“My husband stole my kids – it could happen to you”


August 11, 2015

Source: closeronline.co.uk

Having your child taken is every mother’s worst nightmare.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 19.02.22

But, for Lisa it became a reality when her estranged husband took their two children 4,000 miles away to Kansas, America and refused to bring them home.

Lisa, 42, fought to get them back and, eight months later, they were reunited after an American court order forced their dad, Luke*, 36, an American citizen, to return them to the UK.

In February this year Lisa also won full parental rights – meaning her children would never again be able to leave the country with their father.

Now, Lisa’s children, Abigail, 11, and Matthew, eight, live with her in Batley, West Yorkshire, while their dad has moved back to the states and is allowed two Skype calls with them a week.

KIDNAPPED GIRL FOUND ALIVE IN MEXICO 12 YEARS AFTER ABDUCTION

Lisa says: “I didn’t know if I was ever going to see my children again. I felt so helpless.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 19.02.43

“We were having some marriage problems and Luke suggested taking the children to the States for a holiday to see family.

“I was a bit worried about being apart from them for a while, but I never imagined he’d try to keep them there.

“The pain of not knowing when I was going to see them again was indescribable.

“At first I was in shock, then I panicked, but I knew I had to keep it together to get them back, so I put every scrap of my energy into doing that.

Thankfully they’re home now, but it’s been a nightmare and I will never forgive Luke.”

Worryingly, Lisa isn’t alone in her struggle.

In the UK a child is kidnapped by a parent or family member every 12 hours.

A spokesperson from Reunite – a charity that helps with parental child abduction – explains: “We’re seeing more and more children abducted by parents because of mixed nationality relationships.

“When these relationships break down, parents want to take their child back to their home country.

“It can be difficult to bring a child home because a parent has to deal with two different countries and legal systems. A further complication is that the abducting parent has rights over the child too.”

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Kelly Rutherford Refuses To Return Kids To Daniel Giersch In Monaco Amid Custody Battle


August 10, 2015

Source: hngn.com

Despite a recent ruling, Kelly Rutherford is refusing to send her children back to Monaco to live with their father and her ex-husband, German businessman Daniel Giersch.

Kelly Rutherford Children

Kelly Rutherford has refused to return her children to live with their father in Monaco. The “Gossip Girl” actress is in a battle with her ex-husband Daniel Giersch over the custody of their 8-year-old son Hermes and 6-year-old daughter Helena, according to Entertainment Tonight.

The kids were ordered to live with their father in Monaco three years ago. Rutherford recently won the legal right to take her children back to the U.S. for the summer, provided that the kids are returned to the father in Monaco at the end of the appointed stay.

“These past three years waiting for my children to come home have been very difficult. My children were forced to leave the United States in 2012 when they were only 2 and 5 years old,” Rutherford, 46, said. “In May, a judge in California gave me sole custody and brought them home. I am immensely grateful and overjoyed to have them back. Since May, however, the court proceedings have been confusing.”

“My ex-husband recently filed for sole custody in Monaco after causing my children to be declared ‘habitual residents’ there, even though he agreed with California in 2012 that the children’s time in France and Monaco would be temporary, and that the children would retain exclusive citizenship and residency in the United States,” she added, US Weekly reported. “I trusted my ex-husband’s agreement, and cannot now send them away in light of the legal actions taken in Monaco in violation of that agreement by my ex-husband.”

Rutherford argued that since 2 U.S. courts, one in New York and another in California, have said they do not have jurisdiction in her custody battle, it means that no state in the U.S. currently requires her to send her kids away. “Hence, I have decided that I cannot lawfully send my children away from the United States to live in a foreign country, she said, according to People.

Rutherford and Giersch split in 2010 after four years of marriage and have been battling for custody ever since.

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Parental Child Abduction – More Than a Legal Issue


November 25 , 2014

Source: digitaljournal.com 

Kidnapping of any form is driven by a strong ulterior motive. But it takes more complex overtones when the victims are children, and the perpetrators are their own parents.

PAS_Parental-alienation

The number of parental child abduction cases has more than doubled over the last decade. And almost 80% of the abductors are non-custodial parents.

While this might place the blame squarely on the non-custodial parents, the situation on the ground is much more complex. Divorces and legal separations take a heavy emotional toll on both the parents. The children invariably face collateral emotional trauma that could affect them for years.

There are three distinct possibilities to any parental abduction. One is the possibility of being wrongly accused for a kidnapping. Second, the parent might have acted in the interest and wellbeing of the child. In other words, the act of abduction itself might have been to safeguard the child from physical or emotional harm. And finally, wrongful, illegal abduction, in violation of the rights of the parent’s rights of custody and access to the child.

In all three cases, it is important to consider and choose from a wide range of legal recourses, both before and after the incident.

Parental_Child_Abduction_2

For example, parents caught in a difficult custodial dispute could first file a complaint for divorce, followed by an injunction saying that the child cannot be removed from the state. While this is not something that one cannot circumvent, it is definitely a good start.

Even in the absence of such an injunction, parents could consider the Hague Convention, an international agreement that came together for the sole purpose of addressing the problem of parental abductions.

In a relevant portion, the Convention provides for the return of a child who has been wrongfully removed by a parent from his or her country of habitual residence against the other parent’s custodial rights. The child is to be returned to his or her home country until a final determination is made with regard to the child’s custody and visitation.

But in addition to legal recourse, a deeper understanding of the issue must arise among the parents involved and the society as a whole. While the parents are bound to undergo emotional stress, it is the children on whom it will tell the most. They not only have to deal with the stress of the parents’ separation, but also with feelings of insecurity, fright and the Stockholm syndrome that is bound to impact their impressionable psyche.

Which is why one needs an attorney who is not just adept at the legal proceedings, but exhibits genuine empathy for the client. Attorney at law Shana J. Black is an ideal example of a lawyer who aggressively represents the interests of the client without underplaying the emotional ramifications. It is due to this unique work ethic that she has had phenomenal success in bringing back children to the rightful parent.

About Shana J. Black
Attorney Shana J. Black is a San Diego based lawyer who has championed numerous cases for the underdog. Her legal repertoire is extensive and her client base is varied.

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International child abduction case has a Western New York angle


October 5 , 2014

Source: buffalonews.com 

Mom, daughter on the run crossed border in Falls

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At an age when most girls are thinking about junior high, making new friends and fitting in, Isabella Miller-Jenkins is on the run from the law.

It’s an international journey, authorities say, that began with her kidnapping in Virginia, brought her to Buffalo and eventually landed her with a group of Mennonites willing to hide her in Nicaragua.

Isabella, now 12 and under the alias of Lydia, is believed to be living there with one of her two mothers, Lisa A. Miller, the woman accused of abducting her five years ago.

Their story, which has garnered national headlines, could very well end here if Isabella and her mother are ever found. A federal grand jury in Buffalo recently indicted Miller and two others on charges of conspiracy and international parental kidnapping.

“Isabella, like any other child, deserves to grow up in her home country with parents and relatives who love her,” Janet Jenkins, Isabella’s other legal parent, said in a statement to The Buffalo News. “I am grateful for the efforts of law enforcement in Vermont, Virginia, New York and Nicaragua who have been working to find Isabella and prosecute those who have conspired in her abduction.”

Unlike most cases of parental kidnapping, the Miller prosecution has unfolded on the national stage for all to see. The New York Times and Atlantic Monthly are just two of the many news organizations that have followed the story.

It’s a case chock-full of social and legal issues – same-sex marriage, homosexuality, parental rights – that divide much of the nation.

So why prosecute the case in Buffalo?

The allegation is that Miller, eager to leave what she now calls the “homosexual lifestyle,” fled Virginia with her daughter in 2009 and, with the help of co-defendant Philip Zodhiates, made her way to Buffalo.

It was here, at the Greater Buffalo International Airport, that she hired a taxi driver to take them across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada. From there, they made their way to Mexico and ultimately Nicaragua.

“Janet believes that her daughter is still in Central America in the company of Lisa Miller and the Amish Mennonite community,” Sarah R. Star, Jenkins’ Vermont lawyer, said in a statement.

Jenkins is eager to have her daughter home and is asking anyone who might know where she is to please come forward.

“Isabella is sorely missed by her mother Janet, her aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and many friends who have not seen her in five years,” the attorney said. “She requests that anyone with further information about Isabella’s whereabouts or her well-being contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.”

A renounced relationship

The photos of a smiling 7-year-old girl in blond pigtails have been part of the National Center’s website for four years.

A flyer with the words, “Missing. Please bring me home,” has been circulating since Miller fled Virginia with Isabella, leaving behind Jenkins, her partner from a civil union in Vermont.

Years earlier, Miller had renounced their relationship, returned to Virginia and, according to the Times, taken a job teaching at Liberty Christian Academy, a school founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

By then, Vermont had dissolved their civil union and granted custody to Miller and visiting rights to Jenkins.

Miller, now 46, would later acknowledge that, even before she and Jenkins moved from Virginia to Vermont, a state that recognized same-sex unions, she had started questioning their lesbian relationship.

Miller, who became pregnant through in vitro fertilization, also had a troublesome pregnancy with Isabella and, in notes that later became public, acknowledged a desire to reconnect with the church.

“I promised God that, if he would save my baby, I would leave the homosexual lifestyle,” she said in one of her journals.

One of her lawyers, Rena M. Lindevaldsen, associate dean of the Liberty University Law School, refers to the notes in “Only One Mommy,” her 2011 book on Miller’s decadelong fight to become Isabella’s only parent.

When the courts in Vermont and Virginia disagreed and upheld Jenkins’ visitation rights, Miller tried stopping her former partner from seeing their daughter.

Lisa-Miller-and isabella poster

When the courts again intervened and ultimately granted Jenkins custody, she left Virginia and never returned.

“I only want to see my daughter,” Jenkins told the Times in 2012. “What’s hard for me is not knowing what she’s going through.”

National implications

Jenkins, now 49, is still in Vermont and has since married another woman.

Even before she fled, there were hints that Miller might not accept the courts’ rulings on Jenkins’ visitation and custody rights.

In a 2009 letter to a judge in Vermont, according to the Times, she said Isabella, “knows from her own reading of the Bible that marriage is between a man and a woman … that she can not have two mommies.”

“What is at stake,” she told the judge, “is the health and well-being of an intelligent, delightful, beautiful, 7-year-old Christian girl.”

Early on in her custody fight, Miller enlisted the support of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit Christian organization known for its pro bono work on issues such as same-sex marriage. The group argued that Virginia law, which did not recognize civil unions, should have precedence over the case, and that Miller should be declared Isabella’s sole parent.

A lower court in Virginia initially agreed, but the state’s appeals court took a far different stance. It said Vermont’s laws should rule.

Viewed as a custody fight with national implications, gay-rights groups such as Lambda Legal and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders have joined the battle, providing legal aid to Jenkins.

No sightings since 2011

Sometime in late September 2009, Isabella and her mother arrived in Managua, Nicaragua, and were greeted by Timothy D. Miller, a Mennonite pastor who is no relation to Miller.

He took the two of them to Jinotega, a town in the “coffee-growing hills of northern Nicaragua,” according to the Times. They stayed for about two months, he told the paper, and returned to Managua, but had trouble accepting the isolation there.

Mother and daughter eventually went back to Jinotega but, in 2011, disappeared when word filtered back that Timothy Miller had been arrested in Washington, D.C., and charged with aiding in Isabella’s abduction.

By all accounts, there have been no sightings of Isabella or her mother since then. Authorities believe they are still somewhere in Nicaragua.

Lindevaldsen could not be reached to comment, but in a 2012 interview with C-SPAN, said she has no idea where her client ended up.

“It seems at one point she was in Nicaragua,” she said at the time, “but that’s all I know, as far as what’s in the court papers.”

The latest indictment also charges Timothy Miller and Philip Zodhiates with helping Lisa Miller escape the country. Zodhiates, a Virginia businessman, is accused of traveling with them to Buffalo and then contacting an unidentified individual who helped them make their way through Canada.

Zodhiates could not be reached to comment, but is expected to be arraigned Wednesday in Buffalo before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy.

For Timothy Miller, this is the second round of federal charges. He was charged in 2011 after his arrest, but the government dropped the charges, reportedly because he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

A few months later, another Miller, Kenneth, a Mennonite pastor in Virginia, also was charged with aiding in Isabella’s kidnapping. None of the Millers are related.

In 2012, a federal court jury in Vermont deliberated only four hours before finding Kenneth Miller guilty. His 27-month prison sentence was stayed pending his appeal.

Defense lawyers for Kenneth and Timothy Miller could not be reached to comment, and prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont and Buffalo declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the FBI and Interpol’s search for Lisa Miller continues.

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


October 1 , 2014

Source: abc7news

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

Sabrina Allen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Parental Abduction – U.S. Woman Enters Plea in International Kidnap Case


September 30 , 2014

Source: abcnews

A woman accused of abducting her infant daughter from South Carolina 20 years ago pleaded not guilty Monday during her first court appearance after being extradited from Australia.

Dorothy lee barnett

Dorothy Lee Barnett, 54, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Bristow Marchant. Her attorney requested that her bond hearing be delayed.

Barnett faces a count of parental kidnapping and two counts of falsifying U.S. passport applications. Authorities allege she did not have custody of her then 10-month-old daughter Savanna Catherine Todd when she took her from South Carolina back in 1994.

Barnett was found in Australia last year where she had been living under several aliases. She fought extradition but was finally returned to the United States last week.

Her attorney, Russell W. Mace III, told the judge he needs time to contact Barnett’s family and friends from out of state and out of the country to come vouch for his client. At a bond hearing a judge decides whether a defendant can be released after weighing whether he or she is a flight risk.

Mace told the judge his client had been back since Friday and he only met her for the first time Saturday.

He told reporters later that he has been in contact with Barnett by telephone since she was arrested and jailed in Australia last November. He would not comment further.

Barnett appeared before the judge in a gray-striped prison jumpsuit and there were shackles on her hands as she signed the court papers acknowledging her plea. She did not comment except to tell the judge she understood both the charges and that she would have to remain in jail at least until the bond hearing.

Conviction on the charges carries a maximum penalty of 30 years.

Authorities said that in 1994, Barnett left for a birthday party with her daughter and never returned. The previous year Barnett had filed for divorce from her husband, Benjamin Harris Todd III, a Bowling Green, Kentucky, native and former Charleston stockbroker.

The daughter has since been living a normal life in Australia, authorities said.

Prosecutors have not yet said just how Barnett was found in Australia after almost two decades.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams, who told the judge the government will oppose bond, would not comment following the hearing.

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Parental Kidnapping – Va. mother faces kidnapping charges


September 29 , 2014

Source: charlestondailymail 

A Virginia woman wanted by police after allegedly kidnapping her three children was arrested in Kanawha County.

Lisa Ann Cantrell

State Police stopped Lisa Ann Cantrell, 50, of Pound, Va., late Saturday on the West Virginia Turnpike in Kanawha County. Cantrell was wanted for kidnapping her three children, a 17-year-old boy, and two girls, aged 12 and 9.

The Wise County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office issued information about a “possible parental child abduction” on their Facebook page over the weekend. The post identified Cantrell and displayed pictures of her and her three children. A description of her vehicle, a green Chevrolet Suburban with Virginia license plates, was also given in the post.

A State Police parkways dispatcher said the vehicle’s information was entered into the National Crime Information Center’s database. A license plate reader in a State Police cruiser picked up the SUV’s tags as it passed at about 10 p.m. Saturday on Interstate 77-64 and the trooper pulled the vehicle over, the dispatcher said.

Virginia deputies posted on Facebook Sunday that the three children were “safe” and that family members were en route to West Virginia to pick them up. Wise deputies were not available for comment Sunday.

Cantrell is being held without bond at South Central Regional Jail and is awaiting extradition to Virginia where she will face kidnapping charges.

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