Queensland mother Dorothy Lee Barnett to be extradited to US for alleged child abduction


September 4 , 2014

Source: Brisbanetimes

A mother accused of abducting her infant daughter 20 years ago will be extradited to the United States.

The federal government has ordered Dorothy Lee Barnett, 53, be surrendered to US authorities to face international parental kidnapping charges, despite an appeal from her lawyers.

Ms Barnett was arrested on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast last year and charged with kidnapping her 10-month-old daughter, Savannah Todd, in 1994 and fleeing the US.

A digitally aged photo of Dorothy Lee Barnett released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children during the search for the alleged kidnapper.

A digitally aged photo of Dorothy Lee Barnett released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children during the search for the alleged kidnapper. Photo: Supplied

In November 2013 Australian and US police found Ms Barnett and her daughter, who now goes by the name of ­Samantha Geldenhuys, living in the suburb of Mountain Creek, west of Mooloolaba.

When arrested, Ms Barnett consented to extradition but then reneged.

Her lawyers asked the federal government to prevent the extradition, but federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan ordered this week that Ms Barnett be surrendered.

Savannah Harris Todd was taken when she was 11 months old.
Savannah Harris Todd was discovered at the age of 20 living in Australia.

Savannah Harris Todd was discovered at the age of 20 living in Australia

“The minister arrived at his determination following careful consideration of the provisions of Australia’s extradition law and taking into account representations made by, and on behalf of, Ms Barnett,” a government spokeswoman said in a statement to Fairfax Media.

According to US authorities, Samantha’s American father, millionaire stockbroker Benjamin Harris Todd III, had been granted sole custody of the then-10-month-old.

It is alleged Ms Barnett left for a birthday party with her infant daughter in South Carolina and never returned.

Mr Todd has spent the last two decades searching for his daughter, making public appeals for information on her whereabouts and circulating age-progressed photos of Samantha and her mother on international missing persons websites.

Ms Barnett is alleged to have fled to Europe on a false passport, changing her name to Alexandra Canton.

In 1995, she married a man named Juan Geldenhuys in South Africa with whom she had a son.

The family moved to New Zealand, before settling in Australia in 2007.

Mr Geldenhuys returned to South Africa about five years ago and is believed to have died from bone cancer in October, just weeks before his former wife’s arrest.

Samantha attended the local high school on the Sunshine Coast and, after graduating, moved to Townsville to study nursing at James Cook University, where she found a boyfriend in an engineering student.

Ms Barnett faces more than a decade in a US prison if convicted of international parental kidnapping and passport-related offences.

She has remained in custody since her arrest last year, but has regular visits from her daughter and son.

US authorities have two months in which to escort Ms Barnett to the US, subject to any application for a review of Mr Keenan’s order.

 

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U.S. Court Refuses to Enforce Hague Convention


Source: Fathersandfamilies

April 1st, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

A New Zealand father has returned to the United States in a desperate effort to be reunited with his children who were abducted to the San Francisco Bay Area by his American wife. 

The abduction occurred three years ago, but, despite the fact that both the United States and New Zealand are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Cossey has been unsuccessful in getting more than supervised visitation with his children.  Read about it here (New Zealand Herald, 3/31/12).

Cossey and his wife met in the United States when he was here working.  They married, had two sons and eventually moved to New Zealand where they lived a comfortable life.  He worked; she was a stay-at-home mother.  But one day the couple had an argument that Cossey characterizes as very minor.  The next day he received a call at work.  It was his wife telling him she was leaving and taking the children.

She did just that, fleeing to Auckland and catching a plane to the U.S. that very night.

Cossey filed the appropriate claim in New Zealand requesting the return of his children, but nothing happened.  Officials in neither country managed to enforce the provisions of the convention to which both countries were parties.

Eventually, at wits end, Cossey returned to the United States just so he could have some contact with his children.  Apparently he still had a visa allowing him to work, so he’s done that while trying to assert his parental rights in family court.

“Thankfully I am able to legally reside in the US permanently, otherwise I would have lost all contact with my children by now,” he says.

It hasn’t been easy.  So far he gets the one-size-fits-all custody arrangement – i.e. she has custody, he has visitation two days out of two weeks, except he can’t see his kids without supervision.  Why?  You know the answer without my telling you.

His estranged wife has also filed charges of domestic violence and sexual molestation of the boys against him – allegations he calls “ridiculous”. His wife did not return calls from APNZ.

Simple as that.  The Hague Convention requires signatory countries to return children within 60 days of the filing of a complaint.  I’ve complained many times about the behavior of, for example Mexico, due to its frank refusal to comply with the Convention it signed.  But here’s a case in which the United States is doing the same thing.

Of course it is.  In this country, mere allegations of child abuse or domestic violence are sufficient to take a father out of his child’s life at least for a time.  In Cossey’s case it’s been three years and counting with the exception of the supervised visits.  Is there a single shred of evidence to support his wife’s claims?  If there is, the article doesn’t mention it, and she let her opportunity to make her case in print go by.

But as we know, and as Cossey has certainly learned, family courts don’t need evidence to take a father from a child.  What we also know is that child abduction is itself a form of child abuse, and it’s pretty clear that Cossey’s kids have experienced just that.

It was a tearful first reunion, he says. “The kids didn’t know what was going on. The entire event was pretty traumatic for them.”

So what we have is a court that looks at a mother’s unsupported allegations of abuse and (a) refuses to enforce the Hague Convention and (b) only allows their father the most limited of supervised visitation.  It looks at the same kids who’ve plainly been abused by their mother’s abduction of them and her denial of contact with their father, and gives the thumbs up.  That’s bad for children and it violates the Hague Convention, but why would a family court be concerned about that?

So far the whole thing has cost him $70,000.

Grant Cossey, welcome to the United States.  Get comfortable, it looks like a long stay.

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De bortførte børn


Dansk dokumentarserie af Lars Høj.

Janus Nabil Bakrawi

Emma på tre år er bortført til Danmark af sin danske mor. Emma kommer fra New Zealand, hvor hendes far, Simon, kæmper for at få sin datter igen. Men de danske myndigheder beskytter tilsyneladende bortføreren, og ingen hjælper faderen. Derfor beder han som en sidste mulighed Janus Nabil Bakrawi og TV 2 om hjælp.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

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

Contact us here: Mail

Join the Facebook Group: International Parental Child Abduction

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

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

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271