Long Valley father struggles to bring son home to the U.S.


August 29 , 2014

Source: dailyrecord.com

With a new school year just around the corner, Long Valley resident Paul Eksteen would like to be wishes he were looking forward to attending his 9-year-old son’s football games or greeting him when he gets off the bus in the afternoon.

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Instead, Eksteen the Long Valley resident can only look forward to a continuing battle to bring his son, Keanu Eksteen, an American a U.S. citizen, back to America. the U.S. so he can resume his education at the Cuchinella School in Washington Township and start playing sports again.

Keanu was taken to Paraguay by his mother, Rosita Berdichevsky, a citizen of that country, on Nov. 2, against the wishes of his father and in defiance of an civil court Oct. 31 order issued on Oct. 31 by Morris County state Superior Court family division Judge Maryann L. Nergaard in Morristown.

The custody battle between the two has many complicating factors, including a domestic violence complaint against the 51-year-old Berdichevsky filed after over an incident involving Eksteen, her ex-husband, at his home in 2013.

Morris County has been the locale scene of several high-profile international child custody disputes, including one involving a Mendham Township man whose wife spirited their children to Uzbekistan and another involving a Nigerian man who hid his two daughters in that African republic nation while his wife, a Dover resident, obtained court orders for return of the girls.

Before Berdichevsky left the country, the judge issued a court order that stated the mother was ordered her to appear on Nov. 13 to explain why her ex-husband should not be given full custody of their son. The judge also barred her from taking Keanu out of the country.

The order stated, “Defendant is ordered to surrender passport of the parties’ child Keanu Eksteen (born Jan. 23, 2005) to her attorney, John Brady, Esq. at 689 Washington St., third floor, Hackettstown, NJ, no later than 9 a.m. on Nov. 1, 2013.”

In addition, the order stated, “Defendant is restrained from removing Keanu Eksteen from the United States until further order of the court.”

Eksteen delivered the order to the Hackettstown office of Berdichevsky’s lawyer, John Brady office, and Brady who said he relayed the information to Berdichevsky on Nov. 1 and scheduled a meeting with her for the following week. Brady said he ad

vised her that she was not to leave the country under any circumstances and that a warrant would be issued for her arrest if she traveled outside the state and did not appear for her court hearing which was scheduled for the following week.

Berdichevsky did not make that meeting; she had left the country with Keanu. and did not make the meeting that had been scheduled with Brady.

In addition, because she missed a court appearance in connection with the domestic violence charges, Washington Township police issued a warrant for her Berdichevsky’s arrest was issued by Washington Township police.

Berdichevsky, is a citizen of Paraguay who had been living in Long Valley on a visa for the last three years, She said in a telephone interview from Paraguay that she will not return with the threat of arrest hanging over her head.

Eksteen was born in South Africa and became a U.S. citizen earlier this year. He and Berdichevsky were married in Paraguay in 2002 and moved to the United States, where their son was born. In 2008, the couple divorced in Paraguay. At that time, no formal custody arrangements were assigned, according to Eksteen.

Eksteen said the boy remained with his mother, who lived in Paraguay and Florida and denied Eksteen access to his son at various times before she returned to New Jersey to live in Long Valley, where she remained was for the last three years, according to Eksteen.

He said his ex-wife’s visa was close to expiring and he had a feeling that she would try to return to Paraguay with their son. so He filed a motion in Morris County Family Court to prevent her from doing so.

Hoping to watch his son play football the morning of Nov. 2, Eksteen said he experienced had a sinking feeling on the morning of Nov. 2 when his son did not show up for a football game.

“I had a feeling that something was very wrong, even the night before when I spoke with my son over the phone. He said he had hurt his leg and might not be playing football the next day — but his voice didn’t sound right,” Eksteen said.

After returning to his home to look for his son that morning, Eksteen contacted the Washington Township Police Department and reported that his son had been kidnapped. The local police then contacted the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the a Washington Township police report dated Nov. 3, Sgt. Brian Szymanski contacted Brady’s law firm and was advised that the firm said it had been in contact with Berdichevsky on Nov. 1 but she refused on Nov. 1 to surrender her son’s passport.

Szymanski also stated in the report that Cpl. David Marut was sent went to Berdichevsky’s residence home at 35 Squire Hill Road in Long Valley and determined that the contents of the apartment had been packed up and she was not there, according to the report.

Szymanski said he was then advised by an assistant prosecutor to report the child as a missing person which he did.

He said An all-points bulletin was issued with for Berdichevsky, ‘s personal and vehicle information and New Jersey registration. In addition and the Port Authority Police Department was contacted and given details about the case and possible destinations.

Abducted_Children_Mexico

Szymanski said in the report that he received a return phone call from Port Authority police informed m Szymanski that Berdichevsky and her son had boarded TAM AIR Flight number 8083, to Brazil, which was scheduled to arrive in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at 7:20 p.m. ET on Nov. 2, Port Authority police told Szymanski.

According to Eksteen said he has done everything he has been asked to do, including retaining an attorney and supplying the U.S. State Department with every piece of all the information it has requested.

“All I want is to hold my son again. He is my life,” Eksteen said.

Eksteen said he has been able to talk to Keanu his son via videoconference on his phone, but he is worried that worries his son is not getting adequate care and is living in a dangerous environment.

His ex-wife said the boy eats well and is attending a private school. According to Eksteen, A relative of Rosita’s Berdichevsky’s is paying the tuition, Eksteen said.

Eksteen contacted the U.S. State Department of State In early November, the State Department advised Eksteen and was informed that he could apply to seek a remedy under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which he did.

The U.S. and Paraguay in 2008 entered into a partnership under the treaty, which provides an avenue of recourse when a child has been wrongfully taken to Paraguay. – which establishes a legal framework that is an avenue of recourse when a child has been wrongfully retained in Paraguay.

In a communication dated Nov. 5, 2013, from Jeff Dawkins, Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. State Department, A foreign court reviewing a Hague application is likely to look at the custodial rights as they existed at the time of removal, a State Department official told Eksteen.

Eksteen said that during the three years before Berdichevsky’s departure, when living in Long Valley for the last three years, his son spent half his time with his mother and half of the time with him.

Berdichevsky said that while living in Long Valley, Berdichevsky said she worked as a housekeeper and cook.

Eksteen owns Long Valley Auto Works, a repair shop.

“His mother put him on the bus in the morning, and every day after school we spent time together and during football season – at his games. He also spent every weekend with me,” Eksteen said.

In an e-mail dated Aug. 11, Elizabeth Finan, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Consular Affairs Press Office, stated that it is the bureau’s policy not to said the bureau doesn’t discuss the specifics of individual cases with members of the media but they are it is aware of the case and providing all possible assistance.

In general, Finan said that international parental child abduction is a crime under the laws of the United States and many foreign countries. In some cases, an abducting parent may be charged with a federal crime under the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act, she said.

In an email to Eksteen, Michael A. Goldschmidt, country officer for with the Office of Children’s Issues for the State Department, said that Keanu’s case file is at the office of the judge presiding over the matter in is awaiting action from a judge in Paraguay and awaiting his judgment on what should happen next.

Parsippany-based family law expert Bari Weinberger, who is not connected to the Eksteen case but has experience in international child custody disputes, said Paraguay could honor a New Jersey court order requiring the boy be returned to the United States but it also could determine that the boy now is domiciled in that country and that it they have has jurisdiction over the matter.

“If Paraguay is honorable to the Hague pact, the reality is they need to give full faith and credit to (the New Jersey) court order and surrender that child,” Weinberger said.

In the Morris County case involving the Mendham Township man whose wife took their children to Uzbekistan, a judge made multiple rulings ruled repeatedly that New Jersey had jurisdiction and ordered the wife to return the children. But the court orders were ignored until the ex-couple made private arrangements for the children to visit with their father in America.

In the Nigerian case, the husband, Longy Anyanwu, ignored a judicial order to produce his daughters and was kept in the Morris County Jail for nearly five years on a contempt of court charge.

A judge ultimately appointed a special master of Nigerian ethnicity, who promptly traveled overseas and found one daughter living with her uncle in Lagos. The second daughter had died of an intestinal disorder in the country. The Morris County judge had a teleconference with the daughter, who clarified said that she wished to remain living in Nigeria with her father’s relatives.

Eksteen said that during the last 10 months his case has been passed along, and his frustration is mounting.

“I would do anything for my son,” Eksteen he said. “I just miss him so much. I look at all of his toys, and they just sit there idle. I wish I could make breakfast for him and spend time with him. This is just killing me.”

 

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ARREST MADE, CHILDREN RETURNED TO FATHER IN PARENTAL ABDUCTION CASE


January 8 , 2014

Source: carsonvalleytimes.com

by Sgt. Pat Brooks, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Minden, Nevada – The ongoing investigation of a parental abduction of two children, missing since November 21, 2013 has concluded with the arrest of Kathryn Ann Moore and the safe recovery of the two children Patricia Read and William Moore.

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The arrest of Moore was made possible by a joint investigation between the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshals Offices in Reno, NV, and the states of Oklahoma and Washington.

Sheriff Ron Pierini wants to express that he has set a priority for missing children cases and wants to extend his gratitude to the Investigation Division for the dedication to follow leads and utilize assets in the location of the children.

Investigator Chrzanowski would like to thank the US Marshals Office for providing personnel to assist in following up leads outside the state of Nevada…thank you.

Moore was located in a family member’s home in Colville, Washington. No injuries were reported. Moore is pending extradition from the State of Washington.  The children will be released to the father, by the US Marshals.

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This was the initial report from last month:

inden, Nevada – Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a parental abduction of two children, missing since November 21, 2013.

According to reports, Kathryn Ann Moore (44 years old from Wellington, NV) was scheduled to appear in District Court for the scheduled child exchange of 5 year old Patricia Brite Read and 2 year old William Jesse Moore, to their father Richard Read (Gardnerville, NV), who has joint custody of the children. Kathryn did not appear in court for this exchange. Attempts to contact Kathryn have been unsuccessful and a recent visit to her home has indicated that she has left with the children.

On December 11, 2013, a nationwide felony warrant of arrest for Child Concealment has been issued for Kathryn Moore and the children have been entered into National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database as missing.

Kathryn is believed to be driving a full size blue 1985 Chevrolet van bearing Nevada plates 270YRY.

Kathryn has family in Tomball Texas, Tuolumne California, La Pine Oregon, St. Helens Oregon, Portland Oregon, Vancouver Washington, Longview Washington and Concord North Carolina.

It is believed the children are not in danger at this time, therefore this does not meet the requirements of an Amber Alert. Information on the children has been provided to The Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Anyone who has information as to the location of Kathryn Moore and/or the children is asked to contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.

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My partner abducted my child: the parents left behind


September 23 September 2013

Source: Theguardian.com

Last year alone, more than 500 children were abducted from the UK by one of their parents. We speak to some of the mothers and fathers left behind

Louise Monaghan with daughter May in Cyprus

 

Louise Monaghan with her daughter, May, in Cyprus: ‘We’ll change our names, move. If you want to get lost, you can.’ Photograph: Eirini Vourloumis for the Guardian

When Louise Monaghan rang her former husband’s phone, her worst fears were confirmed: it went straight to an international ring tone. He had fled the country with their six-year-old daughter, May. The police in Cyprus, where Louise lived, didn’t seem overly interested; it was just another domestic that would sort itself out. Nor did the government back home in Ireland: no, they couldn’t arrange an emergency passport for May without her father’s signature. Louise protested that this was the man who had absconded with her daughter. Sorry, she was told, rules are rules.

She had been divorced from Mostafa for less than a year. During their seven-year relationship, he regularly beat her; on one occasion, when he punched her unconscious, he thought he had killed her. Eventually, she found the courage to press charges, and then begged the judge for leniency; Mostafa had told her he would have her and May killed if he went to prison. He was given a suspended sentence, and his access to May continued, three days a week, three hours a day. Louise says May hated her time with him. She had panic attacks and developed trichotillomania, a compulsion to pull out your own hair. “She had a big bald spot.”

After they divorced, he stalked Louise, hiding in bushes beneath her apartment, following her in his car, terrifying her. She warned her daughter as gently as she could. She never used the word kidnap, nor did she suggest that May’s father was a bad man, but she did say there was one thing her father wasn’t allowed to do. “I told her time and time again, if your father ever takes you to an airport or a ferry, please scream and shout and go to the nearest adult and say, can you please call my mama? She knew my number off by heart. We practised it all the time. So when he took her, I thought, please God, do what I said.”

The phone continued to ring out. Eventually, Mostafa answered and calmly told her they were about to cross the border into war-torn Syria, where he was from. “I said, ‘Do you have May?’ and he said, ‘Of course I have May. We’re going to live in Syria.’ I said, ‘Can I speak to her?’ When she came on the phone, she was so distraught I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I said, ‘May, speak slowly, where have you been?’ And she said, ‘In a big shopping mall, Mummy.’ I said, ‘May, were there planes there?’ And she started crying and saying, ‘Yes, Mama.'”

The story that followed is the stuff of thrillers. Indeed, Louise’s book,Stolen: Escape From Syria, is being made into a film. But there is nothing thrilling about the way she recounts it. She crossed a heavily guarded Syrian border, fooled Mostafa into thinking she still loved him, was beaten, starved and held captive by him, betrayed by the people-smugglers she had paid to rescue them, and then escaped with her daughter across the mountains into Lebanon through bomb attacks and sniper fire.

Two years on, Louise is back living in Cyprus. May is at school and life is returning to a kind of normality. We meet in Dublin, at her sister Mandy’s home. May is a pretty eight-year-old with long, dark hair and an uncertain smile. I look at her and find it hard to comprehend what she has been through. Perhaps the only giveaway is her silence.

Louise is undergoing intense psychotherapy. She talks about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child, how introverted she became, the death of her mother in a car crash, her first marriage to a man who was more friend than lover. She is trying to put things into context, she says, explaining how she ended up with a man like Mostafa.

In her late 20s, she left Ireland for Cyprus and became a successful travel sales consultant, before setting up a hair salon. She drove two cars, had a good income and a great circle of friends. Then she met Mostafa. “I don’t like to say his name,” she says quietly. She seems embarrassed, ashamed even, that she fell in love with him.

“He was a good-looking guy, let’s be honest about it,” Mandy says as her sister struggles. “He came over from Cyprus to Ireland, to the local pub, and you should have seen the carry-on from my friends.”

“Even after the kidnapping, friends said to me, ‘It’s such a shame, because he was a gorgeous-looking man,'” Louise says.

From the start Mostafa was controlling, but she told herself she was lucky to have a man who cared for her so passionately. Yes, she was aware that they came from very different cultures – she was Irish Catholic, he was Syrian Sunni Muslim – but that wasn’t going to get in the way of love. “Then I married him and I became his property.”

After the abduction, Mandy flew to Cyprus to be with Louise and work out a rescue plan. They flew to southern Turkey and drove to Hatay, a province bordering Syria, where Louise put on her hijab and left Mandy. On 12 September 2011, five days after Mostafa had abducted May, she walked into Syria, passing thousands of people fleeing in the opposite direction. When Louise was reunited with May, she learned her daughter had been beaten on to the plane. “On her arms, her thighs. She still had bruises where he grabbed her arms.”

Louise and May spent five weeks in Syria. Often, Mostafa would leave her locked in a dark room and take May with him. “I presume it was to see his parents. I think he did it to torture me, to show me he was the boss. I thought I’d never see her again.”

She lost a stone. Mandy says that when they came back to Ireland, May looked even worse than her mother. “She had these terrible black rings under her eyes.” And now? “She doesn’t like talking about it. She very rarely mentions it. She might twitch at something.” Despite this, Louise says May told her therapist she still loves her father.

“You know what?” Mandy says, out of nowhere. “I haven’t read the book.” She’s happily buttering a piece of toast in the kitchen, and the next second is in floods of tears. “It’s just too horrific. I hate to think they went through all that.” Now Louise is crying, too.

A month after Louise and May returned home, Mostafa was apprehended trying to escape Syria over the Turkish border. He was jailed for two weeks and was due to be extradited to Cyprus on charges of abduction. But Syria was mid-collapse, and he was let go. There is currently an international warrant for his arrest.

It is almost impossible to get accurate statistics on parental child abduction. Last year, Foreign and Commonwealth Office statisticsrevealed that there had been an 88% increase in the number of parental child abduction cases it had dealt with in less than a decade – from 272 in 2003/4 to 512 in 2011/12. These figures almost certainly understate the problem because they are based only on official police investigations. Although the common perception is that more men than women abduct children, in 2011 Reunite, a charity that supports victims of international parental child abduction, found that 70% of parental abductions in the UK were by women, most of whom had followed their partner to the UK and returned home when the relationship soured.

Neil Winnington

 

Neil Winnington: ‘All I can do is leave a trail for her online – films, songs, blogs, poems – and hope she follows it.’ Photograph: Shaw + Shaw for the Guardian

If you look on Myspace, there is a beautiful video of a red-haired two-year-old at the seaside, eating ice-cream, bouncing on a trampoline, making sandcastles with her father. The film was made in May 2008, two months before Neil Winnington’s daughter Emily was taken to Russia by her mother. He was assured they would return to Wrexham after the holiday, but he didn’t believe her. After all, Neil claims, she had previously threatened to take Emily back to Russia for good, saying that if he didn’t give her half his earnings, she would never allow him to visit. “She had said she’d go to the Russian courts and have my name removed from the birth certificate. Emily wouldn’t even know she had a British father.”

Neil doesn’t have a clue what Emily looks like today, or where she’s living: “25 September is five years to the day since I saw her.” He assumes she wouldn’t recognise him. All he can do, he says, is leave a trail for her online, in the form of films, songs, blogs, poems and photos, and hope that one days she follows it.

As with most cases of abduction, Neil’s story is one-sided. His former wife (he doesn’t say her name; she is “Emily’s mother”) is unavailable for comment because she has disappeared; he assumes they are both still in Russia, but doesn’t know. The British government hasn’t been much help either, he says: “Three years ago, the Christmas and birthday presents all started coming back with ‘incorrect address’ marked on them. When the cutbacks started to bite at the Foreign Office, any attempt to contact Emily was stopped. When they did send somebody for a consular visit, Emily’s mum refused to let them even take photographs for me.”

Although Russia has just signed up to the 1996 Hague convention, which states that abducted children should be returned to their habitual country of residence, it will consider only retrospective cases that occurred within the previous year. “So the estimated 150 children, including Emily, who were abducted to Russia prior to that will get no help,” Neil says. He doesn’t know who, or where, to turn to now.

Neil says it’s ironic, really. He has travelled all over the world as a TV producer, but met Emily’s mother in Birkenhead, just a few miles from his parents’ home. She returned to Russia to give birth to Emily, and that’s when things started to go wrong. “I think she had postnatal depression and her mother started sowing seeds of doubt.” The marriage fell apart when he discovered she had been having an affair.

After Emily was taken, Neil stopped working. He got into £20,000-worth of debt, lost his home and car, and stopped going out. “I had a complete nervous breakdown. To be honest, I’ve just learned to control it. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Even if Emily came back tomorrow… I’ve spoken to other parents: they expect their children to be snatched again. It never, ever leaves you.” His speech is broken. “I was a recluse for two years. I couldn’t face seeing children. If a child cries – even to this day, in a supermarket – it brings me to tears.”

Like the other parents I speak to, Neil knows his abduction statistics by heart. “In 2011, Reunite received calls about 512 different cases, involving 700-plus children. And the numbers are rising each year. It was 300 the year Emily was abducted.”

Why is the number rising? “If I’m blunt about it, the growing media and political antipathy towards foreigners is driving a lot of people apart. It gave Emily’s mother ammunition to say they weren’t wanted here.” Was there any truth in that? “There are always people who’ll look for a reason.”

He says he is in a slightly better state now. He has just started a new job, is campaigning for Reunite, and has convinced himself that one day Emily will turn up on his doorstep.

Has he been in a relationship? “I’m staying single for the rest of my life,” he says forcefully. “It would be a betrayal of Emily. If she came back and found me with another family, I don’t think I could forgive myself.” But he could have another family and still love her? “No, because she is what I always wanted. If I’d had another family, it would have meant that I’d stopped fighting.”

Catherine Meyer

 

Catherine Meyer: ‘My boys are always small in my dreams. They’re with me and either taken away or in danger.’ Photograph: Lydia Goldblatt for the Guardian

On the surface, Catherine Meyer says life couldn’t be better. She is married to a wonderful man (Christopher Meyer, the former ambassador to Germany and Washington), she has two grown-up boys of whom she is hugely proud and a successful career in the City behind her – and yet the past still haunts her.

It is 19 years since her two sons, Alexander and Constantin, then nine and seven, were taken by her former husband. Strictly speaking, they were not abducted: they were wrongfully retained. The boys had gone to visit their father in Germany, and he refused to let them return.

We meet at Catherine’s beautiful London town house, which is currently being overhauled; the one room that is operational serves as the office from which she runs Pact, a charity she set up to help victims of abduction. Like Louise Monaghan, she has written a book about her experience, called They Are My Children, Too. Left-behind parents often feel the need to chronicle their experience, partly for themselves and partly in the hope that their children will be able to make sense of it one day.

A slight, elegant woman, Catherine looks both much younger, and occasionally older, than her 60 years. She is in tears before her first sentence is out. Half-French, half-Russian, she grew up largely in Britain, and spent time in America and Africa. She was 29 and one of only three women working on London’s Stock Exchange when she went on a road trip to visit her sister in the south of France. At a service station, a man smiled at her. Then she saw him at another service station, and it turned out they were visiting the same place. “He was very good-looking, German, blond, blue eyes. He was a doctor, did something useful. I thought, wow!”

They moved to London and married. When he became homesick, she agreed to move to Germany for two years. They lived with his mother in the small town of Verden, near Bremen. Two years became seven, and Catherine decided she’d had enough. She returned to London in 1993, where she was awarded custody of the boys; the agreement was that they would spend the school holidays with their father, which is how it worked out, until the following year, when she received a 21-page letter from him. “He said, ‘It’s not me, it’s the children, they are begging to stay with me. I’m not doing this against you, I’m doing this to be nice to the children.’ He was already preparing his legal case. And the whole world crashes.”

As with Louise, every date is imprinted on Catherine’s mind. “I said, ‘If you don’t send them back on 28 August, I will consider this wrongful retention under article 3 of the Hague convention.'” Alexander and Constantin were made wards of court, and an order was made for them to return to the UK; but the local German court successfully argued that the children were victims of racism in Britain, and that the “children have decisively opposed such return”. Over the next 10 years, Catherine saw her children half a dozen times, for a few hours on each occasion; in all, she says, she spent 24 hours with them. She dedicated her life to their return. She spent more than £200,000 on lawyers, and lost everything. She explored every avenue, analysed 22 other cases of abduction in Germany, examined every inconsistency in the legal arguments. In 1997, four years after losing her children, she lobbied Christopher Meyer, then ambassador to Germany, for help. “He always says, ‘This poor woman came in to try to get some help, and I knew I couldn’t help her. So I did the second best thing and married her.'” She smiles.

She believes the boys became convinced that she had abandoned them. One day she took a plane to Germany and waited outside their school. When they saw her, they ran in the opposite direction and got into a car. “The first time I saw Alexander, at the second court hearing, he greeted me by hitting me.” She aims a punch at her own stomach to illustrate.

How did this change her? “I lost my job and by now I was weighing 45 kilos. I wasn’t eating and I couldn’t sleep because my hip bones were so painful, sticking out.” She looks into her coffee, then directly at me. “I used to be quite amusing, actually, when I was young. Now I cannot stay still – I have to be busy. That’s a sign I see in a lot of parents. They become workaholics, or depressives. I have two people who committed suicide, and one ended up in the loony bin. You can feel sorry for yourself and go deeper and deeper into yourself. Or you can work and work.”

The most painful loss, she says, was physical. “Touching them. Feeling them. I constantly had nightmares. Still have them. They are always small in dreams, they’re with me in London, and they’re either being taken away or they’re in danger.”

How did she win her case? She didn’t, she says: “There was an angel.” A man living near her boys in Germany heard her story and wrote to her. He got in touch with Alexander, told him his mother still loved him and was desperate to see him. He passed on her address. Aged 19, Alexander visited his mother in London for the first time in 10 years. Constantin followed soon after. “I was incredibly nervous. How will they react? What will they think of me? Shall I speak French, shall I speak English? We sat on the tube, looking at each other rather than saying anything.”

Alexander is now 28 and a maths PhD student in Berlin. Constantin is 26 and studying to be a doctor in Hamburg. They visit regularly. Do the boys consider they were abducted? “We don’t talk about this… Possibly not. They are boys, and boys tend to look forward rather than back.” Does she think they will want to talk about it? “Yes. With Alexander it has come up. We’ve had some conversations and he’s said he doesn’t really want to go there, but maybe one day he will.”

Alexander was nine when he was taken, just old enough for his mother to start to see who he might grow into. Constantin was still a baby in her eyes. “He was a gorgeous little blond boy when he left, and suddenly he’s a young man with hair on his arms. It’s difficult. You’ve missed 10 years of your child growing up, very formative years. We’re rebuilding.”

She attributes the dramatic increase in the number of parental abductions to an increase in international marriages, a greater number of divorces and the fact that today’s family courts are less clear cut when it comes to child custody; in the past, it was assumed they would stay with their mother. The biggest problem, she says, is lawyers with a financial interest in prolonging divorce conflict, and parents who think of their children as possessions. “The trouble is, parents think they have rights to their children. You produce them, they didn’t ask to be in the world, the only thing you do have is responsibility to raise them properly and give them the love they need.”

I ask if she is capable of feeling joy these days. “Seeing my children is wonderful. Christopher says my face lights up when I see them.” She pauses. “I used to say I’d like to just drill a hole in my head and take some of this stuff out, this anxiety, this hyperness.” She still feels that? “Oh, yes.”

Rachel Neustadt

 

Rachel Neustadt: ‘They don’t remember English any more. My son couldn’t remember how to say goodnight.’ Photograph: Lydia Goldblatt for the Guardian

Rachel Neustadt says she’s lucky. Then again, luck is relative. Nine months ago, her ex-husband abducted her two oldest boys, Daniel Jakob, seven, and Jonathan, five. We meet in early September, a few days before she is due to fly to Russia to fight in court for their return.

Six months after the boys were taken, in June 2013, Russia signed up to the 1996 Hague convention. The earlier 1980 convention had ruled that countries had to individually ratify with each other for a child to be returned to the country from which they were taken, but the 1996 model states that countries need only to have signed up for it to be applied. The old convention would not have helped Rachel; the new one should see her children return. Hers will be a test case, the first to use the new legislation for an abduction from the UK to Russia.

Rachel and Ilya met at a wedding in Vienna. They had much in common: both were orthodox Jews, with Belarusian family; both had been brought up in a number of countries and were economists. He was studying for a PhD, she was working for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. They married, had two boys and raised them bilingual, speaking English (she is American) and Russian. They married in Germany, lived in Switzerland, then moved to England. Over time, she says, Ilya became unreasonable and abusive. In what way? “Almost every way.”

In 2011, after eight years of marriage, Rachel decided enough was enough. She was pregnant with their third child when she filed for divorce. She says she tried to make the split as amicable as possible. Legally, she didn’t have to allow him to take the boys on holiday, but she wanted to normalise the relationship. He suggested taking the boys to see his brother in Russia. She knows that should have rung an alarm bell: he had not been back to Russia for two decades. He then suggested getting the boys a Russian passport because it was cheaper than a visa, and that meant they would be able to visit their cousins every year. “I went to the embassy and signed all the papers to get them Russian passports.” She shakes her head in disbelief. She gave the trip her blessing, and the boys never came back.

This is the most common circumstance in which children are abducted by a parent, during contact time. Astonishingly, Rachel says, if the left-behind parent has given the other parent permission to take a child on holiday, it is not even a crime; “wrongful retention” is a civil offence. As with most male abductors, Ilya has been helped by his mother; she has moved from Germany to Russia to help bring up the boys.

Why did he take them? “He said they’re his kids, he brought them to England, he can take them whenever he wants.”

He didn’t see the boys as their children? “Well, he’s always seen them as his possessions. He doesn’t really see them as humans with rights and feelings. He said we live in Russia now, and we don’t need anything else. The kids don’t need a mother, they don’t need you. I’m their mother and their father. He’s tried to coax me into bringing our third son to Russia to see his brothers, so he can abduct him, too.”

At first, Rachel says, Ilya allowed her a weekly phone call, but he would keep her waiting for hours, and then the calls tailed off. If she said anything personal or loving to the boys, the line would go dead. The last time she spoke to them, she felt they were no longer used to regular conversation. “They’ve lost a lot of their ability to communicate. They don’t remember English any more. Their father said to Jonathan, ‘Say goodnight to your mum in English’ and he couldn’t even remember how to say the words.”

The walls of her north London home are covered with mementoes of the boys – a crayoned drawing with the words “I like crackers” by Jonathan, pictures of the union and Israeli flags, a certificate Daniel Jakob won for a spelling competition, photographs of them dressed up as sword-wielding Normans.

Rachel is composed until I ask what such an experience does to a parent. She swallows between half-sentences and takes deep breaths. “Most mothers, when they put their kids to bed and they see them sleeping, they hover for a moment. Before you walk out of the room for the night, you tend to wait, because you know you’re going to miss them until morning. So it’s that feeling multiplied by 24 hours a day. I’m just waiting…” She is barely audible now. “It’s horrific.” Every parent I meet cries in the same way: mid-conversation, without warning, silently, uncontrollably.

The days are worse than the nights, Rachel says. “That’s when you’re constantly cleaning chins and tying shoes and doing homework. All the stuff you do every second with kids.” But she says the overwhelming feeling is not one of missing the boys: it is of panic that they might be damaged, and horror that she has failed to protect them.

She sleeps four hours a night, if she’s lucky, between 3am and 7am. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling it a night when I know if I did a couple more things I might be more successful in bringing them home.” How does she get through the days? “I’m very busy working for them. I don’t have much time. I try not to distract myself with emotions, because I have a job to do. Paperwork to file, phone calls to make. It is a full-time job. If people ask me, I say I’m a full-time student of international abduction law.” She allows herself a rare smile.

Has this changed her as a person? “Yes. In many ways, actually. My ex was unreasonable in so many ways, and I thought that if I just kept being reasonable, he’d come round. Now I think what I did was naive. I guess, in an abusive relationship, it’s called enabling behaviour. Ultimately, I realised it’s up to me to defend the interests of the family and not allow someone like him to destroy us.”

I ask if I can see the boys’ bedroom. “Sure,” she says. Her mother, who has come over from America to support her, is in there playing with her baby son, Meyer, and a toy bus. There is a double bed and a single bed. Rachel points to the double. “Daniel Jakob likes this bed because he rolls about in his sleep.”

“Yes, he does!’ his grandma says, laughing.

What have the past nine months been like for her, the boys’ grandmother? Her face collapses and tears roll down her cheeks; she ushers my tape recorder away.

We play with the bus, Rachel sings London Bridge to Meyer and calm is restored. Well, I say, hopefully the boys will be back soon. Rachel’s mother blinks back her tears. “They will be… they will be!” she says.

Back in Dublin, Louise Monaghan says that, while it is wonderful to have May back, the family are not yet at peace. After their escape, Mostafa rang her sister Mandy and promised he would track down Louise and May.

“Even now, not knowing where he is, you’re still living in danger, still sleeping with one eye open,” Mandy says.

Where do they think he is?

Mandy: “Hopefully he’s died. I know that’s not nice.”

Louise: “In my heart, I think he got out. He has family who love him in Dubai and Qatar.”

How does she feel when Mandy says she hopes he’s dead? “We’ve had that discussion. I have mixed feelings. My overriding feeling is I want peace. When I heard that he had been arrested and was being flown back to Cyprus, my biggest fear was that, if he was languishing in a Cypriot prison, I would have to get out of here because he would organise for me to be killed. I have no doubt about that.”

The family are planning a fresh start. Louise and May do not believe they are safe in Cyprus, nor Mandy and her family in Ireland. They will move together to a new country, as yet undecided. “New identity,” Louise says. “Change our appearance, change our names, move somewhere else, whatever. If you want to get lost, you can get lost.”

Just before going to press, I receive an email from Rachel Neustadt in Russia. While Ilya has argued in court that the boys are frightened of London and do not want to live with their mother, the court has ruled that they should be returned to the UK: a landmark decision. Ilya has 15 days to appeal. Rachel’s relief is palpable, as is her fear. “I wish I could hold my sons in my arms right now, but it is still unclear how to gain access to them. Today is Daniel Jakob’s half-birthday – he’s seven and a half. We have not reached the end of this nightmare, but today’s decision was crucial. I have no idea, nor do I want to imagine, how much longer this might take. I suspect we have a difficult road ahead of us.”

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Breaking News: A gunman has shot “several” people at the Washington Navy Yard


September 16, 2013

Source: CNN and BBC

A gunman dressed in all black fired shots Monday inside the U.S. Navy Yard, injuring at least 10 people, according to the Navy and a Washington police spokesman.

The U.S. Navy tweeted there are “several confirmed injuries with reports of fatalities.”

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The injured included a Washington, D.C., police officer who has been hospitalized, and another law officer not affiliated with the city force, said Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Chris Kelly.

The incident occurred at 8:20 a.m. when several shots were fired inside the headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command in southeast Washington, D.C. An “active shooter” remained inside the building, the Navy said.

Kelly described the suspect as an adult male, about 6 feet tall with a bald head and medium complexion, dressed in a black top and black jeans.

The Navy confirmed police had entered an office building in search of a gunman, after shots were fired at 08:20 local time (13:20 GMT).

Local news agencies said as many as three people were wounded, including one police officer.

Personnel at the yard have been ordered to “shelter in place”, the Navy said.

The US Navy said shots were reported to have been fired at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters at the yard in south-east Washington DC.

Cmdr Tim Juris was on the fourth floor of the building when he heard shots, he told the BBC.

“It sounded like a tap gun as opposed to a real gun,” he said.

Dozens of emergency vehicles have converged on the site, and helicopters have been flying overhead.

President Barack Obama has been briefed on the matter by top officials and has directed federal agencies to co-ordinate their response efforts.

As many as 3,000 people work at the command, which engineers, purchases, builds and maintains ships and submarines for the Navy.

The Washington Navy Yard is the US Navy’s oldest shore installation, first opened in the early 19th Century, according to the Navy.

 

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Contact us here: Mail 

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NOTE: We are always available 24/7

1-800-847-2315 US Toll free Number
0-808-189-0066 UK Toll Free Number
800-11-618        Norway Toll Free Number

Worldwide International Number: +31-208112223

Worldwide 24/7 Emergency Number: +34 633 374 629

Abe tells Obama Japan will join child abduction treaty


February 23, 2013

Source: Japan Today

WASHINGTON —

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday that Tokyo would join a treaty on child abductions, addressing a major concern for lawmakers in Washington.

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Japan is the only member of the Group of Eight major industrialized nations that has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires nations to return snatched children to the countries where they usually reside.

“From the perspective of children, there is an increasing number of international marriages, meaning that there will be some cases where marriages will break down. Therefore we believe it is important to have international rules,” Abe told reporters after talks with Obama.

“We will make efforts in the Diet so that the Convention can be approved. I delivered this message to the president,” Abe told reporters after his meeting with Obama.

However, Abe did not set a timeframe. The previous DPJ government also said it wanted to enter the treaty but did not move ratification through the Diet.

Unlike Western nations, Japan does not recognize joint custody and courts almost always order that children of divorcees live with their mothers.

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

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

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CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION


CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION

The following information is excerpted from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

In light of the high profile abductions of several children, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) encourages families not to panic. Instead, parents need to empower themselves with information that can help protect their children.

CHILD ABDUCTION: STATISTICS

  • Parental abductions and runaway cases make up the majority of missing children in the United States. In 2002 there were about 797,500 children reported missing, or nearly 2,185 per day. The vast majority of these cases were recovered quickly; however, the parent or guardian was concerned enough to contact law enforcement and they placed the child into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center – a computerized national database of criminal justice information. It is available to Federal, state and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies.
  • Each year there are about 3,000 to 5,000 non-family abductions reported to police, most of which are short term sexually-motivated cases. About 200 to 300 of these cases, or 6 percent, make up the most serious cases where the child was murdered, ransomed or taken with the intent to keep.
  • The NCMEC analyzed more than 4200 attempted abductions from February 2005 to March 2010 and found that 38% of attempted abductions occur while a child is walking alone to or from school, riding the school bus or riding a bicycle; 37% of attempted abductions occur between the hours of 2:00pm through 7:00pm on a weekday; 43% of attempted abductions involve children between the ages of 10 and 14; 72% of attempted abduction victims are female; 68% of attempted abductions involve the suspect driving a vehicle.
  • Research shows that of the 58,000 non-family abductions each year 63% involved a friend, long-term acquaintance, neighbor, caretaker, baby sitter or person of authority; only 37% involved a stranger.

SAFETY TIPS FOR PARENTS:

  • Be sure to go over the rules with your children about whose homes they can visit when you’re not there and discuss the boundaries of where they can and can’t go in the neighborhood.
  • Always listen to your children and keep the lines of communication open. Teach your children to get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away, and practice role-playing and basic safety skills with them.
  • Teach your children in whose car they may ride. Children should be cautioned never to approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent or trusted adult.
  • Make sure children know their names, address, telephone numbers and how to use the telephone.
  • Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends and neighbors.

SAFETY TIPS FOR CHILDREN:

  • Always check first with your parents or the person in charge before you go anywhere or do anything.
  • Always take a friend when you play or go somewhere.
  • Don’t be tricked by adults who offer you special treats or gifts or ask you for help.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no and get away from any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or confused. Trust your feelings.
  • Don’t get into a car or go near a car with someone in it unless you are with your parents or a trusted adult.
  • Never take a ride from someone without checking first with your parents.
  • Never go into a public restroom by yourself.
  • Never go alone to the mall, movies, video arcades or parks.
  • Stay safe when you’re home alone by keeping the door locked. Do not open the door for or talk to anyone who stops by unless the person is a trusted family friend or relative.

INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL ABDUCTION

In situations where parents have not resolved the issue of child custody, and one of the parents has ties to another country, there is the risk that that parent might take the child with them to a foreign country. Parents who are in this situation can find useful information about international parental abduction in “A Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping” published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

For emergency assistance contact:

ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

The goal of ABP World Group Ltd. 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.

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Parental Child Abduction and Abducted Children Recovery


Christmas holidays – A time for parental child abductions

The holiday season sees a sharp rise in the number of parental abductions in Australia.  With emotions running high between separated and divorced parents during the Christmas/New Year period, a small number of parents will take the drastic step of abducting their own children.  Most of these children are eventually recovered, but a small number of parents will experience the agony of never seeing their children again. Read more below.

The number of British children abducted by one of their parents and taken abroad is set to double as the holidays start, the Foreign Office has warned.

Read more here: The Telegraph

Airlines Sued for Their Role in Parental Child Abduction

Read more here:Lawdiva’s Blog

Steps You can Take To Prevent Parental Child Abduction

Read the article here: ABP World Group Ltd`s Blog

Parental Child Abduction – Lesson 1

Parental Child Abduction – Lesson 2

For Help and assistance: ABP World Group international recovery services

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ABP World Group international child recovery service


ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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 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.

We also provide:

• Executive protection
• Close protection high or low profile
• Surveillance
• Investigation
• Security consulting
• Medical services
• Anti kidnap logistics and planning
• Abducted and missing children recovery
• Missing person investigations
• Panic room / Safe room construction
• Risk Management

For more information, visit our web site: www.abpworld.com

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service ( Child Abduction)


We can locate, negotiate and retreave your children from any country in the world.

We specialize in locating missing children up to ages 18.

Areas of expertise: International 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 periode.
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

We understand that your case investigation needs to be tailored to your pacific circumstances and must changing as the mission evolves.

happy-children

ABP World Group provides Close Protection services, surveillance and investigation worldwide.Our personnel are discrete and professional, with international training and experience.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

U.S