Bioengineering professor charged with felony parent abduction

May 24, 2013

Source: Stanford Daily

Annelise Barron, associate professor of bioengineering, has been charged with felony parent abduction after being arrested in Hawaii on Dec. 24, 2012, and extradited to California about two weeks later. She is currently out on bail.


According to authorities, Barron, her three children and their nanny left for the Hawaiian island of Kauai on Dec. 17 without notifying the children’s fathers. Due to the trip, Barron missed a court date with Judson Butler, the father of their infant son, on Dec. 17 and a family court appearance on Dec. 18 with Theodore Jardetzky ’82, professor of structural biology and Barron’s estranged husband.

“Given that [Barron]… completely stopped using [her] cellphone… we strongly believed that Barron’s intention was to flee with the kids and shut off all possible contact with Jardetzky and Butler,” wrote Detective Anjanette Holler of the Palo Alto Police Department in a report.

Barron’s live-in nanny, Sonia Audino, faces three counts of depriving a lawful custodian of right to custody and one count of child abduction. Bail was originally set at $500,000 but Barron’s was dropped to $100,000 and Audino’s to $55,000.

“I’m a tenured professor– I love my job, and I find it amazing that anyone would think I’d run away and not think I’d be detected,” Barron told the Palo Alto Weekly.

Barron has yet to enter a plea.

Authorities believe Barron intended to flee to Kauai in part because of alleged moving activity out of her Palo Alto apartment on Dec. 17. At an All Aboard Mini Storage site, an employee reported seeing a woman matching Barron’s description acting “frantic and hurried.”

University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin declined to comment on specific personnel matters.

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International Parental Child Abduction – Child Recovery Services

May 6, 2013

Watch our new video about International Parental Child Abduction and Child Recovery Services

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Parental Abduction: Father helpless to bring kidnapped sons home from Egypt

April 16, 2013

Source: CNN

(CNN) — Nearly 12 years ago, Michael Shannon sent his two young sons to New York for what he thought would be a weekend visit with their mother.-It would be the last time he saw either one of them.

Nermeen Khalifa, the boys’ mother and Shannon’s ex-wife, took the children to her home country of Egypt, where U.S. citizens have almost no rights in custody battles.

“They were out of the country before we even knew they were gone,” Shannon said. “I went to the apartment to pick them up. It was like it was ransacked.”

Shannon said he knew at that time what had probably happened, but confirmation came a couple weeks later when he got a call from his eldest son.

“I received a call from Adam right after 9/11 and he said: ‘I’m not in America anymore. I’m not even in New York,’ ” Shannon recalled. “He thought New York was a separate country. He was only 4 years old at the time.

“He says, ‘When are you and Pop-Pop coming to get me?’ And I said, ‘As soon as we can.’ ”

Fast-forward to 2013, and Shannon had still not seen Adam or younger son Jason, who was 10 months old when his mother took him away. Not even in a photograph.

Adam Shannon was born in 1997. He was 4 years old when his dad last saw him. His mother, Nermeen, is at left.
Adam Shannon was born in 1997. He was 4 years old when his dad last saw him. His mother, Nermeen, is at left.

This long separation has lasted despite court rulings that the sons must be returned to their father. Almost immediately after the boys were taken, Shannon learned how powerless his U.S. court orders and his own country would be in Egypt.

“The bottom line is when we took the American orders to Egypt and asked for them to be — in the lingo of this specialty — domesticated, we are just laughed at,” said Shannon’s attorney, Stephen Cullen.

Shannon turned to the U.S. government for help and found that there was little the State Department could do. Egypt, like many Arab and Muslim countries, is difficult to deal with because it hasn’t signed on to the Hague Convention regarding international child abduction.

Shannon also discovered that his situation was not unique. According to U.S. Ambassador Susan Jacobs, the State Department’s special adviser for children’s issues, there are at least 22 American custody disputes in Egypt.

“I’m not going to speak about a specific case, but all of these cases are sad, bad, horrible cases where one of the parents has been deprived of their children for long periods of time,” Jacobs said. “Half of the cases are over 12 years old, and the others date from 2012. And those are only the cases we know about.”

Exploiting a loophole

Michael Shannon was hesitant to let his children go to New York in 2001.

He had sole custody of Adam after the couple’s separation, and Shannon insisted that Khalifa only visit Adam with a third party present — usually Shannon’s father. And while Khalifa had custody of Jason, she could not take him outside the state of Maryland without Shannon’s consent.

But Shannon reluctantly agreed to the trip when Khalifa’s mother, Asaf, flew in from Cairo and gave Shannon her word that she would watch the boys and return them in four days.

“I said to my father, ‘Well, there is no way she can take him to Egypt,’ ” he recalled. “I have full custody. I have full rights. I have their passports locked in a safe. How could she possibly get them out of the country?”

All of these cases are sad, bad, horrible cases where one of the parents has been deprived of their children for long periods of time.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Jacobs, the State Department’s special adviser for children’s issues

But there was a loophole. Back then, just one parent could simply call the State Department and report that a child’s passport had been lost to get a new one.

That’s what Nermeen Khalifa did, and the children had their Egypt Air tickets purchased in New York by a relative.

Thomas Fleckenstein, the state’s attorney in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, said the facts show that the boys’ grandmother was co-conspirator of an international kidnapping weeks in the making.

“She participated in the planning of the removal of the children from Maryland,” Fleckenstein said. “She participated in the story that was told to the father as to where the children would be in New York, when they would be back. The fact that she was visiting was part of the impetus for the father allowing the children to visit and spend time with the grandmother. And she was actively involved in the helping the children travel to Egypt.”


Shannon turned to an Egyptian court for help, hiring an Egyptian attorney to help him enforce his U.S. custody rights. The case was filed in 2002 but postponed until 2004. It was then postponed another two years, and nothing has happened since.

Officials from the U.S. State Department told him there was nothing they could do.

“The State Department won’t get (photos) because they said the family won’t allow it, it’s intrusive,” Shannon said. “I’ve asked for welfare-wellness (visits), and the embassy writes letters to the family and the family simply refuses them.”

There might have also been another reason for the State Department’s lack of interest.

The boys’ grandfather, Osama Khalifa, was a successful businessman in Egypt who sat on several government boards of then-President Hosni Mubarak. In late 2001 and 2002, in the aftermath of 9/11, the United States was leaning heavily on Egypt and Mubarak for support in the war on terror. It might have been a bad time to bring up the kidnapping of two boys by a family with ties to Mubarak.

Shannon felt very alone. He received a letter from his ex-wife’s sister, Eman, who wrote that the children need to be with their mother because of Islamic law. She also told him to give up –“force and bad tactics will only serve to put you farthest away from your objective.”

The other side of the story

Nermeen Khalifa now lives in Heliopolis, an upscale Cairo neighborhood where her father runs his consulting business.

For years, she has kept her silence, only once agreeing to an interview with an Arab media outlet. But she agreed to talk by phone to CNN.

She has a completely different account of her marriage to Shannon, the boys’ kidnapping and the U.S. court record on the case.

For example, Shannon says his ex-wife had a drinking problem. Maryland police records show she was charged with assaulting her husband and placed on probation, ordered to undergo treatment at an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center.

Michael Shannon says he\'s optimistic that his sons will turn 18 and leave Egypt on their own.
Michael Shannon says he’s optimistic that his sons will turn 18 and leave Egypt on their own.

But Khalifa says it was Shannon who was the alcoholic and that it was he who kept the family apart. She also puts blame on the American judicial system, which she says is biased and discriminatory against Arab Muslims.

“I left with my kids on my accord to protect myself and my sons,” she said. “(Shannon) is a manipulator, he’s a liar, and I had to leave. The system was against me.”

On September 11, 2001, the very morning that terrorist planes were hitting the World Trade Towers, a Maryland state court issued a warrant for Nermeen Khalifa’s arrest and granted sole custody of her sons to Shannon.

To her, the date of the hearing — and her absence from the court — proves she is a victim of discrimination.

“The ruling happened on 9/11. So what more do you want?” she said. “The judge ruled custody without even hearing me or seeing me or knowing anything about me. He gave (Shannon) immediately custody of both kids.”

Khalifa says she is “tired of this saga” and that Shannon has been making her life miserable.

“If he’s so torn up over the boys, why hasn’t he once tried to send them a birthday card, a Christmas card, anything, let alone come here so that he can see them?” she said.

Shannon says he has tried to talk to his boys every year, but the Khalifa family has refused to put them on the phone. He has also sent e-mails to them, but they go unanswered.

Six years ago, Shannon said, he was allowed to talk to Adam on the phone on his 10th birthday. But it wasn’t the boy he remembered.

“He was, ‘I hope bulldozers knock your house down and they burn your house,’ ” Shannon said. “He’s been watching too much of the Israeli/Palestinian thing.”

When asked why she hasn’t sent a photo to Shannon or even posted one online, Khalifa says no one has asked.

“I’m not keeping (the boys) from their father,” she said. “He can come here anytime and meet them.”

First look in a decade?

Last month, in an undercover van, CNN went to the apartment where Khalifa lives with her two sons. It was Sunday morning, the beginning of the school week in Egypt, and two young men walked out of the building and into a private school bus.

When he was shown this on video, Shannon became emotional. He didn’t recognize his sons.

“If these are my sons, it’s the first time I’ve seen them in 11 years,” he said.

Khalifa said in an e-mail that the boys in the video were not her sons, and then in a phone call, she threatened to sue CNN if the images were broadcast. When asked why she would consider a lawsuit if the photos were not of her sons, she didn’t answer.

Back in the United States, CNN got a phone call from a young man who said he was Adam. He asked that most of the call be off the record, but he did allow CNN to record a quote about his mother: “She’s a great caring mother, very considerate and she does whatever I ask her. If I asked her this moment to take me to the United States and give a ticket, she would proudly do it without hesitation.”

Shannon believes his ex-wife has turned his sons against him. But against all odds, he still remains optimistic that his sons will turn 18 and leave Egypt on their own, learning the truth about their father: that he never stopped loving them and that he never stopped trying to be their dad.

“It’s like they say in Egypt, ‘Inshallah,’ (If) it is God’s will,” he said. “They have to come back to the United States. They are U.S. citizens.”

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ICE rescues abducted child in cross-border parental kidnapping case

March 30, 2013

Source: ICE

ICE rescues abducted child in cross-border parental kidnapping case
Child’s grandmother and father taken into custody


SAN DIEGO – A 17-month-old girl was rescued and reunited with her mother in Mexico Thursday afternoon after officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) located her in a San Diego apartment where she was being held by her paternal grandmother.

The search for the missing child began when the grandmother failed to return the girl to her mother while visiting the child in Ensenada. Wednesday, after receiving a request for assistance from Mexican authorities, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents on the National Security Task Force initiated an investigation.

The next day, Task Force officers located the child in the apartment, along with her grandmother and 32-year-old father, who is a citizen of Mexico.

“This case shows how collaborative efforts by ICE contribute to public safety,” said Gregory Archambeault, field office director for ERO San Diego. “I applaud the quick response and hard work by all of the law enforcement personnel who helped us safely reunite this little child with her mother.”

When the investigation revealed the child’s father was a previously deported felon, ERO officers obtained a criminal warrant for his arrest. He was taken into federal custody outside the apartment on charges of illegal reentry after deportation. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The child’s grandmother was taken into custody on immigration violations and placed in removal proceedings.

The HSI-led National Security Task Force is comprised of enforcement personnel from HSI, ERO and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol.

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Japan: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty

March 17, 2013

Source: Japantoday


Japan moved one step closer to adopting a long-delayed treaty on child abductions on Friday when the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave its approval, a government spokesman said.


Japan is the only member of the Group of Eight major industrialised nations that has not joined the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires children be returned to their usual country of residence if they are snatched during the collapse of an international marriage.

Hundreds of non-Japanese parents, mostly men from the United States and elsewhere, have been left without any recourse after their estranged partners took their children back to Japan.

Unlike Western nations, Japan does not recognize joint custody and divorce courts usually award custody of children to their mothers.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said following cabinet approval, the government would swiftly submit the necessary legislation to parliament.

“It is important for our country to join the Hague Convention that sets international rules on dealing with illegal kidnapping of children, now that the numbers of international marriages and international divorces have increased,” he said.

Last month, Abe visited U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington and promised that Tokyo would join the treaty.

For the past few years, Japan has promised to join the treaty, but has never moved it through parliament.

U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly demanded action from Japan on child abductions, one of the few open disputes between the close allies.

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International Relationships and the Pain of Parental Child Abduction

March 3, 2013

Source: Huffington Post – Louise Halford

As Family lawyers know only too well, it is not always easy for couples to remain calm and composed when they split up.

Thankfully, only a relatively small proportion of the relationships which we have any dealings with feature any rancour.

Those which do can be difficult for all concerned if they involve children, especially so if the respective partners hail from different countries or cultural backgrounds.

They may want to take themselves and their children home to family and familiar surroundings overseas rather than remain in a territory which might have few if any comforts now that their relationship – be it marriage or cohabitation – has come to an end.


Exactly how frequent such circumstances have become has been made plain by the latest set of figures from the Foreign Office which show that cases of parental child abduction have risen by 88 per cent in a little under a decade.

The staggering nature of the increase has been compounded by the results of an accompanying survey which showed that nearly a quarter of Britons are unaware that taking a child overseas without permission is a crime.

The research goes on to highlight that half those questioned believed government can intervene to ensure the swift return of children abducted from the UK.

The truth is often rather more traumatic and long drawn-out.

Together with my colleagues at Pannone, I have dealt with too many cases to recall in which children have been taken beyond the reach of the Hague Convention.

The Convention was introduced in 1980 and allows for children taken to signatory states to be returned to their country of residence while any disputes about their welfare are resolved.

When children are removed to those countries which haven’t signed up to the Hague Convention, parents can face sometimes fruitless, lengthy and expensive procedures to bring about the return of children who have been taken from them.

Given that, it may alarm some people to read that Reunite International, a British-based charity specialising in parental child abduction cases, estimated that such non-Hague cases had risen by 206 per cent in the decade to 2011.

I believe that one of the reasons for making the statistics public now is that there appears to be more cases of abduction during various holiday periods throughout the year.

By releasing the information only two weeks before Christmas Day, the Foreign Office is reinforcing a pledge made last year to make people more aware of the issue and, more importantly, the truly devastating consequences for the children concerned.

It is my understanding that departmental officials have also met with parents whose former partners have abducted their children in an effort to put in place measures to help tackle the problem.

One idea might be to warn parents either at the start of a divorce or – more specifically –
at the commencement of proceedings regarding the welfare of the children that they cannot take them abroad without explicit legal permission.

Early, clear intervention of that nature might not prevent all abductions because, unfortunately, parents who are intent on abduction will do all they can to carry it out, regardless of the protocols in place to stop them.

However, it might prevent a proportion of abductions taking place and remove the
the sort of stress, time and cost involved once they happen.

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Parental Child Abduction and Parental alienation Syndrome PAS

February 28, 2013

Source: Socialworktoday

Eight Manifestations of Parental Alienation Syndrome

1. A Campaign of Denigration
Alienated children are consumed with hatred of the targeted parent. They deny any positive past experiences and reject all contact and communication. Parents who were once loved and valued seemingly overnight become hated and feared.

2. Weak, Frivolous, and Absurd Rationalizations
When alienated children are questioned about the reasons for their intense hostility toward the targeted parent, the explanations offered are not of the magnitude that typically would lead a child to reject a parent. These children may complain about the parent’s eating habits, food preparation, or appearance. They may also make wild accusations that could not possibly be true.


3. Lack of Ambivalence About the Alienating Parent
Alienated children exhibit a lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent, demonstrating an automatic, reflexive, idealized support. That parent is perceived as perfect, while the other is perceived as wholly flawed. If an alienated child is asked to identify just one negative aspect of the alienating parent, he or she will probably draw a complete blank. This presentation is in contrast to the fact that most children have mixed feelings about even the best of parents and can usually talk about each parent as having both good and bad qualities.

4. The “Independent Thinker” Phenomenon
Even though alienated children appear to be unduly influenced by the alienating parent, they will adamantly insist that the decision to reject the targeted parent is theirs alone. They deny that their feelings about the targeted parent are in any way influenced by the alienating parent and often invoke the concept of free will to describe their decision.

5. Absence of Guilt About the Treatment of the Targeted Parent 
Alienated children typically appear rude, ungrateful, spiteful, and cold toward the targeted parent, and they appear to be impervious to feelings of guilt about their harsh treatment. Gratitude for gifts, favors, or child support provided by the targeted parent is nonexistent. Children with parental alienation syndrome will try to get whatever they can from that parent, declaring that it is owed to them.

6. Reflexive Support for the Alienating Parent in Parental Conflict 
Intact families, as well as recently separated and long-divorced couples, will have occasion for disagreement and conflict. In all cases, the alienated child will side with the alienating parent, regardless of how absurd or baseless that parent’s position may be. There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with interparental conflicts. Children with parental alienation syndrome have no interest in hearing the targeted parent’s point of view. Nothing the targeted parent could do or say makes any difference to these children.

7. Presence of Borrowed Scenarios 
Alienated children often make accusations toward the targeted parent that utilize phrases and ideas adopted from the alienating parent. Indications that a scenario is borrowed include the use of words or ideas that the child does not appear to understand, speaking in a scripted or robotic fashion, as well as making accusations that cannot be supported with detail.

8. Rejection of Extended Family
Finally, the hatred of the targeted parent spreads to his or her extended family. Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so are his or her extended family. Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are suddenly and completely avoided and rejected.

In a recent study (Baker & Darnall, 2007), targeted parents rated their children as experiencing these eight behavioral manifestations in a way that was generally consistent with Gardner’s theory. Parents reported that their children exhibited the eight behaviors with a high degree of frequency. One exception was alienated children being able to maintain a relationship with some members of the targeted parent’s extended family, which occurred in cases where that relative was actually aligned with the alienating parent. This suggests that the context of the contact with the targeted parent’s extended family (that relative’s role in the alienation) needs to be understood prior to concluding whether this component is present in the child.


Study of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome
Gardner identified parental alienation syndrome only 20 years ago. However, researchers and clinicians have been concerned about these cross-generational alliances for much longer. For example, divorce researchers such as Wallerstein and colleagues (2001) have noted that some children develop unhealthy alliances with one parent while rejecting the other. Family therapists have observed that, when a child is “taller” than a parent (i.e., able to look down on), it is usually because he or she is standing on the shoulders of the other parent (i.e., being supported by).

Although this problem has long been of concern to mental health practitioners, little research has been conducted on the specific problem of children rejecting one parent due to the overt or covert influence of the other. In contrast to the dearth of research, demand for knowledge about parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome is overwhelming. There are several Web sites devoted to this problem, many of which receive tens of thousands of visits each year. The few books on divorce that discuss this problem are best sellers, and there are several Internet chat groups comprised of anxious parents who fear that the other parent of their child is turning their child against them. Saddest of all are the parents who have already lost their child to parental alienation syndrome and want to know whether they will ever get the child back.

This is the question that guided the current study on parental alienation syndrome of adults who as children had been turned against one parent by their other parent (Baker, 2007). In order to participate in the study, the individuals needed to have been alienated from one parent as a child and had to believe that the alienation was at least in part due to the actions and attitudes of the other parent. Forty adults participated in in-depth, semistructured telephone interviews. A content analysis was conducted. Some of the major themes and research findings relevant to the work of social workers are the following:


Different Familial Contexts
Parental alienation syndrome can occur in intact families, as well as divorced families, and can be fostered by fathers, mothers, and noncustodial and custodial parents. The prototypical case is a bitter ex-wife turning the children against the father in response to postdivorce custody litigation. That is one but not the only pattern. Mental health professionals should be aware that other familial contexts exist within which parental alienation syndrome can occur so as to avoid ruling out parental alienation syndrome as an explanation because the family context does not fit the prototype.

Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Abuse
Many of the interviewees revealed that the alienating parent had emotionally, physically, or sexually abused them. These data should help put to rest the prevailing notion that all children (in their naive wisdom) will ally themselves with the parent better able to attend to their needs. The people interviewed appeared to side with the parent on whom they had become dependent and whose approval they were most afraid of losing, not the parent who was most sensitive or capable.

Apparent Psychopathology
A related finding is that many of the alienating parents appeared to have features of narcissistic and/or have a borderline or antisocial personality disorder, as well as being active alcoholics. Thus, social workers providing individual therapy with a client who may have been alienated from one parent by the other should be aware of the importance of exploring these other abuse and trauma factors in the client’s early history.

Cult Parallels
Cults offer a useful heuristic for understanding parental alienation syndrome. Alienating parents appear to use many emotional manipulation and thought reform strategies that cult leaders use. Awareness of this analogy can help individuals who experienced parental alienation syndrome (and their therapists) understand how they came to ally with a parent who was ultimately abusive and damaging. The analogy is also helpful for understanding the recovery and healing process.

The research and clinical literature on recovery from cults offers useful ideas for therapists working with adult children of parental alienation syndrome. For example, the way in which a person leaves a cult has ramifications for the recovery process. Cult members can walk away from a cult, be cast out of a cult, or be counseled out of a cult. Those who walk away (come to the realization on their own that the cult is not healthy for them) and those who are counseled out (those who are exposed to a deliberate experience designed to instigate the desire to leave) tend to fare better than those who are cast out (those who are rejected from the cult for failing to meet its regulations and strictures) (Langone, 1994).

Regardless of how the cult is abandoned, leaving represents only the beginning of the recovery process. Considerable time and effort is required (usually in therapy) to process the experience and undo the negative messages from the cult that have become incorporated into the self. The same may be true of adult children of parental alienation syndrome.

Different Pathways to Realization
There appear to be many different pathways to the realization that one has been manipulated by a parent to unnecessarily reject the other parent. Eleven catalysts were described by the interview participants. This represents both good and bad news. The good news is that there are many different ways to evolve from alienation to realization. The bad news is that there is no silver bullet or magic wand to spark that process. For some participants, it was a matter of time and gaining life experience. For others, it was the alienating parent turning on them and, for others, it was becoming a parent and being the target of parental alienation from their own children. For most, the process was just that—a process.


There were a few epiphanies, but most experienced something like a slow chipping away of a long-held belief system, a slow awakening to a different truth and a more authentic self. Most gained self-respect and a connection to reality and were grateful to know “the truth.” At the same time, they acknowledged that this truth was hard won and quite painful. Once they were aware of the parental alienation, they had to come to terms with some painful truths, including that the alienating parent did not have their best interest at heart, that as children they had probably behaved very badly toward someone who did not deserve such treatment, and that they missed out on a relationship that may have had real value and benefit to them.

Long-Term Negative Effects
Not surprisingly, the adult children with parental alienation syndrome believed that this experience had negative long-term consequences for them. Many spoke of suffering from depression, turning to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, failed relationships and multiple divorces and, most sadly, becoming alienated from their own children later in life. In this way, the intergenerational cycle of parental alienation syndrome was perpetuated.

Wide Range of Alienation Tactics
The adult children with parental alienation syndrome described a range of alienating strategies, including constant badmouthing of the targeted parent, chronic interference with visitation and communication, and emotional manipulation to choose one parent over the other. These same strategies were confirmed in a subsequent study of close to 100 targeted parents (Baker & Darnall, 2006). More than 1,300 specific actions described were independently coded into 66 types, 11 of which were mentioned by at least 20% of the sample. There was considerable but not complete overlap in the strategies identified by the targeted parents with those described by adult children.

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Deputies, DHS worker testify in parental kidnapping case

February 27, 2013


Mason County Sheriff’s Office deputies Mike Hanson and Derrek Wilson testified Tuesday morning, the second day of the trial of Mark McCallum, who is charged with parental kidnapping.

Hanson testified about talking to McCallum’s now ex-wife Sharon Kludy and the search for their two young children who were later found with their father in Key West, Florida.


Wilson testified about searching the couple’s Hamlin Township home, where Mark had been residing prior to his arrest in Florida.

On Monday, the jury was seated and Kludy testified, answering questions from Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola.

McCallum is representing himself.

Later in the day a Department of Human Services employee testified about allegations Mark McCallum made that his wife had been abusing the children, saying the department made no determination of abuse.

The jury is done for the day.

Mark McCallum made a motion to dismiss the case, but 51st Circuit Court Judge Richard Cooper denied it.

McCallum’s argument included stating his wife knows one of the deputies and that he turned the rest of law enforcement against him.

“I’m not a crazy person,” McCallum told the court.

More witnesses will be called Wednesday.

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Child Abduction Statistics

February 10, 2013 Source:

Parental child abduction – We offer needed support
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The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART) has placed cases into five categories…… Children 1. Family Abductions – A child was taken in violation of a custody agreement or degree, failed to return a child at the end of a legal or agreed-upon visit, with the child being away at least overnight. An attempt was made to conceal the taking, or the whereabouts of a child, or to prevent contact with the child. The child is transported out of state, or there is evidence that the abductor had the intent to keep the child indefinitely, or to permanently alter custodial privileges. 2. Non-Family Abductions – Attempted abductions, for example luring of a child for the purposes of committing another crime. Coerced and unauthorized taking of a child into a building, a vehicle, or a distance of more than 20 feet, the detention of a child for a period of more than one hour. 3. Runaways – Children that have left home without permission and stayed away overnight and during the course of their runaway episodes, were without a secure and familiar place to stay. These also include children who have run away from a juvenile facility. 4. Thrownaways – These are children who have experienced any of the following situations:

  • The child was told to leave the household.
  • The child was away from home and the parent/guardian refused to allow the child back.
  • The child ran away, but the parent/guardian made no effort to recover the child, or did not care whether or not the child returned.
  • The child was abandoned or deserted.

5. Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing:

  • Children missing for varying periods of time, depending on their age, disability, and whether the absence was due to an injury.
  • Parental Kidnapping / Family Abductions – A child was taken in violation of a custody agreement or degree, failed to return a child at the end of a legal or agreed-upon visit, with the child being away at least overnight. An attempt was made to conceal the taking, or the whereabouts of a child, or to prevent contact with the child. The child is transported out of state, or there is evidence that the abductor had the intent to keep the child indefinitely, or to permanently alter custodial privileges.

More than 350,000 family abductions occur in the U.S. each year, that is nearly 1,000 per day ! 163,000 of these cases involve the concealment of a child, transporting out of state, or intent to keep the child permanently Parental Kidnapping Study Results:

  • The child has experienced serious mental harm in 16% of the cases (56,000)
  • The child has experienced physical abuse or harm in 8% of the cases
  • (The University of Maryland found a 24% incidence of physical abuse)
  • The child is sexually abused in 1% of the cases (The University of Maryland found a 7% incidence of sexual abuse)
  • Mothers flee with children in 54% of the cases
  • Fathers flee with children in 46% of the cases

Case settlements:

  • one-third of all cases settled within 30 days / 80% of all cases settled within a year
  • one-half of all cases settled within 60 days / 90% of all cases settled within two years

Factors Contributing to Parental Kidnappings:

  • In 1998, there will be an estimated 1 million divorces, affecting more than 1 million children
  • There are 10 million children, living with a single parent who is separated, or divorced 150,000 divorces, or 1 in 7 involve child custody battles
  • Today’s average marriage will last about seven years
  • Single-parent families has quadrupled since 1960
  • Divorces have tripled in numbers since 1960

(Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) The National Crime Information Center (NCIC)

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The Most Dangerous Kidnappers: Parents

January 28, 2013

Source: Abcnews

Despite what seems to have been a rash of children abducted by strangers last year, there aren’t any more than normal, and vastly greater numbers of children are kidnapped by their own parents and relatives — and those cases rarely generate headlines.


Stranger abductions make up the smallest percentage of children reported missing every year. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believes that stranger abductions are decreasing overall and projects that there will be approximately 100 of these kind of cases by the end of this year.

According to statistics cited by the NCMEC, most missing children are abducted by relatives or parents: a soon-to-be released report, the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children, referred to as NISMART-2, finds that 203,900 kids were abducted in 1999 by family members or parents. Approximately, 58,200 were “non-family” abductions — only 115 were defined as the frightening kidnappings by strangers.

Parental kidnappings do not spark media attention — and the sense of urgency from law enforcement officials — that the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the kidnapping and slaying of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion and this month’s abduction and rescue of two California teenagers attracted.

Experts say there is a perception among the public and law enforcement that children kidnapped by their parents are not endangered. After all, figures from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention show that only 4 percent of children abducted by their parents are physically harmed.

“I think there’s a perception with people that, ‘Oh, since they’re with a parent no harm will come to the child,'” said Nancy Hammer, director of the International Division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “And also since it involves two parents and family, it seems to be a messy situation. It doesn’t seem as black and white as if a child was abducted by a stranger. It’s taken a while, but progress has been made in making these abductions crimes, felonies. But they can lack the sense of urgency in the public and law enforcement reserved for other cases.”

A Very Lucky Recovery

Tracy and Robert Morse had to fight those perceptions when their children were abducted. In December 1996, three of Robert Morse’s children from a previous marriage were kidnapped by their biological, non-custodial mother when they got off the bus at school.


“There’s this perception in the public and among law enforcement, that when children are abducted by their parents that they’re safe, and that just isn’t true,” said Tracy Morse, co-founder of American Parental Abductions Resource & Support Organization — APART for short. “These children are separated from everything they know and love, they are forced to live a life of a fugitive, constantly on the run, separated from their identity and their schooling interrupted and often told their left behind parents don’t care about them.

“When my husband’s children were kidnapped by his ex-wife, she pulled up at school and made a big scene at school and everything,” Morse continued. “People who saw her take the children, they just thought, ‘Oh, it’s a domestic thing. We shouldn’t interfere.'”

Tracy and Robert Morse spent more than more than two years trying to find their children and only got a break in their search when the children’s mother remarried and sparked the suspicion of her new in-laws and their relatives. One of her new husband’s relatives went on the Web site for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, saw the faces of the three children and contacted NCMEC officials. The children were recovered and reunited with the Morses in March 1999.

“The kids were a mess, in really bad shape,” said Tracy Morse. “But we were very, very lucky.”

Following their children’s recovery, the Morses founded APART to give parents a resource to both prepare themselves and their children for family abductions and give them guidance as to what to do during those situations. “Left Behind” parents spent so much time trying to figure out what to do when their children are abducted by an ex-spouse or family member, valuable time is wasted. Abductor parents easily flee amid the confusion and shock.

A Mother’s Desperate 28-Year Quest

One woman who wishes she had the Morses’ good luck and perhaps could have benefited from APART when her son was abducted is Marianne Malky.

Malky, founder of Voice for the Children, a Florida-based organization that helps locate and recover missing children, has been searching for her son David for 28 years. Malky said David, then 7 years old, was taken by his non-custodial father, Stephan Shipenberg, during a court-ordered weekend visit in 1974. Shipenberg, she said, called her and told her that she would never see David again.

Malky, who lived in New Jersey at the time, went to Shipenberg’s job at American Airlines in New York City and was told he had quit. She found out he had moved from his Manhattan apartment and ultimately tracked him and David at a new address as they drove away in a station wagon. As she pounded on the car window, that was the last time she saw her son.


Since then, Malky has had little progress in finding David, and she said she has received little help from law enforcement. She was so anxious to get her son back and track him down that she did not file a missing person’s report in New Jersey when he was first abducted. When she tried to file one year later, she was told too much time had passed.

“There isn’t any finding your kids unless you do everything yourself. You basically have to do everything,” Malky said. “No one [from law enforcement] really wants to get involved. ‘It’s too complicated,’ they say. ‘It’s a domestic problem.’ You’re told you need custody papers or you need to go to an attorney to get custodial papers, but what you need are [private] investigators. Custody papers don’t find missing children; investigators do.”

At one time, she said, she received a tip that David was attending grammar school under another last name “Kaplan” and contacted officials. However, by the time she made it to the school, administrators had contacted Shipenberg and he had retrieved David. She has learned that her son attended middle school and high school in Oyster Bay, N.Y., but she says the schools refused to give her access to his records. She also learned that he was in the Navy, but officials would not release any records because of privacy laws.

“In the United States, it’s very difficult to find them [abducted children and abductor parents] because they change their name,” Malky said. “It’s very difficult if you don’t know what their name is.”

Frustration of ‘Left Behind’ Parents

Malky said she has received tips and help from people who believe they have spotted Shipenberg and David over the years. However, she said her quest has cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars and frustrated — experiences commonly shared “left behind” parents.

“You end up broke and physically and emotionally drained,” Malky said. “But I was — am still — determined.”

And lack of resources is an obstacle for parents in family abduction cases. Not everyone has the money to hire private investigators and communication firms to print fliers for their missing children. Often, as time passes and money dwindles, parents are forced to accept that they may never see their children again.

“Unless you really keep the pressure on police, really harass them, you won’t get the updates that you want on your case, and it’ll fall on the bottom of the pile,” said Morse. “You have to turn to private investigators but not everyone has those kind of resources.”

Malky said she never saw David’s abduction coming. His father never made any previous threats, and they had civil discussions about the custody and visitation arrangements.

“I didn’t see this coming. Usually they tell you that they’re going to take your child. I was never told,” said Malky. “But I tell you, all these cases are premeditated. They know where they’re going to go, where they’re going to hide.”

• Family Abduction Safeguards and Warning Signs? Read Below

AMBER Needed for Parental Abductions

New wireless child safety tracking devices have been developed that enable parents to trace the whereabouts of their children. The lightweight devices integrate digital technology from the Department of Defense’s Global Positioning System satellites to pinpoint children’s locations, and many child advocates believe they could prevent child abductions or at least help recover kidnapped children.


Still, more needs to be done. Experts say parental abduction victims need a program similar to the AMBER alert system, which was credited with helping law enforcement officials to rescue two California teenagers approximately 12 hours after they were abducted at gunpoint, and save an infant abducted from an Abilene, Texas, parking lot last week. Parental abductees have little, if any chance, of being considered for the AMBER alert system because the children’s lives are not considered endangered in most cases.

“The AMBER alert system is great, and they need to develop one for family abductions,” said Morse.

More may also need to be done in the courts when parents are trying to reach an agreement on visitation and custodial rights. Sometimes the early signs of a family abduction manifest during legal negotiations.

“The first instance or signs that people may abduct their children are likely seen in court,” said Hammer. “Maybe if more court officials are trained to pay more attention to certain risk factors, they can identify which child may be at risk and take action and fully inform parents what they face, what will happen if they do abduct their child.”

Child advocates also argue that there should be more severe punishment for parental child abductors — or at least they should be prosecuted to the law’s fullest extent. Stephen Fagan pleaded guilty in 1999 to kidnapping his two daughters, telling them their mother was dead and living under an assumed name for 20 years. He avoided jail time by agreeing to a deal that gave him five years’ probation, a $100,000 fine and 2,000 hours of community service.

Barry and Judith Smiley kidnapped a baby after an attempted adoption of the infant was ruled invalid, and they lived for 22 years under an assumed name, raising the boy they called Matthew Propp as their own son. They avoided trial and possibly 25 years by agreeing to plead guilty to second-degree kidnapping in June. Barry Smiley received a two-to-six-year sentence while his wife Judith was sentenced to a six-month prison term and five years’ probation.

These plea deals, child advocates argue, make would-be parental abductors believe that they would not be risking anything if they kidnapped their children.

White House Weighing In

Many left-behind parents have complained that custody orders have not been readily enforceable when they locate a missing child. Often, they have had to hire two attorneys — one for each state — if the abducting parent has traveled to another state. As the filings go through the court system, the abducting parent may flee the state again without a trace, leaving the wronged parent back where they started, not knowing the whereabouts of a missing child.

According to the Department of Justice, California is the only state that requires district attorneys to take whatever civil remedies and criminal prosecutorial measures necessary to locate and recover children abducted by family members and to enforce child custody orders. In July 1997, the National Council of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws approved the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which contains a similar mandate. As of February 2001, 21 states had enacted UCCJEA, and it had been introduced to the legislatures in 10 other states.

Some change may begin with attention from the White House. President Bush has announced the White House would hold a first-ever conference on missing, exploited and runaway children in September. Held in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, the conference will focus on the prevention of child victimization, improving law enforcement policies for handling crimes against children, stranger abductions, and domestic and international parental kidnapping, among other topics.

‘Never an End’

Despite the time that has passed, and the fact that her son is now approaching his mid-30s, Marianne Malky is willing to do whatever it takes to find him. She said she plans to file lawsuits against the schools she suspects David has attended to force them to release his records.

If Malky finds her son, there is a possibility that he will not accept her. It happened to Barbara Kurth, the ex-wife of Stephen Fagan, when authorities tracked him down and prosecuted him for kidnapping. Even after learning that that their mother was not dead and that their father had lied to them for 20 years, Kurth’s daughters stayed by Fagan’s side. Afterwards, Fagan said he abducted the daughters because Kurth was neglecting them and abused alcohol, a claim she denied.

Still, knowing this, Malky remains determined.

“I know he has been told that I don’t care about him, that I don’t love him, but I’m not giving up,” Malky said. “Hopefully, I will win. … The feeling that I and many parents of children who have been abducted is not unlike those whose children have been killed, except that we never have an end. There’s never an end until you find your child.”

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