said if a child is not intercepted before leaving the country, the chances for the child’s return to the U.S. become slim.

Mexico is one of more than 70 countries that have agreed to abide by Hague Convention’s child abduction rules, insisting that children who are illegally relocated out of a country be returned to their homes. However, legal professionals say international courts get bogged down or distracted by internal conflicts, like the drug war in Mexico, and put child custody matters aside.

Parents caught running with children to a foreign land in violation of custody rules can be imprisoned for three years. Congressional leaders have introduced the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, which could potentially threaten various forms of U.S. assistance to countries that have poor records of helping to retrieve abducted children. Hopefully the government will be able to come up with an effective way to locate and return abducted children to the United States.

We can bring them home

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What happens if your ex abducts your child?


By STEWART M. POWELL HOUSTON CHRONICLE  – July 4, 2011, 7:19AM

International parental abductions are on the rise, and many of the children never return

WASHINGTON — For nine gut-wrenching years, Texan Greg Allen has been trying to track down his daughter after her mother absconded to Mexico with the 4-year-old during a rare unsupervised visit after the couple’s contentious divorce.

“When it first happened, I was unable to function,” recalls Allen, 42, an electrical engineer and sonar expert doing doctoral research at the University of Texas’ applied research laboratories in Austin. “I went from being a single parent whose whole life revolved around raising my daughter to being a left-behind parent whose purpose in life was gone.”

Last year, at least 1,500 children were unlawfully taken to foreign countries by a parent who had been living in the United States, including children who were taken even while a parent was serving in the U.S. armed forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. Only 578 abducted children were returned to the United States.

Many of the children – roughly one-third – ended up in Mexico because of the parent’s ties to extended family or Mexico’s proximity.

International parental abductions are “sharply on the rise,” cautions the State Department’s top official on the issue, Ambassador Susan Jacobs. “When an international border is involved, an already tragic situation for the children and left-behind parents is infinitely compounded.”

Congress’ investigative Government Accountability Office has documented at least 6,966 cases of international parental abduction over the decade ending in 2009, most by foreign-born parents returning to their country of birth.

Yet, as Allen learned only too late, chronic ambiguities routinely enable parents to abduct their children and get away with it. Local police rarely take missing child reports arising from custody disputes. Customs and Border Protection agents do not check departing parents or children at airports or border crossings. Fully half of left-behind parents surveyed by the American Bar Association, for example, said ex-partners abducted their children during routine court-approved visits.

No national database

Federal authorities do not maintain a national database of child custody orders from local courts that might help suspicious immigration officers determine the status of a departing child.

Even if the paperwork were available, international airlines routinely have no more than 30 minutes to match a passenger manifest against a missing child report or a court order barring departure.

Abducting parents can face up to three years in prison for taking their child to a foreign country “with the intent to obstruct a parent’s custodial rights.”

A Texas law taking effect Sept. 1 makes the abduction a state felony, as well.

“The reality is, once an abducting parent gets a kid to the departure gate, they’re gone,” says Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, a former criminal court judge and prosecutor who has been working for more than five years to help Houston resident Marty Pate recover his daughter Nicole from Brazil. “Once a child leaves the United States, it’s very, very difficult to get them back.”

Allen miraculously spied his daughter Sabrina in Mexico City in 2003 and subsequently visited her school to talk with her teacher. But the girl and her mother, Dara Marie Llorens, fled and have not been seen since.

Even in the 71 nations such as Mexico that have signed the 1980 Hague Convention on child abduction, local court proceedings can drag on. The accord is designed to speed repatriation of abducted children under the age of 16 to their “country of habitual residence” to resume court-ordered child custody arrangements.

But court proceedings often get sidetracked, particularly in Mexican states engulfed by the drug wars such as San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas.

“We have judges who are afraid to do anything,” says attorney Pamela Brown of Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid in Weslaco, who handles about 20 international child abduction cases a year to and from Mexico. “Judges are terrified that the taking parent might have ties to the cartels so they won’t step in.”

Adds Allen: “With a civil war going on down there, child abduction is just not a high priority.”

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/7638140.html#ixzz1R96U7CM5

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Dads warned to look out for signs of parental child abduction


30 JUNE 2011 – Fatherhoodinstitute.org

Dads are being advised on how to prevent their children’s mothers abducting them and taking them abroad.

According to a new Government campaign,  every other day a British child is abducted by a parent to a country which has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention on international parental child abduction*.

The latest figures represent a ten per cent increase in new cases handled by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2010/2011 and have been released to mark the launch of the FCO’s child abduction prevention campaign.

Evidence shows that many cases occur around school holidays when a parent refuses to return a child following a visit to the parent’s home country. In most cases these abductions are perpetrated by mothers.

Last year the FCO handled cases in 97 ‘non Hague’ countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. These are countries which have not signed up to the 1980 Hague convention on international parental child abduction and with whom negotiating the return of children to the UK can be extremely complex as there are no international agreements on returning children.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Jeremy Browne said the campaign will help people become more aware of what they could do if they think their child may be at risk.

“We are very concerned that we continue to see an increase in the number of cases of international parental child abduction. The latest figures suggest the problem affects people from all walks of life and not just certain types of families or particular countries. Finding a solution can be especially difficult if a child has been taken to a non-Hague country as there are no international systems in place to help you. This is why prevention is so important. The FCO will do whatever we can to provide advice and support but our role is limited, not least because we cannot interfere in the laws of another country.”

Sharon Cooke, Advice Line Manager for Reunite International Child Abduction Centre, welcomed the latest advice and said while sometimes there were no warning signs, there are things people could look for which may indicate their child was at risk.

“The most obvious warning sign is a break down in a relationship but other signs may include a sudden interest in getting a passport or copy birth certificate for the child; a parent expressing a wish to holiday alone with the child; a change in circumstances such as leaving employment or redundancy, selling a house or giving up tenancy. There may also be a sudden change in contact arrangements or constant difficulty in being able to see the child,” she said.

“For many people the issue of parental child abduction is something with which they may not have had direct personal contact. There’s often a perception – fuelled by a number of high profile cases – that it’s about fathers abducting their children, however statistics show it is mainly mothers – either intentionally or unintentionally.

Sharon says, “The latest figures show just how widespread this problem has become. Our statistics for January to May 2011 show a 21% increase in the number of abductions to non-Hague States states compared to the same period last year. We have also seen a 21% per cent increase in the number of parents requesting advice on prevention of abduction. This demonstrates there is a need for information on preventative steps that a parent can take and it is essential that we continue to raise awareness of parental child abduction, after all it could happen to anyone.”

“The psychological impact on children can be traumatic and for the left-behind parent, the shock and loss are unbearable, particularly if they don’t know where their child is. Even after they have been found, the fear and pain of not knowing if they will return home is unimaginable.”

“If you are worried your child might be at risk, or if your child has been abducted you can call the Child Abduction Section at the Foreign Office on 0207 008 0878 or http://www.fco.gov.uk or reunite on 0116 2556 234.

*”The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multi-lateral international treaty the aim of which is the return of a child who has been wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained away from the country where he or she normally lives, so that issues of residence (which parent a child should live with), relocation (which country a child should live in) and contact (access) can be decided by the courts of that country. “All cases that come under the Hague Convention are dealt with by one of the three Central Authorities in the UK (the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit covers England and Wales and there are two separate bodies for Scotland and Northern Ireland). To find out which countries are part of this Convention, visit http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.status&cid=24

**Top 5 non-Hague countries with the largest number of new parental child abductions in 2010/11

Country 2009/2010 2010/2011

All non-Hague countries 146 161

Pakistan 24 21

Thailand 13 13

India 14 9

Algeria 0 9

Malaysia 6 7

Further information on parental child abduction can be found at: www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/when-things-go-wrong/child-abduction.

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International Child Abduction / Parental Kidnapping – Recovery Services


International Child Abduction is tragically a global epidemic.

Leading experts believe that due to the rapid growth in multi-national marriages and relationships, the number of children born from parents of different countries will continue to expand. Similar to all relationships, a significant portion of these marriages or partnerships will end in divorce. All too often, one of the separating parents of the child of the relationship will seek to abduct the child to a country other than where the child has lived.

This is called ‘International Parental Child Abduction’, and though there are various civil remedies available to targeted parents who have had their child abducted, the challenges they face are grave, and include first and foremost, locating where the child is located. Unfortunately for the majority of targeted parents, the financial burden for recovery and litigation falls on their shoulders. With tens of thousands of children parentally abducted each year, the reality is too many of these children never come home. ABP World Group is dedicated to assisting parents in need of assistance in locating, rescuing, and safely bringing home your abducted child.

Our intelligence and investigation abilities combined with our ability to dispatch personnel to most locations in the world offer a safe and strategic solution to protecting your most important asset: your child.

Areas of expertise:

Parental abduction

Missing children

Kidnappings

Counter Kidnapping

Anti Kidnapping

Runaway children

Reunification Counseling

Unfortunately in this day and time parental kidnapping happens and we are here to help you trough this difficult period. We are aware parental child abduction can be difficult to resolve, but we use professional operatives with the skills and expertise to help find a resolution.

One key to ABP World Group’s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary 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

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Abducted Children – We can bring them back


Time is a very important factor if a child is missing. Immediate access to current information about the missing child is critical. Although nobody hopes to be in such a situation where this information is needed, parents have to keep in mind that child abduction can occur anytime, anywhere, to any child. Therefore, parents must have the resources and knowledge about their children ready, so they can take action if their children become missing.

The goal of ABP World Group international child recovery services 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.

Areas of expertise: Parental abduction, Missing children, Kidnappings,
Runaway children and Counselling.

Unfortunately in this day and time parental kidnapping happens and we are here to help you trough this difficult time.
We are aware parental child abduction can be difficult to resolve, but we use professional operatives with the skills and expertise to help find a resolution.

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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ITALY – Italian Child Abduction Alert System (ICAAS)


Source: formez.eu

The project aims at realizing a “quick alert” system in the case of child abduction.
 
Actions:

  • Definition of the protocol to ensure that once the case of child abduction has been communicated to the police, the alert mechanism is promptly launched through a study of the procedures already in force in other EU countries, the analysis of the resources available to all Bodies involved and the evaluation of their competences.
  • Definition of a central authority at national level with the clear responsibility for directing and coordinating available techniques and human resources.
  • Management of a joint web portal including two main areas: a public area for memorizing the alarm information and an area limited to the bodies responsible for starting up the procedure on transmission via radio (TV / Radio / mobile telephone companies and others).
  • Coordination between all security forces and the competent authorities, the national network of the Public Administration, civil society and NGOs.
  • Judicial and security system which deals with child disappearance.
  • Definition of the Protocol and Bodies involved in the alert procedures.
  • Memoranda with media and Bodies involved in the communication phase.
  • Realization of the portal.
On 8 March 2011 in Rome the ceremony to undersign the Agreement as regards the establishment of an Italian “Child Abduction Alert” system will take place, which shall allow for the utmost diffusion, among the population, of the information useful for localizing abducted children in the very short term.
The event will open with the welcome address by the Vice Director General for Public Security – Central Head of the Criminal Police, Prefect Francesco Cirillo, and will continue with the presentation of the project by the Head of the Service for Police Force International Cooperation, Gen. B. Guardia di Finanza, Francesco Lisi. The event will be closed with a press conference to be held after the undersigning of the Agreement.
The Project funded by the European Commission, has been the result of a profitable partnership between Police Forces, institutions and private bodies, of which the Central Direction of the Italian Criminal Police has been the leading structure.

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Law Firms Sued For Aiding Parental Abduction


Source: Lawdiva`s Blog

Two New Jersey law firms are fighting lawsuits brought by Peter Innes, the father of Victoria Innes who was abducted by her mother Marie Carrascosa and spirited off to Spain in 2005.

Innes and Carrascosa were married in 1999 in Spain but lived in the US. Victoria was born in 2000 and the marriage ended in 2004. Victoria held dual Spanish/American citizenship.

Ms. Carrascosa, a Spanish national and a lawyer in Spain, ignored the parties’ parenting agreement that Victoria remain in the US and brought Victoria to her maternal grandparents in Spain. Ms. Carrascosa later returned to New Jersey. Mr. Innes then obtained a court order from a New Jersey judge who ordered her to return the abducted child to New Jersey. Mr. Innes was also granted custody of Victoria by the US court.

Ms. Carrascosa went into hiding for a time but eventually was tried for contempt of a court order and interfering with custody and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Yes, you read that right! In British Columbia abducting parents get a mild slap on the wrist. I can only remember a small handful of cases where any incarceration was ordered, which can only speak to the degree of seriousness our courts ascribe to this heinous offence.

Meanwhile, back in Spain, the Spanish court awarded Ms. Carrascosa custody of her daughter and refused to order Victoria’s return to America. Judges from Spain and New Jersey met at the Hague Court in Holland to try to resolve this now high-profile international dispute, but to no avail.

So why have the lawyers been sued? Ms. Carrascosa’s first lawyer was ordered by the court to hold Victoria’s passport to impede her ability to travel with her mother. When Ms. Carrascosa discharged her first lawyer, she couriered the passport to the new lawyer, who apparently had no idea that the passport was not to be given to her client.

Mr. Innes determined that when his wife absconded with their daughter, they left using Victoria’s passport.

The lawyers are, of course, blaming each other for the debacle and a trial is scheduled for 2010.

I can understand why Peter Innes is taking these actions against his wife’s lawyers. If Ms. Carrascosa travelled with her daughter’s passport in hand, someone has to be held accountable. In my experience, the only way Mr. Innes will see his child again is if Ms. Carrascosa finds jail unpleasant enough.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Abducted to Poland


THEIR marriage had become marred by arguments, but when his wife wanted to travel overseas after her grandmother died, Dimitrios Laskos did not object.

Neither did he oppose her taking their 11-month-old son Panagiotis to her native Poland for a few weeks. But when she did not return for his first birthday, Mr Laskos became concerned. Two years later, he is still waiting.

This week, a Polish court is to decide whether Panagiotis, an Australian citizen, should be returned to Sydney.

Since he was taken by his mother, Panagiotis has been renamed Piotr and been baptised a Catholic even though the couple had agreed on a Greek-Orthodox baptism. Mr Laskos has only seen him for a few minutes. ”For Greeks always the first son of the family is very important,” he explains.

Imagine the outrage, says Mr Laskos, if a Greek or Lebanese father abducted his child and changed his name and religion. ”Always the fathers are the victims. They give too much power to the woman in this country. Why don’t they make [it] a crime, this situation?”

Under the Hague Convention on child abduction, which Australia and Poland have signed, the removal of a child is wrong if it breaches custody orders or parenting was exercised jointly. But it is no crime in Australia to remove your child where no orders exist.

When the convention was drawn up in 1980, 70 per cent of child abductions were committed by fathers, said Waldemar Drexler, the lawyer for Mr Laskos’s wife, Malgorzata Muchowska.

Now 87 per cent of abducted children are taken by mothers, says the federal Attorney-General’s Department, which helps parents enforce the convention. A spokesman said there was no plan to make child abduction a crime.

In the first 11 months of this year 88 children were abducted from Australia, and 77 were taken from their usual residence to Australia.

Mr Drexler, who thinks the convention is outdated, says: ”The mothers are taking the children overseas to the country where they lived before. We can’t say the child suffers harm because the child is more in touch with the mother who spends much more time with the child.”

The battle over Panagiotis has been nasty with both sides accusing each other of lying to the Polish court. Mr Laskos says his wife made false accusations that he had mistreated her. He says his only criminal record is for driving matters.

Mr Drexler says Mr Laskos has lied in court about owning a property, and has been forced to admit it belonged to his aunt. ”My client says the child’s father does not have any resources to support the child,” he said. ”It’s not fair for her to take a child from a good environment … the family [in Poland] is well-to-do … then to bring him back to Australia where everything is foreign to him, language, culture, father. He won’t recognise anything.”

But a family centre in Catholic Poland concluded after a psychological assessment: ”A solution favourable for the child would be the mother’s return with him to Australia.”

Mr Laskos says he would financially support his wife and child if they returned. Then they could sort out divorce and custody arrangements ”here in Australia where we started our lives together”.

”Slowly, slowly I want him to get to know me. After six to seven years I will take him full time. He does not know English. He does not know Greek,” Mr Laskos says.

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‘A very disturbing trend’: Parents kidnap their children, flee country


Washington (CNN) — More children are being abducted by a parent who then takes them out of the country, and more needs to be done to bring the children back to their legal homes, the U.S. official who oversees the issue said Wednesday.

The number of such abductions reported is “sharply on the rise — a very disturbing trend,” said Susan Jacobs, the special advisor for children’s issues at the State Department.

Jacobs also said her department is one of the fastest growing offices at the State Department because of the increasing rate of international abductions involving children with American parents.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited children said that in 2010 there were nearly 2,000 parental abductions in which the child was taken out of the United States.

“International parental abduction is a federal crime with long-term, damaging consequences for both parents and children, even when the cases are resolved,” Jacobs said. “Parents seeking the return of their children or permission to visit them confront unfamiliar legal, cultural, and linguistic barriers; they suffer emotional trauma, and they face significant and long-term financial costs.”

The United States is encouraging other countries to sign onto The Hague Convention on international child abductions, a treaty signed by more than 60 countries that provides a civil mechanism to return children wrongfully removed from the country where they live.

Jacobs said decisions under the convention are commonly based on where the child usually resides. When properly implemented, “the convention works,” she said.

The issue grabbed headlines a few years ago with the case of Sean Goldman, whose American father, David, was engaged in an international custody battle after the boy’s Brazilian mother refused to let the child return to his father following a vacation in Brazil. The boy was eventually returned to his father after a ruling by the Brazilian supreme court.

Jacobs, incidentally, met with Brazilian authorities last week to discuss ways to speed up the reunification of children with their families. From their discussions, Jacobs said, Brazil and the United States are to hold the first meeting of a children’s working group later this year.

Jacobs and others traveled to the Department of Justice Wednesday afternoon for an observance of National Missing Children’s Day to honor the work of those in law enforcement who recover missing children and combat child exploitation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has weighed in on the issue as well. In videotaped remarks to mark the day, Clinton asked for to people to continue to speak out on the issue to “help children around the world come home.”

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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