Norway / Cyprus: Family of missing Marie get Oslo court backing


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The family of Marie Eleni Grimsrud – the young girl who was snatched by her estranged father and who is still missing – have succeeded in getting a court in Norway to recognise her case as an abduction.

The ruling in the Scandinavian country is seen by legal experts as a blow to the efforts of her father – 49-year-old Leif Torkel Grimsrud – to take her legally back to Norway. Legal representatives of the mother had made the motion at the Oslo District Court.

Four-year-old Marie was abducted on April 27 as her mother, 43-year-old Greek Cypriot Lena Ioannou, was dropping her off at nursery in Nicosia. Police say the father had orchestrated the abduction and an international arrest warrant is out against him.

Several people had been arrested at the time but have since been released due to lack of evidence.

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Back in July, investigators in Cyprus had said that the six-year-old girl had been sighted with her father on a boat at the Antalya marina in Turkey.

“If Marie is sighted in Norway, then the authorities there will be forced to intervene and get her returned safely to her mother in Cyprus,” said Laris Vrahimis – the lawyer representing the mother in Cyprus.

“We believe we know where Marie is, but we will not be making that knowledge public. We are doing everything we can to get her back.”

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from Cyprus or Norway feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

USA: Orono mom found dead with 5-year-old son left suicide note lamenting custody rift


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An Orono woman discovered dead with her 5-year-old son Monday left a suicide note lamenting her long-running court battle with the father over custody that ended with them having joint parenting rights, according to a search warrant filed Wednesday.

Police have called the hangings of Gina Ilene Summers, 46, and her son Jude a murder-suicide. It appears to follow a lengthy custody dispute between Summers and the boy’s father, 51-year-old Jeff Sandberg, of Minnetonka.

Officers first stopped by the home Monday, after Sandberg notified police that he could not reach anyone there to arrange for picking up his son at 5 p.m., Police Chief Correy Farniok said. Summers and Sandberg have joint custody of the boy.

The home was locked and no one answered the door, Farniok said. Sandberg was advised to call back later if the situation remained the same, the chief said.

After the father called again, a relative who lived nearby and had keys let police in about 8 p.m. That’s when the bodies were found in the basement and a preliminary determination of murder-suicide was made, the chief said.

Summers’ typed and signed note, which was discovered nearby, “talked about prior domestic abuse and issues with the system and allowing a child to be ripped from his mother,” and it ended with, “Don’t let this happen to another child and mother.”

Sandberg released a statement late Thursday through his attorney pointing out how he went from enjoying a family fishing trip a week ago to the Boundary Waters with his 5-year-old son and others to now “planning the funeral for Jude, murdered by his mother, Gina Summers, when he was getting ready for his first day of Ready Start Kindergarten.”

Sandberg challenged the mother’s allegations, writing that Summers “since the onset of the case in January 2015 when she falsely accused the father of domestic abuse, never missed an opportunity to disrupt the established father-son relationship, both inside and outside of the Family Court paternity proceedings.”

He said Summers traumatized him and his family over the past 2½ years with “her actions and inactions, including her scheduling of multiple motions before the court, not only before but also after the trial, and subsequently to the Court of Appeals, and her absolute refusal to participate in ordered mediation.”

Police searched Summers’ house and found documents, including court and mental health papers. A camera system was also installed at the property.

According to court documents in their disputes over Jude’s custody and care, Summers and Sandberg began a romantic relationship in 2008, and the next year discussed having a child through in vitro fertilization. After several failed pregnancy attempts, Jude was born in August 2012.

By July 2015, the relationship had become toxic. Summers received an order for protection against Sandberg, saying he had been physically abusing her since 2009. That petition was eventually settled and dismissed.

But the two continued to fight over the pregnancy costs and how to care for the boy. They filed court motions against one another over which school district he should attend. On Friday, Hennepin County District Judge Edward Wahl ruled in Sandberg’s favor.

The court records include many of the boy’s report cards, pictures and assessments. His preschool teacher wrote that the boy is “doing great in class! He is such a smiley and loving boy!”

Summers worked as a Realtor in the west metro. In an online biography, she spoke at length about activities with her son, that ranged “from reading to painting, from racing cars to swimming with them, from gardening to building, all ball sports, and not to mention teaching him to downhill ski at 17 months old; the list of fun goes

If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental alienation feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

USA / Texas: Interstate Jurisdiction Cases when a Parent Abducts their Child


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Parental child abduction is the offense of a Parent wrongfully removing, retaining, detaining or concealing their child from the other parent. This often occurs when parents separate or divorce proceedings begin. The abducting parent may consensually remove or retain the child to gain an advantage in pending child-custody proceedings or because the parent fears losing the child in the divorce proceeding. Many times the abducting parent may refuse to return a child at the end of an approved visit or may flee with the child to prevent the other parent from seeing the child or in fear of domestic abuse.

Many abducting parents try to take the child across state lines (Interstate Jurisdiction issues) or out of the country to make sure that the child will never be found by the other parent. They would rather live a fugitive than lose their child.

Are there any laws to stop this child abduction to another state or country? The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA) provides remedies with valuable enforceable tools in deterring both domestic and international abductions by parents and unethical people or agents on their behalf. This Act empowers courts to impose measures designed to prevent child abduction both before and after a court has entered a custody decree. Unfortunately, the UCAPA has only been enacted in eleven states (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah) and District of Columbia, since its inception.

In Texas Interference with child custody is a felony!
Texas currently follows the Texas Penal Code 25:03, Interference with Child Custody:

Sec. 25.03. INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person takes or retains a child younger than 18 years of age:

(1) When the person knows that the person’s taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court disposing of the child’s custody;

(2) when the person has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or

(3) Outside of the United States with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access and without the permission of that person.

(b) A noncustodial parent commits an offense if, with the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of a child younger than 18 years, the noncustodial parent knowingly entices or persuades the child to leave the custody of the custodial parent, guardian, or person standing in the stead of the custodial parent or guardian of the child.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) (2) that the actor returned the child to the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, within three days after the date of the commission of the offense.

(C-1) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) (3) that:

(1) The taking or retention of the child was pursuant to a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child; or

(2) notwithstanding any violation of a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child, the actor’s retention of the child was due only to circumstances beyond the actor’s control and the actor promptly provided notice or made reasonable attempts to provide notice of those circumstances to the other person entitled to possession of or access to the child.

(C-2) Subsection (a) (3) does not apply if, at the time of the offense, the person taking or retaining the child:

(1) Was entitled to possession of or access to the child; and

(2) Was fleeing the commission or attempted commission of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, against the child or the person.

(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony: Minimum term: 180 days to Maximum Term of 2 years; fine up to $10,000.00

Hopefully, in the near future, more states will adopt the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, but until then, if you think you have a problem with your ex trying to kidnap your child, find out what can be done in your state to stop this before it happens!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding an abducted child please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

Ireland: Heartbroken Irish dad says family’s lives have been ‘shattered’ since son was abducted three years ago


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Jeremy O’Connor hasn’t seen his ex wife or his son since 2014

A heartbroken dad who hasn’t hugged his son since he was abducted three years ago says the lives of his family have been “shattered”.

Jeremy O’Connor drove his ex-wife Yolandie Botha and their then four-year-old boy Joshua to the airport for a month-long holiday to South Africa in 2014 – and hasn’t seen either of them since.

The 48-year-old, from Navan, Co Meath, contacted the authorities to report the parental child abduction and said he was told a court case would be held within a year under the Hague Convention.

However, three years on Jeremy, who has three other children, still awaits a court case to get his son back.

Although he Skypes Joshua, now seven, regularly, he hasn’t held him in three years and is worried his son is beginning to forget his relatives.

Jeremy said: “Under the Hague Convention, a parental child abduction case is expedited in under a year to avoid a child becoming settled in another country.”

But South African authorities have deferred court hearings three times, with no new date given.

Jeremy, who works in sales, added: “Yolandie and I split amicably after being together a number of years.

“I had absolutely no problem with her taking Joshua to South Africa for a month-long holiday to see her family.

“I signed the necessary consent forms and even drove them to the airport. That was the last time I saw my son.

“She contacted me before she was due to return to tell me they weren’t coming back.”

Jeremy says that under access rights, he is allowed to contact Joshua through online video chats.

He said: “I Skype him regularly but haven’t seen him in over three years. I also have other children who miss him dreadfully and he has missed out on a lot of family occasions.

“I was really close to Joshua when he was here and now I only see him on a screen. I can’t even hug him.

“My mother – his grandmother – Skyped him the other day and he didn’t know who she was.

“She was devastated and cried no end. I feel failed by the South African authorities.

“They haven’t appointed me a solicitor and every court date has been deferred.”

Jeremy now fears, due to the length of time elapsed, a court might rule Joshua is settled in South Africa and it would be an upheaval to move him.

Jeremy O’Connor and his son Joshua.

He said: “He has Irish citizenship, he was taken wrongfully out of this country and I should have had him back at least two years ago, if the justice system worked properly.”

Jeremy has now decided to talk about his plight publicly as he feels all other routes failed.

He added: “I’m stuck in this limbo for ever and it gets worse and worse everyday.

“A lot of lives have been shattered by this and I’m desperate to try and get some kind of help.”

An Irish Department of Justice spokesperson said: “The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Convention”) is a treaty between states that was set up to protect
children subjected to situations of international child abduction.

“It aims to return children to the state where they usually lived prior to their wrongful removal, so the courts can make decisions in relation to matters of custody and/or access.

“The Convention also allows left behind parents to seek to establish access rights to their children. The Convention has been agreed to by over 90 countries, including Ireland, and it has been given the full force of the law in Ireland.”

When contacted by the Irish Mirror yesterday, Yolandie said she was not allowed to talk about the case.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding a child abducted to or from Ireland please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

 

USA: 3 years after kids vanish, Md. mother wants her charges dropped


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WASHINGTON — Almost three years after Catherine Hoggle’s two young children disappeared, her lawyer has asked a Montgomery County judge to dismiss the three misdemeanor charges against her Thursday.

Hoggle is the last known person to see 3-year-old Sarah and 2-year-old Jacob Hoggle, Sept. 7, 2014. She told conflicting stories to the children’s father and detectives about where the children were.

Since January 2015, after being ruled incompetent to stand trial, Hoggle has been undergoing treatment at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, the state psychiatric hospital. According to her attorney and the children’s father, she has a history of mental health issues, including paranoia and schizophrenia.

During a competency hearing Thursday, Hoggle’s attorney, David Felsen told District Court Judge Sherri Koch he filed a motion to have the charges against his client dismissed.

WTOP was the first to report that Hoggle would seek to get the charges dismissed Thursday.

Hoggle is charged with parental abduction, neglect, and hindering or obstructing the investigation — all misdemeanors.

Felsen said under Maryland statutes, if a defendant is deemed incompetent, misdemeanors or non-violent crimes must be dismissed after three years.

The final of Hoggle’s three misdemeanors was filed Sept. 15, 2014.

Prosecutors with Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office believe Hoggle murdered her two children, and have argued she is feigning mental illness to avoid trial.

Aware of the deadline, prosecutors requested Thursday’s hearing to review the most recent evaluation from doctors at Perkins.

In court, the judge said Hoggle’s treatment team found she remains unable to assist in her own defense, even though they believe she can be restored to competency.

The judge set a Sept. 15 hearing to argue Felsen’s motion.

Outside the courthouse, the children’s father, Troy Turner, said prosecutors have told him they have enough evidence to indict Hoggle for murder, but she has not been charged with that crime.

“My understanding is we’re going to go forward with homicide charges, so it’s not like she’s gonna walk on the 15th,” Turner said.

Turner said prosecutors “feel like they have a strong case, even without bodies.”

Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, “could neither confirm nor deny” prosecutors plan to ask a grand jury to indict Hoggle on murder charges.

Prosecutors and police have never disclosed whether they have gathered any evidence suggesting Hoggle killed her children. Hoggle has told psychiatrists her children are safe.

“There is no allegation that any harm has come to either child,” wrote Felsen in his motion. “The allegations center around the police inability to confirm the whereabouts of Jacob and Sarah.”

Hoggle has attempted to escape from Perkins several times during her confinement, according to prosecutors.

Although it would be theoretically possible for Hoggle to walk free if the District Court Judge dismissed the current misdemeanors against her, prosecutors would almost certainly file other misdemeanors or felony charges to keep her in custody, as they try to determine the fate of the children.

“It is unjust to continue these prosecutions,” wrote Felsen. “These three cases should be dismissed.”

Even if misdemeanor criminal charges are dropped, if a judge believes Hoggle is still a danger to herself or others, she could be kept at Perkins under a civil commitment.

 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding an abducted child please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

USA: Bank robber wanted cash to get his abducted child home. Here’s why he can’t say that in court


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A California man who robbed a Tacoma bank as part of a scheme to get his abducted daughter home can’t tell a jury why he did it, a judge ruled Thursday.

David Henry Curry, 53, held up the Key Bank branch near South 84th Street and Pacific Avenue on Jan. 5, about six months after he says his estranged wife kidnapped their daughter from the Sacramento area and moved to Indonesia, where her family lives.

Curry requested that he be allowed to bring up the kidnapping at trial. He also asked that the charges be dismissed, alleging his right to a speedy trial was violated.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Edmund Murphy ruled against him on both motions.

The judge didn’t find that Curry’s speedy trial rights had been violated, and said the situation with the daughter wasn’t relevant to what the jury will consider.kid

Murphy’s order says Curry can’t bring up that his “wife left him and that his wife took his daughter to another country” or mention his “efforts to have his daughter returned to the United States.”

Murphy noted, however, that his order can be revisited after a mental health professional evaluates Curry to consider his mental state at the time of the robbery.

If his family troubles become relevant in light of that evaluation, the judge said he could reconsider.

An evaluation filed with the court in April said Curry didn’t then show symptoms of a psychiatric disorder.

Murphy has not yet decided whether Curry’s prior convictions for bank robbery in Connecticut can be part of the trial. He said the decision should be left to the judge who ends up presiding over the trial.

Curry told the judge he hadn’t been arrested in 23 years, except for the January bank robbery.

“Shouldn’t that count for something?” he asked.

Deputy Prosecutor Hugh Birgenheier disputed Curry’s account of his criminal history, and rattled off multiple times he had been taken into custody during that period, including on suspicion of driving under the influence and for having drug paraphernalia.

“Yeah, I smoked a little bit of pot,” Curry responded. “But I didn’t hurt anybody.”

Curry, who is representing himself, says he was distraught when his wife took their daughter to Indonesia without his knowledge in June 2016.

They had split custody at the time, according to a document Curry filed with the court in his robbery case.

He said he did everything he could to try to get her back, including robbing the bank to fund his efforts. At one point, his plan was to hire someone to get the girl and bring her back. He also talked about going to find her himself.

Either way, according to charging papers:

To get the money he drove up from Sacramento, got a BB gun and used it to rob the Tacoma bank, which he chose for its proximity to Interstate 5. He was arrested minutes after the robbery, after he got lost on his way back to the freeway.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding a child abducted to or from Indonesia please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

 

India / USA: A new American bill causes unease in India


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When cross-country marriages crumble, courts are best suited to chart out a robust legal path by factoring in the sensitivities of all stakeholders

A new bill introduced by the United States Congress has created a kerfuffle in India. The eponymous “Bindu Philips and Devon Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act of 2017” refers to two parents both of whom allege that their kids were abducted by their spouses and taken to India and Brazil respectively and their custodies not handed back to them despite US court’s orders.

The draft legislation proposes economic punitive measures (removal of tariff benefits) for countries that violate US court orders to return abducted children caught in acrimonious transnational marriages.

The bill’s proponents point out that in 2016, 629 American children were taken from the US by one parent without the consent of the other often in direct violation of valid US court orders.

Such abductions, they add, also contravene The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The international treaty, acceded to by 97 countries, establishes procedures for the prompt return of children wrongfully retained or removed from their habitual residence by a parent.

Under the Convention’s rules, applicable to children under age 16, signatories must establish a central authority to trace unlawfully removed children and secure their return to their country of residence, irrespective of the country’s own laws on the issue.

In the absence of pressure from Washington, US lawmakers argue, the rate of return of children to the country has been an abysmal 16 per cent. This has resulted in abducted American children living in a foreign country deprived of half of their family and heritage as well as reportedly suffering from anxiety and other ailments.

The proposed law has ramifications for the sizeable demographic of over two million US-based Indians. More so because inter-parental child removal — by either parent — from one country to another is not defined in any Indian legislation.

In fact the Law Commission of India objects to the very use of the term “child abduction” as it feels the term, when used in the parental context, is misplaced as no parent can ‘abduct’ his or her own child.

Parents take away the child because “of the fear of losing his/her custody”, the Commission states — “such an abduction … is out of overwhelming love and affection and not to harm the child or achieve any other ulterior purpose”.

Criminal offence

Despite pressure from Washington, India has so far refused to sign The Hague Convention, a decision endorsed by Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and the Ministry of External Affairs.

While parental child abduction is a criminal offence under the Indian Penal Code, because India is not a signatory to The Hague Convention, no foreign government can force the abducting parent or the Indian government to return such a child.

Signing The Hague Convention will also mean capitulating to western forces and accepting a foreign interpretation of law which contradicts the Indian one.

Indian policymakers and legal eagles feel that child custody conflicts are best decided by Indian courts after considering the cultural nuances and what’s best for the child.

Adhering to the Convention would be calamitous for Indian women trying to escape abusive marriages abroad with their children and returning to the safety of their homes in India.

Besides, India becoming a signatory to The Hague Convention will also not benefit its own citizens because instances of Indian children being taken away from India to a foreign country by either one of the child’s parents are few and far between.

Counterproductive move

The Law Commission notes that women involved in cross-jurisdictional divorces have to face additional challenges in the custody battle and that “the woman must not be put in a situation where she has to make the impossible choice between her children and putting up with a violent relationship in a foreign country.”

If the bill becomes law, it will jeopardise the interests of Indian mothers trying to break free of difficult marriages compelling them to return to the foreign country where the child was born, to fight for custody in possibly hostile conditions.

Mothers being charged or prosecuted in foreign lands in such episodes are not uncommon. A report by the Commission notes that 68 per cent of the parents who took their child away from the US were mothers, where 85 per cent of these mothers are the primary caregivers of their children across the globe.

When cross-country marriages crumble, courts must chart out a robust legal path by factoring in the sensitivities of all stakeholders.

Exercising authoritarian and coercive ways to punish mothers fleeing bad marriages, for their own and their kids’ safety, is a counterproductive move.

Neeta Lal, a New Delhi-based editor and senior journalist, has worked with some of India’s leading publications.

f you have any questions or concerns regarding a child abducted to or from India please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)