Parental Abduction – Texas girl rescued in Mexico after missing for 12 years


October 1 , 2014

Source: abc7news

A Texas girl who was abducted and missing for 12 years was rescued Tuesday morning near Mexico City.

Sabrina Allen

LEFT: Sabrina Allen pictured before she went missing 12 years ago. RIGHT: A photo of what Sabrina might look like today. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

Sabrina Allen was four-years-old when she was abducted in 2002. Now 14-years-old, Allen was rescued in an operation conducted by the Mexican Federal Authority, FBI and U.S. Marshals. Sabrina and her alleged abductor, Dara Llorens, were flown back into Houston, TX on Tuesday night. Sabrina now is undergoing medical evaluation at an undisclosed facility in Austin, TX.

LLorens is Sabrina’s non-custodial mother, and was sought under a federal warrant for allegedly kidnapping her daughter after divorcing from her husband, Greg Allen. Allen made the following statement in a press release after hearing of Sabrina’s rescue.

“I am overjoyed that Sabrina has been found alive and is safe. Our entire family would like to thank the investigators that made this happen. Our prayers go out to the Mexican Federal Police Officer who was injured. We also would like to thank the Mexican Government for their cooperation in this case. Last, a heartfelt thank you to the USFBI, US Marshals, and all of the investigators that have worked this case for the last 12 years. They never gave up. We look forward to being reunited very soon.”

According to reports, Llorens and her daughter were able to avoid capture by changing their hair color. Llorens was booked into Travis County Jail in Austin, TX and is set on a $300,000 bond.

Authorities are scheduling a news conference later this afternoon to discuss the rescue and arrest.

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Texas man could finally be reunited with his abducted daughters


June 27 , 2013

Source: theshapirolawfirm.com

As international travel has become more and more accessible, one thing that, sadly, has been becoming increasingly common is international parental child abduction. International parental child abduction is when one parent takes a child to another country to interfere with the other parent’s custody rights.

International parental child abduction can be incredibly impactful on the child involved and the parent who has had the child abducted from them. Sadly, a custodial parent who has had a child abducted from them to another country can sometimes face major legal hurdles in getting their child back.

Texas

Recently, some news has arisen regarding an international parental child abduction case involving a Texas man.

The man was married to a Russian-born woman. The two lived in Texas together and they had two daughters.

The man and the woman eventually got divorced. In the divorce, the man was granted custody of the former couple’s two daughters.

In 2008, the unthinkable happened to the man; his daughters were abducted by his ex-wife to a foreign country. Specifically, during one of her visitations with the children, the woman took the children to Russia. The children have been in Russia ever since, as issues regarding the Russian legal system reportedly prevented the man from being able to retake custody of the children.

It appears that the man may now finally be able to get his daughters back. Recently, the man’s ex-wife died. This reportedly makes it so the man no longer just has custody of the children under U.S. law, but also has custody of the children under Russian law. However, there still could be some challenges awaiting the man in his efforts to reunite with his daughters.

The man reportedly plans to go to Russia next month to try to get his daughters back. One wonders what will ultimately happen during this trip.

As this case shows, child custody matters with international aspects, such as child custody matters involving international parental child abduction, can be incredibly complicated. Thus, if a person is involved in a child custody matter with international aspects, having a strong and experienced family law attorney on one’s side can be very important.

Source: KHOU, “Hope arises for dad in custody battle for daughters taken to Russia,” Jim Douglas, June 20, 2013

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20 Years Later, Man Wanted in Parental Abduction is Back in St.Thomas


January 22, 2013

Source: AM980

A 51-year-old man is now in custody of St.Thomas Police, 20 years after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with an alleged case of parental abduction.

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A warrant was issued for Benham Slim back in 1993 after Police say he fled to Beirut, Lebanon with his three little girls – aged 2, 6, and 7 – and had no plans on returning to Canada.

Four years later, in 1997, Slim was arrested at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, but was released on bail after promising to return the children, and appear before the courts the following year.

Slim did neither, and an additional warrant was issued for his arrest.

In early 2003, 10 years after they disappeared, all three girls were re-united with their mother who had since moved to Texas.

Slim, however, remained at large.

He wasn’t picked up until late October of last year by Police in Detroit where he’s remained in custody while Police in St.Thomas and the Crown Attorney’s office began the extradition process.

Just recently, the 51-year-old waived extradition to Canada and has now arrived back in St.Thomas to face parental abduction charges from 1993, as well as charges related to skipping the country back in 1998.

 

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Texas: Expert says parental child abductions are on the rise


September 27, 2012

Source: University of Houston

Attorney Pamela Brown discusses pursuing justice across international borders

 

Pamela Brown, director of the Bi-National Family Violence Project at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, told law students that international parental kidnapping cases have become more common in recent years during a noon-hour gathering today at the University of Houston Law Center. Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid is a non-profit organization that provides free legal advice and representation to low-income residents in southwest Texas.

“Abduction rates are increasing in part due to globalization,” Brown said during the talk hosted by the Immigration and Human Rights Law Society. “The relationships of families do not end at international borders. We do not have an exit control nor would we want one. We are an international society.”

Brown noted that international parental abduction has increase by 65 percent in the United States from 2005 to 2009.  In addition, nearly one third of the children in the United States abducted by a parent end up in Mexico.

“Hundreds of Texas children are abducted by a parent every year and taken to Mexico,” Brown said. “Most of the left-behind parents don’t know where to go for help and do not have access to legal help.”

According to Brown, there are two legal frameworks for handling such cases: Internal custody litigation and the Hague Abduction Convention. Under the Hague Abduction Convention, an international treaty concluded in 1980, parents can petition for the return of their children through the civil courts. Mexico and the United States have signed the treaty and each has a government office specifically to deal with these cases.

Brown handles roughly 12 international parental kidnapping cases a year and has helped recover more than 50 children since 2001. She also runs training programs for law enforcement, social workers and lawyers across the state to prepare them for handling such issues.

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Durham woman charged with kidnapping grandson in Hollis, arrested in Windsor, Connecticut


August 2, 2012

Source: naushuatelegraph

On Wednesday 8/1/12 at approximately 3:30PM the Hollis Police Department received a call regarding a possible parental kidnapping that had occurred.

Information received indicated that a 4 year old male child had been removed from the State by his mother contrary to a court order issued in the 9th Circuit Court, Nashua Family Division.

Hollis Police Patrol and Detective Division coordinated an immediate investigation in an attempt to locate the child. Over the following 8 hours, the child was tracked to a hotel in Windsor Locks Connecticut, where he was allegedly being concealed by a family member. Police officers began a dialogue with that family member in an effort to have the child returned to the State of New Hampshire and to the custody of his father, as ordered by the court. While this was ongoing, the Hollis Police Department applied for and was granted a felony arrest warrant for the family member that was concealing the child. Efforts to have the family member turn the child over to law enforcement voluntarily were unsuccessful and with the assistance of the Windsor Locks Connecticut Police, the missing child was located at a hotel in their town at approximately 11:00PM.

Arrested on a Fugitive From Justice charge in Windsor Locks, CT was Sandra Thorne, age 67, of 10 Watson Road in Durham, NH. The child is identified as Thorne’s grandson and was unarmed and in good condition when found. The child was returned to the custody of his father, John Testa. Thorne was held by the Windsor Locks Police Department in Connecticut overnight where she was due in their court this morning. Thorne faces extradition to New Hampshire to face charges of Interference with Custody, a Class B Felony.

The investigation in this case is ongoing and additional charges are possible.

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FBI: Amarillo man kidnapped daughter, left her in Algeria


Source: amarillo.com

The child custody case of an Amarillo woman and her Algerian ex-husband has led federal authorities on an international hunt to track down the couple’s child, according to federal court records.

Federal authorities arrested Badr Djelti, 35, on May 5 on one count of parental kidnapping. According to federal immigration officials, Djelti was born in Algeria and is legally residing in the U.S. as a permanent resident alien.

After nearly a year of marriage, Crystal Armstrong and the defendant separated in August 2010, two months after Armstrong gave birth to the couple’s daughter, the affidavit said. The family traveled to Algeria in December 2010, “in hopes that Armstrong and (Djelti) could mend their marriage, but it did not work out and they remained separated after they returned to the United States,” the document said.

A year later, Armstrong allowed Djelti to take their child to Algeria again to visit Djelti’s parents.

“Armstrong felt that even though they were separated, she wanted (the child) to continue to spend time with (Djelti) and his side of the family,” the affidavit said.

Armstrong, who worried Djelti would not bring the child back, made her ex-husband sign a document promising he would. But the day Djelti was supposed to get the agreement notarized, he picked up the child from a day care facility in Amarillo.

The mother called the police after she confronted Djelti at his apartment, where he was with the child. Amarillo authorities told Armstrong they could not help her because there was no effective court order regarding custody at the time, a federal affidavit said.

On Dec. 13, Djelti left the United States with the child and returned about a month later without her.

“(Djelti) told Armstrong that he left (the child) in the care of his parents in Algeria,” the affidvait said.

A Potter County judge in April ordered Djelti to return the child to the U.S. later that month, but Djelti received an extension to finish his exams at Amarillo College. The parties agreed to give Djelti until May 13 to travel to Algeria and bring the child back, federal records show.

He is expected to return on May 29, according to flight records he provided the court. But Armstrong told her attorney that one of Djelti’s coworkers said he did not intend to return to the U.S. once he left.

Djelti is currently in federal custody at the Randall County jail. If convicted, Djelti faces a maximum prison sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services
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What Qualifies as Parental Kidnapping / Abduction ?


Source: Houston Divorce Blog

While parental kidnapping laws vary from state to state, two main factors determine whether a parent’s act qualifies as parental kidnapping:

  1. The status of child custody
  2. A parent’s motives in taking a child away from the other parent

Child custody status

Texas law criminalizes anyone (including a parent) who takes a child knowing that he or she is violating a child custody order. If you are the parent with custody over your child, the child’s other parent cannot do anything that violates the terms of your custody order. Also a parent may not move a child out of the judicial district area if he or she knows that a custody case is currently pending without seeking the permission of the court. Finally, Texas law makes it illegal for non-custodial parents to entice or persuade their children to leave the custodial parent or anyone else acting in that capacity.

For parents who would legitimately like to move, they have to petition the court with jurisdiction over the child custody case. This petition gives the non-custodial parent a chance to oppose the move. While the petition is pending, an act of the non-custodial parent to take the child away to avoid the move would be parental kidnapping.

The motives of a parent taking a child

If no child custody order is in place, the law generally assumes that both parents have equal rights to care for and spend time with their children. Brief trips and vacations with the child – even out of state – can be lawful assuming that the parent taking the child did so in good faith. Parents may not, however, take a child to hide him or her from the other parent or to terrorize the other parent. Many states, including Texas, criminalize this type of intent where one parent maliciously uses the child against the other parent.

Have you been involved in a parental kidnapping case? How were the courts able to help secure the return of your child?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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Parental Abduction: Ex takes 2-year-old daughter to Mexico with plans not to return


Source: kens5.com

San Marcos mom: Ex takes 2-year-old daughter to Mexico with plans not to return
When Monica Sanchez dropped her daughter off at the Eternal Rock Church in San Marcos on January 15, all seemed to be going according to plan.

Little two-year-old Sarahi Garcia was placed in the care of her father…for a visit.  But, what Sanchez didn’t foresee was the phone call she received from her ex-husband  three days later.

Sanchez says in that call, 35-year-old Amrando Munoz Garcia, told her he was in Mexico, and so was their daughter. But, the most frightening thing was that Garcia allegedly told Sanchez he would not be returning Sarahi to San Marcos.

According to Sanchez, the Caldwell County child custody order prohibits taking Sarahi out of Texas.

Now San Marcos police are working fast to locate the missing girl. They are questioning family members, friends and co-workers  in their search for Garcia.

They have also contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and notified border patrol agents at the location where Garcia is believed to have crossed into Mexico in the past.

Authorities could use your help, too.

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Sarahi Garcia or Amando Munoz Garcia, you are asked to contact the San Marcos Police Department at 512-753-2103, or pdunn@sanmarcostx.gov.

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Parental Abduction – Woman stopped at border on kidnapping warrant


Source: KLTV

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) – A Florida woman awaits extradition and two boys have been turned over to Texas Child Protective Services after U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained the woman officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge on an outstanding kidnapping warrant.

CBP spokesman Eduardo Perez says agents stopped 25-year-old Iris Sandoval of Gibsonton, Fla., Monday when a database revealed the November 2008 parental kidnapping warrant from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Hidalgo Police Capt. Robert Vela says the boys, ages 7 and 8 years old, were turned over to Child Protective Services Monday night. Sandoval was being held at the Hidalgo County Jail in Edinburg awaiting return to Florida.

A sheriff’s spokesman didn’t return a call for comment Tuesday.

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Help reunite families destroyed by parental abduction


Source: yourfriendswood news.com

As our nation grapples with important issues involving a weak economy and out of control spending, there is one troubling concern that hits closer to home: the growing number of child abductions by non-custodial parents. These kidnappings are devastating and occur too frequently, but they can be solved with help from the public.

Bianca Lozano, a girl who has not seen her own mother in sixteen years, turns 18 years old on August 19th. Bianca was kidnapped during a weekend visit by her non-custodial father, Juan Antonio Lozano, when she was only 18 months old. Evidence indicates that Juan Antonio Lozano originally fled to Mexico after taking Bianca from her mother.

Her mother, Deana Herbert, has spent the last 16 years searching for a single clue about the safety and well-being of Bianca. She continues to work with federal, state and local law enforcement, Harris County officials, the State Department, the Texas Attorney General’s office, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the FBI and Crime Stoppers in Houston to locate her daughter.

This tragedy was brought to my attention shortly after I took office. We have consistently worked to encourage community awareness and to keep pressure on law enforcement to be diligent in solving this case. The communities both in the US and Mexico can help law enforcement with tips or any information they may have concerning Bianca’s whereabouts.

I urge the public to be aware of this tragedy and to aid in our efforts to find Bianca and other children like her. I am counting on the good nature of all Americans to think carefully if you have seen this girl or her father and to let authorities or my office know if you have any information about Bianca’s whereabouts.

Last year, at least 1,500 children were unlawfully taken to foreign countries by a parent who had been living in the United States. Only 578 of those children were returned home.Roughly one third of the abducted children ended up in Mexico because of the parent’s ties to extended family or because of Mexico’s proximity. Unfortunately, international parental abductions are growing rapidly, which makes finding these kidnapped children all the more difficult.

Five minutes is too long for a mother to go without knowing the whereabouts of her child. Sixteen years is unbearable. I implore the good people of Texas and Mexico to come forward with any information.

As the father of two wonderful children, I can only imagine the heartbreak Deana has felt over the past 16 years, missing her daughter’s milestone moments. We have tried to work with the State Department on this matter but time is running out. Due to the International agreement of the Hague Act and Bianca’s 18th birthday, the State Department is very limited in what they can do moving forward to help this family. That is why I am asking for the public’s help to look carefully and help connect this girl with her mother.

Bianca, now 18, has a light-brown, semi-oval-shaped birthmark on her right shoulder blade. At the time of her disappearance she had pierced ears. If anyone has any information about her location, please contact the FBI or local law enforcement. Bianca Lozano deserves to know that she has a mother in Texas who loves her very much and wants to know she is safe.

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