USA: Two fathers’ painful search to bring their missing children home


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PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MD., (WUSA) – Michael Muse has not been able to shake the agonizing feeling of abandonment for nearly five years.

“I find myself, what I call, waking up from my dreams with my soul crying. No physical tears, but all the feeling of sorrow, like God himself is no longer with me,” Muse said.

His dreams, filled with images of his son Christian, often take him on an emotional roller coaster.

Muse describes his son as a brilliant, athletic, rough and tumble young man who worked through his growing pains.

Christian refocused, learned a trade and graduated with a certificate from a community college.

“Oh, I was so proud of him,” Muse said. “To see him smile as he walked across that stage, like, ‘See dad, I told you I could do it!'”

His reoccurring dreams of the missing 19-year-old now haunt the local Go-Go legend. He had no idea July 15, 2012 would be the last day he would lay eyes on his son.

“He said, ‘dad I’ll be back’,” Muse said.

He did not come back home — after no word from Christian for two days, his father called county police to report him missing.

“With his age, they immediately deemed it non-critical, for whatever reason.  There was no media coverage on it at all until 16 months after he was gone,” Muse said.

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“My kids were on the run for three years,” John Howard said.

Fatherhood was a life passage Howard was looking to for most of his young adult life.

“I loved it from day one. I was there for both of my sons’ birth. I was there for their first words,” he said.

But the single father found himself in a downward spiral when his boys and their mom disappeared, after she lost custody in March 2013. Howard hit a road block when he tried to file a missing persons report with the police.

“They were like, no it’s not missing because you know who has your kids, ” he said. “And I was totally blown away. As a parent of a child of color, I didn’t feel like my child was that important.”

“This has been going on for years which is the reason why we started our organization,” Derrica Wilson said.

Wilson’s organization, The Black and Missing Foundation, is a non-profit organization with a mission to bring awareness to missing persons of color across the country.

“Because they’ve been swept under the rug,” she said. “When we first started the organization back in 2009, 30 percent of missing persons in the United States were persons of color, and that number has since increased to 40 percent.”

“Going into our community, our people didn’t think there was an issue with missing persons of color because when they turned their televisions on they didn’t see anyone who looked like them,” Wilson said.

Instead, they’d see the faces of Natalie Holloway, Caylee Anthony, Elizabeth Smart — missing cases the Poytner Institute for Media Studies sais was extensively covered by nightly network news for months, even years.

The disappearance of 8-year-old Relisha Ruddd in the District never reached that saturation of national attention.

The Black and Missing Foundation works to bridge that gap to help what they see as an underserved population.

“It’s important to get these stories out because their missing loved one lives are valued. The worst thing is the unknown, not knowing if your loved one is hungry; if they’re cold; if you’re even going to see them again,” Wilson said

Black and Missing coaches families so that they can get awareness for their missing to the media immediately. In addition, the organization provides investigative, counseling, medical or other services to prepare them once they are reunited with them.

Howard’s sons are back home now. After years of posting fliers and searching on his own, Wilson, a former law enforcement officer, armed him with the language to push police into action.

“If it wasn’t for Derrica putting everything together, saying no, it’s a parental abduction,” he said. “It was almost scary because it started rolling within, like twenty minutes. I got nine phone calls from different detectives.

“A lady recognized the vehicle that they were in and she called the tip line. That day, it was just so many emotions.  So, I just kinda hugged them, hugged them and we all cried,” Howard said.

Muse’s son remains missing.

“You know, me being in the entertainment field, I have to kind of mask my emotions a lot of times,” he said. “So I can’t carry that sorrow outwardly. I’m hoping, I’m praying and I’m believing that in 2017 I will see my son.”

“I empathize and sympathize with anyone who’s going through this, but that’s my son and we just want him back,” he added.

Belgium: Child kidnap victim now headed for Belgium


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Damien, an eight-year-old child, taken by his father to Turkey, was this morning on an aeroplane headed for Munich (in Germany). He was accompanied by his Belgian mother.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, told the Belga press agency that the mother and her son will return to Belgium during the evening.

The child was taken by his Turkish father in July 2015, whilst travelling. The man obtained permission, from a Belgian family court, to take his son on holiday.

The court allowed this, despite protests from his ex-wife who feared parental kipnapping would occur.

Damien should have returned to Belgium on July 15th, 2015. However his father did not take him in the end. This meant that he was kept from his mother, who had no news of him.

His mother started proceedings for parental kipnapping. She also took several trips to Turkey attempting to find her son.

Mr Reynders stated that the joint efforts of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the charity Child Focus, as well as collaboration with the Turkish autorities finally allowed for a “happy ending.”

The Belgian Embassy in Ankara issued a “temporary passport” to the child. This has allowed him to return to Belgium with his mother.

Mr Reynders stated that the child’s mother has recently been in Turkey anyway. He concluded, “The child will therefore be able to return to Belgium via Munich.”

South Africa: Gigaba’s UBC rules a bunch of bollocks – and that a fact!


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Tourism Update, in a special report, reveal that South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs cannot back up any of the stats they have given to increase visa and travel rules to the country.

Earlier this year, the Department of Home Affairs made headlines with claims that 15 child trafficking cases had been detected at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. Then Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba (rember – president Jacob Zuma made him Finance Minister overnight and the Rand went ‘bang’ – Rd.), announced the news of the 15 cases the day before Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle in an attempt to justify the “success” of his restrictive border policy.

Tourism Update then asked investigative journalist Nicola Mawson to find out whether these cases were indeed child trafficking.

But first the background: South Africa made it law in October 2015 for parents moving children in and out of SA to carry with them an unabridged birth certificate.In addition, minors travelling with only one parent required the other’s permission to move the child out of or into the country. The Department of Home Affairs said when introducing the requirement, that this was ostensibly to stop children being moved illegally – or trafficked. There have been claims that as many as 30 000 children were trafficked in SA every year – but Africa Check’s research found that the numbers were not backed up by research.

However, Tourism Update quotes Modiri Matthews, Chief Director of Inspectorate at the department who said in a telephone interview that not all the 15 cases announced by the Minister were child trafficking – as some involved parental abduction and illegal adoption.

In response to e-mailed questions, Tebogo Phokanoko, Deputy Director at the Central Law Enforcement unit, failed to provide numbers of how many children were spirited out of SA illegally since the law came into effect, noting ports of entry could provide further numbers. Phokanoko was specifically asked how many instances of child trafficking there were, and did not provide one example.

However, Phokanoko cites examples of a Chinese minor being abducted by the child’s father to China, noting that the matter is currently in court.

There have also been cases of illicit adoption, in which a Democratic Republic of Congo child was illegally adopted. That matter is also in court, and a process is under way to determine exactly who its parents are and establish legitimacy, says Phokanoko.

In some cases, the department had to liaise with Department of Social Development, the South African Police Service and National Prosecuting Authority, says Phokanoko.

Phokanoko adds most of the cases the department comes across are of minors being smuggled into South Africa by land, mostly from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.

The African Centre for Migration & Society noted in May 2014, after the DHA had announced that the new regulations would come into effect, that there was, at the time, “no systematic research available that provides comprehensive insight into the prevalence or patterns of trafficking into or out of South Africa or the Southern African region”.

These claims were backed up by research by Africa Check, which found that the estimates of how many children were trafficked in SA could not be backed up. The website also quotes Liesl Muller and Patricia Erasmus, both attorneys at Lawyers for Human Rights, as noting that DHA’s efforts won’t stop trafficking, because traffickers don’t use legal ports of entry.

It seems, therefore, that the DHA’s initial stated intention to cut down on trafficking was a mere smokescreen.

USA: Missing: 12-year-old Penelope Inks


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HOUSTON – Police are asking for the public’s help in finding 12-year-old Penelope Inks.

She has been missing since Feb. 18, 2014 and is from Houston. She was allegedly abducted by her mother, Heather Inks.

Authorities have described her as biracial with light brown hair and blue eyes. At the time she went missing, she was 4 feet 10 inches tall, about 75 pounds and her hair was dyed blonde.

A federal warrant for Parental Kidnapping has been issued for her mother.

To view her full profile, click here.

Anyone with information on Penelope Inks is asked to call 1-800-843-5678 or the Houston Police Department at 713-884-3131.

Visit missingkids.com.

#BringThemHome

Mother of Abducted Toddler Helps Other Parents Survive


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For Immediate Release

May 22, 2017 – Over 2 million parents in the United States have experienced a missing child.

Each day a parent dies due to the stress and heartbreak of losing their child to divorce, abduction or being taken into foster care. In Australia, the numbers may be as high as 22 estranged fathers per week. US military veterans suffering from PTSD are numbered among the parents who end their lives due to the loss of contact with their children.

In Strength for Parents of Missing Children, Marie White went beyond her own pain to impart hope, help, and healing for parents with missing children. She also contacted experts in the fields of abduction, parental alienation, grief, and divorce, to contribute to the book.

“98% of Children come home,” White said, “What if the children come home and their parents aren’t there because they’ve committed suicide?”

Hurting parents need a guidebook by a parent who has lived through the very thing they are experiencing.

Now parents of missing children and the people who love them have a resource to make it through the darkest days.

“It doesn’t matter why a child is missing from your life, the emotions are still the same. Sometimes just surviving is a victory.”

Strength for Parents of Missing Children: Surviving Divorce, Abduction, Runaways and Foster Care spent its first two weeks at the top of the hot new releases on Amazon, is a #1 best seller, and has over a dozen 5 star reviews.

Get your copy today at http://a.co/aStVM9x.

Australia: family lawyers have praised a new support initiative in NSW courts, as well as the family law funding commitment in the federal budget.


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Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC launched the Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS) in Western Sydney on Wednesday.

The service appoints duty lawyers who have an understanding of trauma to some of the busiest courts that deal with family law matters in the state. The lawyers are on hand to help people navigate family law disputes and deal with their associated legal needs.

Legal Aid NSW received Commonwealth funding to establish the FASS under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children.

“Coming to court can be a tremendously stressful experience – and when parenting disputes involve allegations of family violence, there is so much at stake,” said Legal Aid NSW Family Law Director Kylie Beckhouse.

“This innovative approach will keep children and parents safer by offering the right support at a crucial time, with an emphasis on practical measures to keep them safe.”

Ms Beckhouse said the FASS duty lawyers will assist people with issues such as child abduction and disputes over custody, as well as related legal needs such as obtaining domestic violence orders.

“Family Advocacy and Support Service lawyers will ensure the voices of family violence victims are heard – whether that is by helping gather evidence so that courts have access to a more complete picture of a family’s situation, or by representing a parent in an urgent application,” Ms Beckhouse said.

“But it also goes beyond providing much-needed legal support to treat the client as a whole person, with a unique story and a unique set of social and practical needs that extend well past the courtroom door.

“This approach recognises that families affected by violence may also have complex non-legal needs in areas like housing and mental health.”

Family lawyers were also pleased with the government’s $80 million commitment to frontline family law services in the federal budget, as well as the announcement this month of the first comprehensive review of the Family Law Act in 40 years.

Heather McKinnon, who leads Slater and Gordon’s family law practice group, said the introduction of parental management hearings and extra family consultants could reduce the pressure on the courts.

“Australia used to have a world-class family law system, but more recently the courts have been overwhelmed by smaller parenting disputes that divert attention away from more serious cases,” Ms McKinnon said.

“To put it in context, sometimes a judge will hear a school drop-off dispute next to a case involving allegations of physical violence or drug addiction.”

She said the family consultant trial program in Sydney’s Parramatta, which was included in the budget, could improve outcomes for children by effectively providing a ‘triage’ service for the Family Court.

“In our experience, most disagreements occur between very young parents, with many descending into screaming matches where what’s best for the children is forgotten,” Ms McKinnon said.

“Relationship breakdown is incredibly difficult for children and fighting in court for three years is just going to make things harder, so triaging these smaller issues is going to remove some of the pressure on judges and also be less stressful for children.

“The pilot family consultant program in Parramatta will provide quantitative evidence of what works and what doesn’t, so we can avoid the knee-jerk reactions that have caused many of the current problems plaguing Australia’s family law system.”

USA/ Canada: Mother Sentenced to Prison for Taking Child from Illinois to Canada in International Parental Kidnapping Case


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Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- A Canadian woman was sentenced to serve 26 months in prison following her December conviction for international parental kidnapping, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen of the Central District of Illinois.

Sarah M. Nixon, 48, of Montreal, Canada, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District of Illinois. On Dec. 21, 2016, a federal jury found Nixon guilty of one count of international parental kidnapping for taking her minor child from the United States to Canada in July 2015, with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the father’s rights.

Evidence at trial established that after a custody trial where it was apparent that Nixon would lose custody of her six-year-old daughter, Nixon fled the United States with the child in the middle of the night. When she did not appear for the custody ruling and neither she nor her daughter could be located, law enforcement issued a child abduction alert. Nixon and the child were eventually located in a farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. Authorities then returned the child to the father. Nixon was arrested in New York on Sept. 20, 2015 as she attempted to return to the United States.

Trial Attorneys Elly M. Peirson and Lauren S. Kupersmith of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section prosecuted the case. The FBI; Urbana, Illinois, Police Department; University of Illinois Police Department; Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; Ontario Provincial Police; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigated the case, with assistance from the Champaign County, Illinois, State’s Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.