Moldova: Kidnapped baby’s mother detained


After the detention of the father and two other suspects in the case of the 12-day-old baby that had been kidnapped and was to be trafficked out of the country, the baby’s mother was also detained for 72 hours.

According to, the mother is prosecuted for “illegal removal of children from the country”, and today prosecutors will charge her with the “child trafficking” offense, for which the woman risks a prison term of 10 – 12 years.

On February 15, three other suspects in the case were detained at Leuseni crossing point, including the baby’s father and a German citizen.

Preliminary investigations established that the baby came from a socially vulnerable family with other three dependent children, while the father had been previously prosecuted for robbery. Both of the child’s parents are from Balti.

According to the IPN, the newborn was placed in a care and rehabilitation center for young children in Chisinau and the other three children will be taken by the social welfare authorities in Balti. The source adds that, so far, the guardianship and prosecution authorities did not request termination of parental rights.

Recall that the baby-kidnapping attempt took place on February 15. The baby was to be taken to Germany. Three people, two men with dual citizenships that of Moldova and Romania, and a citizen of Germany, were noticed at the Leuseni crossing point. There was also a child, born on 3 February this year, with them. The accompanying people were not the child’s relatives, but one of them had a notarized consent for departure with the purpose of having a rest in EU, signed by the child’s father.

USA: Washington Boys Reunited with Dad Six Months After Going Missing, Mom Charged with Kidnapping



A Washington family is “ecstatic” following their reunion Friday with their sons, who had been missing for six months following what the FBI alleged was a kidnapping by their mother.

Isaac and Sage Cook, 9 and 15, were found in Sinaloa, Mexico, and returned to Bellevue Friday, the FBI’s Seattle division said in a statement.

They were reunited with their father, David Cook (who has legal custody of the boys), and stepmother, Helen Cook, in Mexico earlier that day, according to the FBI.

Their mother, Faye Hsin-I Ku, has been charged in Washington with felony custodial interference and with international parental kidnapping, a federal crime, according to the FBI.

Authorities have accused her of illegally crossing from San Diego into Tijuana on Aug. 29.

A federal complaint and arrest warrant were also issued Friday by the United States District Court, Central District of California, according to the FBI.

Ku has been extradited from Mexico and will appear in federal court on Tuesday, in L.A., according to the FBI.

Faye Ku

Isaac and Sage were last seen at the Los Angeles International Airport, on Aug. 28, after arriving from Washington, according to an earlier Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lakewood Station statement

The boys had traveled to Lakewood, California, that Friday in 2015 for a “supervised visit” with Ku, according to the sheriff’s statement.

She and David divorced in 2009, according to the statement.

The sheriff’s office alleged that “the investigation revealed Ms. Ku presented what appeared to be a ‘supervised visit’ court order issued by the State of Washington to the missing children’s father, and he reasonably relied on what he thought was a legitimate order,” according to the statement.

The sheriff’s office claimed that “Ms. Ku intentionally left behind personal belongings at her place of residence that would prevent law enforcement from tracking her whereabouts.”

“In a prepared a letter, she blamed the children’s father for trying to control them, and asked him to leave them alone,” the sheriff’s office alleged.

But on Friday, the Cook family and law enforcement celebrated a successful, safe reunion.

“This six-month international kidnapping investigation by the FBI’s Seattle Division comes to a positive conclusion due to the efforts made by and extraordinary partnerships with Legat Mexico City, INM, the FBI’s Los Angeles Division” and the “Bellevue Police Department and the Lakewood Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,” according to the FBI’s statement.

“David and I are ecstatic to announce that Sage and Isaac have been found safe and are home in Bellevue tonight,” Helen wrote on Facebook. “We are so grateful to the FBI in Seattle and in Mexico for all they did to make this happen.

“And to all the wonderful people who kept us going for the last five months by supporting us through this page and in many other ways. Thank you all.”

Japan: Japanese courts rule Minnesota children will stay in Japan



A Japanese court ruled Friday that Minnesota-born children in the middle of an international custody dispute can remain in Japan (the third largest abductor of US children.)

James Cook and Hitomi Arimitsu have been arguing over whether Japan or the United States is the home country of their four children.

The couple’s case has wound for more than two years through the courts of Japan. Friday’s ruling overturns earlier legal action that established the United States as children’s official residence.

In July 2014, Arimitsu, a Japanese citizen, took the couple’s four children — two sets of twins aged 8 and 13 — on a vacation to Japan. The couple had been working through a difficult patch in their relationship, and agreed that a six-week trip to visit their grandparents in Japan would be a good break for the children and their mother.

More than two years later, Arimitsu and the children still haven’t returned to the United States, and she and Cook have been battling in the courts for their children’s custody.

The Hague Convention, an international agreement signed by Japan and the United States, allowed Cook access to the Japanese court system. The court ruled in January 2015 that the children should return to Minnesota. Meanwhile, that same year, Cook filed for a divorce from Arimitsu through the Hennepin County Courts system. A judge there granted him temporary custody of the children as part of the process.

Since then, Arimitsu has refused to return the children to the United States, which has left her in contempt of the Japanese and Minnesota court orders.

Friday’s decision overturns the Japanese court’s 2015 ruling. The Osaka District Court Friday agreed with a petition filed by Arimitsu last month, in which she wrote she could not return the children to Minnesota because Cook had no way to pay for their housing or schooling. That, she wrote, “would be a grave risk of harm to the children if they were returned to the U.S.”

The court found that Cook lacked the resources to support all four children — but his attorney, Victoria Taylor, argues that the reversal isn’t in line with The Hague Convention.

“This is going to become an international incident,” she said.

Taylor said she and her client plan to contact the U.S. State Department to see what sanctions can be leveraged against Japan to ensure the children’s return.

USA: Lawmaker seeks to set criminal standards for parental kidnapping



SALT LAKE CITY — Arlet Falslev was 17 months old when she was taken from her father.

She was 9 when she was found with her mother in Minnesota and returned to Utah, where she was reunited with her dad — a man she didn’t remember.

Terryl Warner, Cache County’s director of victim services, told state lawmakers about the case of parental kidnapping Thursday. The girl’s mother, she said, still has visitation rights, but now she must wear an ankle bracelet broadcasting her whereabouts.

Warner testified in support of a bill that would classify parental kidnapping as a new offense. HB173, sponsored by Rep. Val Potter, R-North Logan, defines the offense as one parent withholding another parent’s right to see their child in such a way that they cannot resolve the conflict through civil remedies.

The first two offenses of parental kidnapping would be a class B misdemeanor, with a third being a class A misdemeanor. A third-degree felony charge would apply to parents taking children out of state.

“We are asking you to pass this amendment that allows us to prosecute when an order is not in place and a child goes missing,” Warner said.

Parental interference only applies in cases where a custody order was already in place. HB173 would change the standard to allow prosecution without an existing custody order, she said.

“The intent is to go after the parent that takes the child, that deprives the other parent of the association with that child for months or even years,” Potter said.

The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee unanimously agreed to send the bill to the House floor for further debate.

Will Carlson, representing the Statewide Association of Prosecutors, spoke against the bill.

“We should not be bringing that heavy hammer of criminal law into the early stages of a family separation, and that is what this bill threatens to do,” Carlson said.

Parental interference is a term that is often exploited by one parent when the other parent is only a few minutes late returning a child to their custodial parent, he said.

“We want to honor a parent’s right to be able to address these matters in front of a civil court,” said Spencer Walsh, Cache County deputy attorney.

“If one parent completely prevents the other parent from having their day in court in front of a civil judge, that is wrong,” Walsh said.



How the Etan Patz kidnapping changed parenting


In May 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz convinced his mother to let him walk to his school bus stop alone for the first time. He never made it home.

On Tuesday, a jury brought back a conviction for the decades-old murder.

It was a shocking case that cycled in and out of headlines for decades with all the elements of a TV drama: an early suspect who was a convicted child molester, a hard-charging prosecutor who kept the case in his sights over the years, and the latest defendant. That man, Pedro Hernandez, was nearly convicted in a 2015 trial, but a lone juror refused to convict then, citing questions about the defendant’s mental acuity. Patz’s father reportedly attended the latest trial every day.

Tuesday’s conviction is the latest chapter in a case that did a good amount to change the way children grow up in New York City and beyond.

Shortly after police officers and journalists began crisscrossing Patz’s SoHo neighborhood that spring, the child’s face — delicate and innocent-looking — became the first to grace milk cartons in what would become a trope of alarm and warning. President Ronald Reagan declared the day of his disappearance “National Missing Children’s Day,” and some parents began restricting their kids’ activities in a motion that continues to this day.

The intense public reaction to the case didn’t come out of nowhere. The Patz case “transformed what the public imagined that the kidnapper was doing with the child,” says Paula Fass, author of the history Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America. It was the first time a child kidnapping was explicitly and prominently perceived to be a sexual crime.

Fass places that moral outrage in the context of the “major transformations” taking place in American society at the time: the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s; gay men and women coming out publicly in large numbers; and an increasing number of mothers entering the workforce.

There were all sorts of complicated cultural feelings about the growing role of women in the working world, which led to concern that mothers wouldn’t be at home “all the time, in neighborhoods looking out the windows.” That became a “really powerful incentive to begin to imagine all sorts of terrible things happening to children,” Fass says.

As media and political attention fixated on a handful of similar child murders across the country, childhood began to change.

Fass points to her own upbringing in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn in the 1950s and 60s — walking down the block to buy a newspaper for her parents or play with friends in the street. “I went on the subway by myself at 10 years old.”

There were limits to childhood freedom — she was warned to be careful crossing the street and stay away from a bar near the local candy store. But she was often out of sight of parents. Today, meanwhile, “free-range” parents can face arrest for allowing kids to walk home from a park alone.

One irony of the Patz case was that his mother was in fact home. She had allowed Etan a brief moment of freedom that ended in a nightmare.

Another irony: the new norms of protectiveness sometimes overlook the ways society could actually protect and help its children.

“We do very little to protect parents from making hard decisions,” says Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap. A focus on “stranger danger” doesn’t do much to protect against domestic abuse within families. In terms of child care, we could ask government to provide safe, affordable care, or extend parental leave rather than scold families who struggle to do their best with their kids. While that has been a priority in places like New York City under Mayor Bill de Blasio, “that has not yet been the focus of politicians” nationwide, Coontz says.

Instead, we let ourselves be controlled by the terrifying outlier scenario. Just keep your children inside or watched, and everything will be better, the thinking goes.

Fass says that while raising her children in San Francisco, she wouldn’t let them do plenty of the things she was accustomed to growing up. But it’s still striking to see how far things have changed. “When I come to New York,” Fass noticed, it is hard to miss “the emptiness of the playgrounds.”

Unhappily ever after, For multi-national families, breaking up can lead to tragedy



KATE BAGGOTT and her two children live in a tiny converted attic in a village near Frankfurt. Ms Baggott, who is Canadian, has a temporary residence permit and cannot work or receive benefits. The trio arrived in Germany in October, after a Canadian court order gave them a day’s notice to get on the plane. Ms Baggott’s ex-husband, a Canadian living in Germany, had revoked his permission for the children’s move to Canada after they had been there nearly a year, alleging “parental child abduction”. A German court has given Ms Baggott full custody, but she must stay until an appeal is over.

Such ordeals are becoming more common as the number of multi-national and footloose families grows. Across the European Union, for example, one in seven births is to a woman who is a foreign citizen. In London, a whopping two-thirds of newborns in 2015 had at least one parent who was born abroad. In Denmark, Spain and Sweden more than a tenth of divorces end marriages in which at least one partner is a non-citizen.

The first question in a cross-border break-up is which country’s laws apply. When lots of money is at stake there is an incentive to “forum-shop”. Some jurisdictions are friendlier to the richer partner. Germany and Sweden exclude assets owned before the marriage from any settlement. Ongoing financial support of one partner by the other is rare in France and Texas—and ruled out in another American state, Georgia, if the spouse seeking support was adulterous.

Under English law, by contrast, family fortunes are generally split evenly, including anything owned before the marriage. Prenuptial agreements, especially if drawn up by a lawyer representing both spouses, are often ignored. The wife of a Russian oligarch or a Malaysian tycoon can file for divorce in London if she can persuade a judge that she has sufficient links to England. A judge, says David Hodson, a family lawyer in London, might be presented with a list of supporting items, which may be as trivial as which sports team the husband roots for, or where the family poodle gets a trim.

Across the European Union, until recently the rule has been that the courts of the country in which divorce papers are filed first gets to hear the case. Couples often rushed to file rather than attempting to fix marital problems. But in some countries that is changing: last year Estonia became the 17th EU country since 2010 to sign an agreement known as Rome III that specifies how to decide which country’s law applies (usually the couple’s most recent country of residence, unless they agree otherwise). Though the deal brings welcome clarity, one downside is that courts in one country may have to apply another country’s unfamiliar laws. And one spouse may be tricked or bullied into agreeing to a divorce in the country that best suits the other.

The bitterest battles, though, are about children, not money. Approaches to custody vary wildly from place to place. Getting children back if an ex-partner has taken them abroad can be impossible. And when a cross-border marriage ends one partner’s right to stay in the country where the couple lived may end too, if it depended on the other’s nationality or visa.

Treasures of the heart
Under the Hague Abduction Convention, a treaty signed by 95 countries, decisions about custody and relocation fall to courts in the child’s country of “habitual residence”. If one parent takes a child abroad without the other’s consent or a court order, that counts as child abduction. The destination country must arrange the child’s return.

But plenty of countries have not signed, including Egypt, India and Nigeria. They can be havens for abducting parents. Around 1,800 children are abducted from EU countries each year. More than 600 were taken from America in 2015; about 500 abductions are reported to American authorities each year the other way round.

Some countries, including Australia and New Zealand, often regard themselves as a child’s “habitual residence” from the moment the child arrives. The EU sets the threshold at three months. America differs from state to state: six months’ residence is usually what counts. GlobalARRK, a British charity that helps parents like Ms Baggott, is campaigning for information on such rules to be included among the documents issued to families for their move abroad. It also lobbies for a standard threshold of one year for habitual residence and advises parents to sign a pre-move contract stating that the child can go home at any time. Though such contracts are not watertight, they would at least alert parents to the issue.

Britain is comparatively helpful to foreign parents who seek a child’s return: it provides help with legal advice and translation. But plenty of countries do little or nothing. Family judges in many places favour their compatriots, though they may dress up their decisions as being in the child’s interests. Parents who can no longer pay their way through foreign courts may never see their children again.

Some parents do not realise they are committing a crime when they abscond with the children, says Alison Shalaby of Reunite, a British charity that supports families involved in cross-border custody disputes. Even the authorities may not know the law. Michael, whose former partner took their children from Britain to France in 2015, was told by police that no crime had been committed. After he arranged for Reunite to brief them, it took more than five months to get a French court order for the children’s return.

Other countries are slower still, often because there are no designated judges familiar with international laws. Over a third of abductions from America to Brazil, for example, drag on for at least 18 months. When a case is eventually heard the children may be well settled, and the judge reluctant to order their return.

A renewed push is under way to cut the number of child abductions, and to resolve cases quickly. The EU is considering setting an 18-week deadline for the completion of all return proceedings and making the process cheaper by abolishing various court fees. And more countries are signing up to the Hague Convention: Pakistan, where about 40 to 50 British children are taken each year, will sign next month. India, one of the main destinations for abducting parents, recently launched a public consultation on whether to sign up too.

But the convention has a big flaw: it makes no mention of domestic violence. Many of the parents it classifies as abductors are women fleeing abusive partners. One eastern European woman who moved to Britain shortly before giving birth and fled her violent fiancé four months later, says she was turned away by women’s shelters and denied benefits because she had lived in Britain for such a short time. For the past year she has lived off friends’ charity. The police have taken her passport to stop her leaving Britain with the baby. Another European woman, living in New Zealand, says she fears being deported without her toddlers when her visa expires in a few months. She fled domestic abuse with the children and a bag of clothes in December, and has been moving from one friend’s house to another ever since.

Child abduction is often a desperate parent’s move of last resort, says GlobalARRK’s founder, Roz Osborne. One parent, who has residence rights, may have been granted sole or joint custody, meaning the children cannot be taken abroad without permission. But the other parent may have entered on a spousal visa which lapses when the marriage ends. Even if permission to remain is granted, it may be without the right to work or receive state benefits. In such cases, the decision of a family court guaranteeing visiting rights or joint custody can be close to meaningless.

Britain’s departure from the EU could mean many more divorcing parents find themselves in this desperate state. Around 3.3m citizens of other EU countries live in Britain, and 1.2m Britons have moved in the opposite direction; so far it is unclear whether they will continue to have the right to stay put and work. And in America, says Jeremy Morley, a lawyer in New York who specialises in international family law, immigration issues are increasingly used as weapons in child-custody cases. Judges in family courts, he says, often pay little attention to immigration issues when ruling on custody, because they know few people are deported solely because their visas have expired. But under Donald Trump, that may change.

Many parents have no idea what they sign up for when they agree to follow a spouse abroad, says Ms Osborne. They may mistakenly believe that if things do not work out, they can simply bring the children back home. Ms Baggott’s move to Germany was supposed to be a five-year adventure, the duration of her husband’s work visa. Instead, she says, she endured “a decade of hell”.

The Effects of Parental Kidnapping

Parental Kidnapping

The effects of parental kidnapping are being taken into account in more court cases world wide due to the rapid increase in the number of children being abducted.  Parental kidnapping, also known as parental abduction occurs when one parent violates a court order and relocates a child from their home to another State, or country. According to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Department of State receives reports over 1200 new cases of parental kidnapping annually.

Parental kidnapping cases originating in the United States fall into two categories, Hague and non-Hague cases.  When a child is taken from one State to another, these are known as non-Hague cases, and are governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA.)  The UCCJEA has been adopted by 49 U.S. States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.   The UCCJEA sets rules for child custody litigation in the courts of the child’s “home state,” which is defined as the state where the child has lived with a parent for six consecutive months prior to the commencement of the custody proceedings.

In cases where a child is taken from one country to another officials rely on the HAGUE CONVENTION ON THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION.  93 countries to date have joined The Hague Convention.  The Hague Convention is meant to secure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained in any Contracting State and to ensure that rights of custody and of access under the law of one Contracting State are effectively respected in the other Contracting States.

Parental Kidnapping is a Violation of Human Rights

“Human rights are based on a principle of respect for the individual. Their fundamental assumption is that each person is a moral and rational being that deserves to be treated with dignity.  They mean choice and opportunity. They mean the freedom to obtain a job, adopt a career, select a partner of one’s choice and raise children. “ – Human Rights. org

Parental Kidnapping has Long-Term Affects on a Child’s Life

In the most brutal cases of parental kidnapping children are given new names and have had their appearance altered.  They are regularly instructed by parents not to give their real names, birth date, or home addresses.  In order to avoid detection and recovery abductors may move locations on a regular basis.

Parental kidnapping also has a negative effect on school performance and social relationships. Establishing friendships can also be difficult for abducted children, as most are not allowed to attend school or join clubs.   In many cases health also suffers for an abducted child since regular visits to a doctor can be difficult without proper insurance.  Abducted children using false names and altered identities rarely have insurance due to the fact that their new identity cannot be verified.

Parental Kidnapping is Traumatic for Children

A 1983 study on the effects of parental abduction sampled 18 children.  These children were all seen for psychiatric evaluations following recoveries from abductions or threats of abduction. Sixteen of the eighteen suffered emotionally from the experience. Their exhibited grief and rage toward the parent they had been taken from and an unnatural loyalty to the abducting parent. This effect has become known as Parental Alienation Syndrome.  The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sampled 104 parental abduction cases in 1992 and they found that more than half of all abducted children experienced symptoms of anxiety, sleep disorders as well as eating disorders.

ABP World Group is always ready to help those affected by parental kidnapping.  We offer a range of services from low cost legal assistance to child recovery so we may effectively help reinstate your child’s fundamental rights.

ABP World Group conducts investigations and assists clients locate and rescue their kidnapped children wherever they may be.  Our highly trained experts do what it takes to bring your child home after a parental kidnapping.

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