Parental kidnapping

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Parental kidnapping

Postby Marina » Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:35 pm

. ... &aid=72088

Jul 29, 2007

Police Seek Woman Who Took Children From Foster Care

July 28, 2007

The search is on for a pregnant Bronx mother of six and her boyfriend, who police say abducted the woman's children as they were headed to foster care.

Police say 28-year-old Madeline Cotto and her boyfriend, Malik Martin, took the kids from their grandmother's Allerton home Tuesday.

The children's aunt spoke to NY1 about the situation, but asked to keep her identity hidden.

"It's been torture," she said. "It's been pure torture, because we don't know what to do, we really don't."

The children are in between foster homes, and had been staying with Cotto's mother temporarily.

Their aunt says Cotto was worried that the children - who range in age from six months to 14 years - weren't safe in foster care.

"She's just concerned," the aunt told NY1. "She doesn't want her kids to be mistreated because ACS (the city's Administration for Children's Services) had placed them into a home that was terrible. My nephews lost a lot of weight and she kept fighting and fighting and kept telling them you have to remove them from there."

Officials with the Administration for Children's Services are not saying why the children were taken from their mother, or commenting on the aunt's allegations.

But ACS released a statement saying "Children's Services is working with the NYPD in investigating this matter and in helping to ensure the safe return of the children."

Last edited by Marina on Wed May 07, 2008 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Marina » Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:08 pm


Child Found In Woods, Mom Faces Charge

The Garland County Sheriff's Office found a missing 3-year-old boy just before 12:30 p.m. Monday. Connor Williams was found in a deer stand in a wooded area off Whitfield Road near the Sunshine Community.

He had chigger bites, scratches and was thirsty, but was otherwise in good condition. He was taken to a Hot Springs hospital to be checked out.

The toddler's mother, Diana Farmer, 39, was found around 9:30 Monday morning in the same area.

Cindi Golden-Moore says she heard Farmer yelling and called authorities. (Click the THVideo to watch her full, uncut interview about what happened.)

Deputies found Farmer about 15 minutes later. She was dehydrated, but otherwise not injured.

About 50 searchers converged on the wooded area west of Hot Springs to search for the toddler. An ambulance crew member found the child in the deer stand about three hours later.

Authorities say the child and his mother disappeared on Friday. Police believe Farmer took the boy to hide from the state Department of Human Services. State authorities reportedly had an order to pick up the child.

Farmer faces a first-degree child endangerment charge and bond was set at $2,500.


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Postby Marina » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:44 pm


Police Find Missing Mom, Daughter In Texas

Mon Sep 17, 8:03 PM ET

A missing 4-year-old girl from New Mexico is now in the custody of Child Protective Services in Lubbock, Texas.

Rio Rancho police said Labrenda Bunny took her daughter Darilynn from the Rio Rancho foster home that they lived in.

Police told Action 7 News that Labrenda did not have custody of her daughter because she has mental challenges.

The 18-year-old called her foster parents Monday morning while police were at the home. Police said they then convinced her to return the girl.

"I explained to her that running is not the answer. My ultimate goal was to get her and her child to a safe haven, and she ended up turning herself in in Texas," said Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety Director John Francis.

Officials will now bring the child back to New Mexico.

Police said that Labrenda will not face charges because she is the biological mother and they lived in the same house.


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Postby Marina » Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:15 am


This isn't really a kidnapping case, but is related. ... and_lie_c/

Woman sentenced to prison for asking kids, ex-husband to lie to child welfare staff

By Aisling Swift

Monday, September 24, 2007

A 31-year-old Fort Myers woman was sentenced to two years in a state prison Monday for asking her children and ex-husband to lie to Child Protective Services employees about the children’s whereabouts.

Angel Diane Shell pleaded no contest to two counts of child neglect as part of a plea agreement negotiated by Assistant State Attorney Deborah Schwartz and defense attorney Joseph Cerino.

She faced up to five years in a state prison for each of the third-degree felonies, but her sentencing score sheet added up to a minimum of 19.5 months, not a recommendation for prison time.

Collier Circuit Judge Frank Baker adjudicated her guilty and imposed the 24-month sentence. Shell hugged her parents goodbye, was fingerprinted and taken away.

On July 11, Shell’s husband, David Wayne Shell, 39, formerly of Bonita Springs and Marco Island, was sentenced to 35 years in a state prison after pleading no contest to two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation involving two boys he knew, who were ages 9 and 10.

He’d remained in the Collier County jail since his arrest in July 2004.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office reports say he fondled them and forced sex on them. Records show he had previously served five years in a state prison due to a 1994 arrest on similar charges and prison terms for grand theft charges in Collier and Lee counties.

As part of the plea bargain in the molestation case, Shell was to testify against his ex-wife in the Child Protective Services case involving their children.

The couple divorced in 1998 and there was a no-contact order barring Shell from seeing his children. But his wife allowed him to be the primary caregiver between 2001 and 2004 and then asked him to lie about it. At his sentencing, Shell told Baker his children didn’t want to go back to their mother.

Sheriff’s reports show Angel Shell lied to deputies and a Child Protective Services worker and said the children were with her in Tennessee, when she’d actually left them with their father. The report says she also told their children to lie and was confronted by a Child Protective Services employee, who told her they knew she’d asked the children to lie.

After sentencing, Schwartz called it an appropriate sentence, noting the term was more than the minimum called for under Shell’s sentencing guidelines score.


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Postby Marina » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:47 pm


Published October 29, 2007 06:57 pm -

Kidnapped infant in foster care

The Port Arthur News

By Debby Schamber

The News staff writer

VIDOR — A two-week-old infant kidnapped from his Vidor home over the weekend was found unharmed by local law enforcement Sunday.

Shari Pulliam, spokesperson for Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, reported the child was found in the custody of its grandmother at a local hospital. The grandmother was initially awarded custody of the infant.

Jason Michael Mitchell was born Oct. 13 and at the time of his birth tested positive for drugs. Officials with Child Protective Services were notified and placed the infant with a relative.

However, they felt the relative was “not protective of the infant.” A decision was made to remove the child from the home and place him in foster care, according to Pulliam.

As part of the procedure, CPS officials along with deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office went to the home to remove the baby from the house.

“While there the CPS case worker was verbally threatened,” Pulliam said.

Officials stayed at the front of the home, but it is believed an aunt, Sara Stone, ran out the back door with the infant, Pulliam said.

Officials with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office issued an Amber Alert while CPS alerted the media for assistance in locating the infant.

CPS also took custody of a 2-year-old girl in the home and placed her in foster care.

“Through some information we received, we were able to locate the baby at the hospital,” said Lt. Tommy Smith, of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The infant was examined by medical personnel and found to be in good health. CPS was contacted and the infant was turned over for them to place him in foster care.

The investigation continues and no arrests in the case have been made Smith said.


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Postby Marina » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:40 pm

. ... 02news.txt

Kidnapped girls found but not returned home

By Stephanie Flemmons, Staff Writer
(Created: Sunday, November 04, 2007)

Parental alienation is a growing form of child abuse occurring in the world that is rarely addressed.

It affects a child’s mental and emotional well-being and creates a world of hatred toward a parent, typically in a high-conflict divorce situation. It deprives children of being loved by both parents, according to Sarvy Emo, spokesperson for Parental Alienation Awareness Organization.

Courts around the world aren’t recognizing the issue. Children are influencing court decisions after being manipulated by one parent, then leaving the other parent feeling abandoned.

Michael Peterson, Plano father of Katie and Emma, said he has been a victim of this growing dilemma.

After a custody battle in March 2005 didn’t go the way his ex-wife, Tedra Erickson, intended, the story began.

Collin County Judge Curt Henderson ruled Peterson and Erickson were required to meet at the Plano police station to exchange the children. In April, Peterson went to meet his girls, and they never showed.

After a year of no word where his children were, Peterson hired Private Investigator Phillip Cline.

In September 2006, Cline located his girls in Tralee, Ireland, a remote town of 2,500. They were living with Erickson and her mother Kay.

It finally became Peterson’s time to see his girls.

Peterson said a trial took place in Ireland under the rules of the Hague Child Abduction Convention. Those rules help prevent international child abduction and provide a secure legal framework for cross-border contact among children and their parents when families separate.

He said a psychologist interviewed Katie and Emma together for 45 minutes.

“Through testimony, both girls said there was nothing in the United States they ever liked,” Peterson said.

He had one afternoon alone with his children in the foreign town of Tralee.

“They were both acting defiant,” Peterson said. “My oldest, Katie, was very angry at me, saying that I was terrible and had done everything bad in the world.”

Peterson said he attempted to buy Emma an iPod, and she wouldn’t accept anything from him.

“It was terribly hard to hear,” Peterson said. “They told me they hate me and never wanted to see me again. Tedra told them lies and bad-mouthed me.”

Peterson was left with a difficult decision. He said he didn’t want to force the girls to be miserable so he sent them home.

Erickson was unavailable for comment.

His one afternoon alone with his girls was ruined.

“It breaks my heart,” Peterson said. “All I wanted to do was take them away with me.”

Peterson came back to Plano, where he awaited the judge’s decision to send his children back under the Hague Convention.

Peterson said the judge’s ruling was shocking. The judge said his children seemed settled in Ireland, so he wasn’t going to force them to leave.

“They don’t believe in parental alienation,” Peterson said. “They wouldn’t even let us bring it up in court. What Tedra has done is illegal.”

A Collin County grand jury indicted Erickson and her mother on Interference with Child Custody, a state-jail felony.

Now, Peterson’s only hope to see his girls is through extradition.

Cline said out of 16 years as a child rescue investigator, this is one of the most aggressive cases of parental alienation he has seen.

“I bring kids back from all over the world,” Cline said. “In this case, these children are going to need extreme psycho-therapy. I believe the children will come back to their father, but it won’t be kisses and roses. It will be a long, hard road for the entire family.”

Dr. Richard Warshack, author of “Divorce Poison Protecting the Parent-Child Relationship,” a best-selling book on parental alienation, said in most abduction cases children are easily convinced the other parent is a bad person to be around.

“It can happen very quickly, and it’s very distressing,” said Warshack, who is also a clinical professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “Families need a psychologist to heal the damaged relationship.”

He said parents go to many lengths to undermine a child’s love and respect toward another parent. He said the “favorite” parent lies and exaggerates and speaks badly about the “rejected” parent.

“I’ve seen children grow up and be depressed as a result of parental alienation,” Warshack said. “They feel used by the parent they favored, but also angry with the parent they rejected because they think they didn’t try hard enough.”

In most cases the parent that was favored tells the children the other parent doesn’t want to see them anymore.

“I want my girls back,” Peterson said. “I’ve looked into intense therapy. It’s going to be hard on the kids and tough on me.”

Peterson said he is frustrated with the amount of time it is taking to have Erickson and her mother extradited and his children’s safe return home. He said he is unsure if Ireland will fight extradition.

“I know if I would have done the same thing, being a male, I would have been brought back a long time ago,” Peterson said.

Curtis Howard, Collin County assistant district attorney, said his side of the paperwork to complete the extradition process is complete and he is waiting on the Department of Justice and the State Department to do final approval. He said he is unsure what the status is in Ireland.

“It’s hard to tell when they will be extradited,” Howard said. “I’m hoping it will happen in the next couple of weeks.”

Cline said there have been some communication errors between Collin County and the federal government.

“This has been unusually long,” Cline said. “They are working very hard, but there has been a lot of confusion on statute.”

Jeff Rich, Plano Police detective who helped locate the children, said this case isn’t over.

“My goal is to make sure the children are safe,” Rich said. “We want the offenders brought to justice. We are working toward extradition, but at this point it is out of our hands.”

Peterson said he is surprised more charges have not been filed on Erickson. He said she forged documents in order to take the girls out of the country.

“Kidnapping is exactly what it is,” Peterson said. “The D.A. should indict her on everything under the sun.”

Rich said indictments are a matter of the elements of the offense.

“We fit the offense for the crime committed,” Rich said. “Interference with Child Custody is the crime that occurred.”

Howard said Erickson will be extradited on the single criminal charge. He said any federal crimes she committed are out of the state’s hands.

Cline said he has seen courts up charges when parents run away despite a court order.

“I would not be surprised if Howard ups the charges,” Cline said. “This is really egregious what this mother has done. She has poisoned the brains of her kids.”

Cline described parental alienation as an epidemic.

“It’s time to start sending a message,” Cline said. “You do it — you’ll go to jail.”


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Postby Marina » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:08 pm


Mother arrested, authorities now seek two missing girls

11/16/07 16:32:54

Authorities are searching for two young sisters who they say were abducted by their mother outside the Child Protective Services office in Fresno.

Modesto police arrested 36-year-old Bianca Molina on Thursday night after she led officers on a chase while driving a stolen car.

California Highway Patrol officers followed her to a home where she was arrested but her 5-and-3-year-old daughters weren't there.

Police say witnesses told officers the girls left with an older sister before they arrived to arrest Molina.


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Postby Marina » Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:52 pm


Court Worker Charged in Connection with Abduction

Rutland, Vermont - November 16, 2007

For the fourth time in two weeks, a Vermont court worker is accused of a crime.

Friday, police charged Cynthia Cameron, 59, a Rutland Family Court guardian ad litem, for being an accomplice in the abduction of a young girl. Police say Cameron got criminally involved in a bitter custody case by helping the girl's mother abduct and hide her 8-year-old daughter from the child's father. Police say they located the girl in Cameron's apartment last night-- two days after the abduction. Cameron is free on conditions.

The girl's mother, Joanne Murphy, 45, of Massachusetts, is being held on $5,000 bail.


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Postby Marina » Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:42 pm


Missing Modesto girls returned

By Rosalio Ahumada /

The Modesto Bee11/18/07 00:00:00

Two missing Modesto girls were turned over to Modesto police Saturday after a four-day search that police said started when their mother abducted the girls from outside a Child Protective Services office in Fresno.

Bianca Galvan, 5, and Maritza Palafox, 3, were in the custody of the Stanislaus County Child Protective Services on Saturday afternoon.

The girls' older sister, Priscilla DeLeon, took the girls to Modesto police headquarters shortly before noon, said Sgt. Craig Gundlach. The girls appeared to be in good health with no sign of injuries, he said.

DeLeon, 18, called Modesto police detectives Saturday morning and told them she would bring the children to the department.

Bianca and Maritza had been scheduled to meet their mother, Bianca Molina, 36, for a supervised visit Wednesday in downtown Fresno. When Molina saw her children with their foster mother as they approached the building, she scooped them into a car and fled, authorities said.

Molina drove away with the girls in a blue 2007 Dodge Caliber.

The car had been rented by Molina's acquaintance, said Fresno police Lt. Don Gross. Molina reportedly borrowed the car, but when she failed to return it, her acquaintance reported it stolen. He said the theft report was filed before the alleged abduction.

On Thursday, police arrested Molina after spotting her driving the stolen car near downtown Modesto, Gundlach said. Officers initially lost her in rush hour traffic, but the California Highway Patrol spotted the car and followed her to a house in the 1500 block of Holm Avenue. A little girl was seen running from the car before police caught up.

Gundlach said the officers approached the car and found that the driver was Molina. She was taken into custody.

Before the officers had time to talk with the house's occupants, witnesses said, the girls left with a woman who police believe was DeLeon.

Gundlach said DeLeon was not arrested or detained after bringing the girls in, but she stayed with the girls until CPS officials arrived. He said the priority had been to take Molina into custody and have the girls returned safely to authorities.

"I'm not sure there was enough evidence to arrest her," Gundlach said of DeLeon.

Detectives will send their report to the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office, where prosecutors will determine if DeLeon will face criminal charges.

Molina was being held at the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on Saturday on charges of child abduction, evading a police officer and vehicle theft. Her bail was $80,000.

The reporter can be reached at [email protected] or (209) 578-2394.


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Postby Marina » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:38 pm

. ... S/71126033

November 26, 2007

Woman accused in kidnapping baby seeks to regain parental rights in Tupelo

The Associated Press

TUPELO — A judge closed a court hearing Monday as a birth mother sought to regain custody the baby girl she is accused of kidnapping last summer.

Jamie Diane Kiefer, 23, of Mantachie, was asking the Chancery Court to rule that her surrender of parental rights was invalid. Authorities say Kiefer gave the baby girl, Madison Erickson, up for adoption earlier this year.

Jamie Kiefer and her sister, Rikki Swann, have been charged with kidnapping. They are accused of taking the infant without consent from the home of Jennifer and Matt Erickson, who want to adopt the child. The baby was taken in July.

An Itawamba County grand jury is set to consider the kidnapping charges Dec. 10.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported on its Web site that in response to a motion by the Ericksons' attorney, Judge Michael Malski closed the custody proceedings to the public.


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Postby Marina » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:55 am

. ... source=rss

Mother says she didn’t ‘run off’ with child

by By Susan Reinhardt, [email protected]
published December 8, 2007 12:15 am

PUEBLO, Colo.- A woman accused of disappearing with her 4-year-old daughter after leaving Franklin to live in Colorado said this week she never intended to deny her husband parental rights.

Crystal "Amethyst" Tabor spoke after her former boyfriend, also the child's father, said in a Dec. 2 article that his daughter had been the victim of a parental abduction, a term used often by parents of missing children and their advocates.

Tabor and former boyfriend Timothy Shirley share custody of their daughter, although there is no formal custody agreement. Tabor left for Colorado in February 2006. Shirley said he had not heard from her since.

Tabor said this week she was taking college classes and gave birth to a son a week ago.

"I haven't had the money to come back and visit," she said. "I plan on residing in Colorado. This is my home, and I've made good friends here and where I plan on living. But I want it to be known I didn't run off with Adrianna."

Macon County Sheriff Robby Holland said Tabor was within her rights to move and take the child with her because there is no court custody arrangement.

Tabor's brother, Patrick Frary of Mars Hill, said Timothy Shirley and his wife Sadie Shirley had access to phone numbers of Amethyst Tabor's relatives and could have gotten in touch.

"Sadie and Timothy had my cell number," Frary said. "I gave it to them three weeks ago."

Frary said he provided the number for Tabor, who is living in Pueblo, Colo., with her mother and newborn child.

She said she moved to Colorado to be with her fiancé, who has since died. Her mother, Sandy Frary, also moved to the area to be with her child and grandchild.

"She's not a bad person," Sandy Frary said of her daughter. "She's not hiding or running. She just moved there and chose to stay."

She agreed to return to Franklin and allow Timothy Shirley supervised visits with his child. She said she also has no problem with him coming to Colorado to see his daughter.

The Shirleys said again this week they had no idea where to find Amethyst Tabor before she came forward.


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Postby Marina » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:35 am

. ... st_emailed


Global saga alleges kidnapping, abuse

By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Article Last Updated: 02/15/2008 09:32:33 AM EST

Friday, February 15
PITTSFIELD — A Dalton couple who failed to comply with a court order to surrender custody of their children to the state Department of Social Services are facing kidnapping charges.
Officials believe that the three children, all minors, are currently in Russia with their mother, a native of that country, while their father is being held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on $1 million bail. A warrant has been issued for the mother's arrest, according to Central Berkshire District Court officials.

The complex case involves a DSS investigation into allegations of possible physical and sexual abuse of the couple's youngest son and the couple's counterclaim that their son was sexually assaulted by a Dalton child-care worker. No charges have been filed in connection with either allegation, however.

When DSS investigators went to the Dalton couple's Kirchner Road home last month to take custody of the children, they learned that the mother had left Massachusetts with the children, traveling first to New York City, where they briefly stayed with relatives in the Staten Island borough before reportedly fleeing to Russia, according to court records.


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Postby Marina » Wed May 07, 2008 6:54 pm

. ... 59802.html

May 7, 2008, 9:51AM
Parents likely to face charges after taking children
The 4 children, found safe, went missing from their Algoa foster home

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

ALGOA — Galveston authorities are determining whether an Alvin couple violated the law after four children were reported abducted from an Algoa foster home in defiance of a court order.

Officials were unsure whether to charge Gary Alan Loeffler, 36, and Rhonda Kaye Loeffler, 42, with interfering with child custody, said Galveston County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Barry, lead investigator in the case.

"There's a little confusion if this is a civil or criminal matter," Barry said.

The Galveston County Sheriff's Office issued an Amber Alert, which enlists the media in searches for missing children, late Monday, sheriff's spokesman Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo said.

Rhonda Loeffler learned that she and her husband were being sought by investigators and phoned the sheriff's office, Barry said.

"We spoke by cell phone, and it was arranged for her and her husband ... to bring them to the Santa Fe Police Department," Barry said.

Barry interviewed the Loefflers, the children, foster parents and Child Protective Services workers at the police department, he said.

Whether the couple violated the law was unclear, Barry said.

He said the Loefflers, who are living in Alvin, sought advice from the Alvin Police Department before they took the children.

Barry declined to say what the Loefflers were told by Alvin police, but said it was possible that they misinterpreted the advice.

The Loefflers retained visiting rights and visited the children Monday, he said. They left, then returned and called the children, who ran to waiting vehicles.

The children were taken to the Loefflers' home in Alvin, he said.

Tuttoilmondo said information from the interviews will be given to District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk, who will determine whether the couple will be charged.

A Brazoria County judge ordered the children removed from the parents four years ago because of physical abuse, said Gwen Carter, CPS spokeswoman.

Carter said the children were placed with friends of the family.

The father was released from prison Nov. 6, after a two-year sentence for his second conviction for violence against a family member, according to Department of Public Safety records. The records do not indicate who was the victim.

He was sentenced to three years in prison in 1998 on a burglary conviction.


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Postby Marina » Thu May 08, 2008 5:58 pm

. ... 18582.html

May 8, 2008 6:57 am US/Eastern

Mom Claimed 'Missing' Foster Kids Needed Help

The biological mother accused of helping her two children escape from foster care this week says she did not help them escape, but her children were in distress and in fear of their safety when she took them into her home.

Elaine Diaz, does admit to years of domestic violence and alcohol abuse in her household--the reason why she voluntarily gave up custody of her two children--but this weekend those two children went missing from a church daycare, where the foster parents had dropped them off. However, accusations aired Tuesday that she had aided in their escape, she says are not true.

Miami-Dade Juvenile Court Judge Cindy Lederman on Tuesday explained how two children in foster care who went missing over the weekend and later found by DCF told a story of their biological mother taking them.

The judge said, "The children the story told us is much more interesting than an earlier story; it involves the mother picking them up."

Joshua Diaz admitted it was his mother that picked he and his sister Cinnamon up from a daycare center on Sunday, and hid when police went looking for them. Diaz says that's not the case. According to her, the children called her on Monday to tell her they had ran away and wanted to be with her. That is when she picked them up.

"I'm not going to deny that, because they got scared," said Diaz. "Cinnamon was begging me not to turn them in, and they hid on their own. I took the detective into the room holding the detectives hand, shut my bedroom door, and told her to come out of the closet. And you can ask the detective that."

Miami-Dade police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta told CBS4 Ileana Varela that the mother confessed about taking the children.

According to the state, the mother lost custody of her children because of drug abuse and neglect.

But she says her children were scared and she was just trying to protect them.

"This is why I signed and surrendered and gave my rights up, to give my children a better life," said Diaz. "I didn't expect all this to happen. My parental rights weren't terminated; I surrendered. And this is what is happening, they're going through more trauma."

Cinnamon and Joshua were in the playground at Northwest Miami-Dade Weekend Day Care Center when they were reported missing. Cinnamon is 12 years-old and Joshua is 7.

The babysitting service is run by the church next door, Genuine Love Ministries, in the area of NW 183rd Street and 48th Avenue. The care center is led by Pastor Charles Thompson, who despite what happened, insists the center provided a secure and safe environment.


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Postby Marina » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:24 pm ... st_emailed

Judge lets kidnapping charges stand

By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Article Last Updated: 08/03/2008 09:15:05 AM EDT

Saturday, August 02
PITTSFIELD — A Central Berkshire District Court judge has denied an attempt to dismiss charges filed against a Dalton man accused of kidnapping his three children in January after failing to surrender them to the Department of Social Services.
The court yesterday scheduled Louis A. Piccone's trial for Oct. 27 in District Court's jury-of-six session. Several other legal issues pertaining to Piccone's trial were also discussed yesterday, including two additional defense motions, one of which has yet to be filed, and the defendant's current bail status.

Piccone, 45, of Kirchner Road, has been charged with three counts of kidnapping of a minor by a relative, charges that the commonwealth has filed as misdemeanors. Those charges carry a maximum penalty of three years in jail and $3,000 in fines.

Piccone, a patent attorney, is currently free on $50,000 bail posted by his sister, an attorney with the federal Department of Homeland Security.

According to police and prosecutors, Piccone and his 32-year-old wife, Elena, conspired to avoid handing their children over to DSS officials, who are investigating an alleged abuse allegation against Louis Piccone. He allegedly facilitated the removal of his children from the United States to Russia. Elena Piccone is a native of that country.

In April, Piccone's attorneys filed a motion that claimed the children left the United States legally with their



mother prior to a judge's order to transfer custody to DSS. A motion hearing took place in May.
In his 18-page written decision, Judge Paul Vrabel denied the motion, citing case law and the circumstances of the case as reasons why the commonwealth satisfied the five elements necessary to file the misdemeanor kidnapping charges against Piccone.

Vrabel's ruling was not discussed during yesterday's hearing before District Court Judge Rita S. Koenigs.

Following the hearing, Attorney Eric Tennen of Boston, who represented Piccone, said the defense "disagrees strongly" with Vrabel's reasoning, adding that the ruling failed to address the validity of the order issued in Juvenile Court and whether or not the statute provides for prosecution under these circumstances.

The defense also filed a motion Thursday asking the court to impound and prohibit anyone other than Piccone and his legal counsel from viewing any documents the commonwealth seized in connection with searches it conducted until a court hearing can be held on what they found. The motion refers to materials found in the defendant's personal luggage or e-mail accounts.

Tennen said numerous e-mails have statements that contain either attorney-client privilege or information pertinent to Piccone's business activities. Authorities seized Piccone's personal documents, including attorney-client privileged material, when they searched his luggage in February and March. The commonwealth also executed two search warrants at America Online Inc. in April seeking Piccone's e-mail messages, the motion states.

Koenigs ordered all materials relevant to the case impounded and sealed in the court clerk's office until further notice. She ordered any additional computer copies deleted or rewritten. The commonwealth was also ordered to provide a list of anyone who has viewed any of the materials.

The documents seized by the commonwealth have been viewed by Dalton Police and are on the hard drive in the department's computer system, Tennen said. Second Assistant District Attorney Joan M. McMenemy said that only Dalton Police Chief John W. Bartels and two officers investigating the case have viewed the seized e-mails. A summary of the information — not all of the documentation — has been placed on the Police Department's computers, she added.

Tennen also told the court that he planned to file a motion to suppress documents after reviewing the information the commonwealth has seized. Tennen is required to file the motion by Sept. 8. A motion hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8.

McMenemy said the probation department has reported Piccone out of range of the Global Positioning System device he is required to carry four times since April, including twice since July 23. Piccone is required to carry the GPS system as a condition his release on bail.

Koenigs said there would now be a "zero tolerance" policy regarding Piccone's use of the GPS, adding that an additional violation could result in revocation of his right to bail.


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Postby Marina » Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:30 pm ... 744447.txt

Baby Vanesa returned safely to Utah

By The Associated Press
Thursday, October 2, 2008 2:06 AM MDT

SALT LAKE CITY -- Child-welfare authorities say an infant taken cross-country by her mother in violation of a custody order has been safely returned to Utah.

The mother, Sheila Crump, was arrested in Tennessee last week on charges of taking the 9-week-old girl out of state.

Utah authorities took custody a day after the infant, Vanesa, was born Aug. 3. She was low-weight and had fetal drug exposure.

Utah Department of Human Services spokeswoman Elizabeth Sollis says a caseworker brought Vanesa to Utah on a commercial flight Tuesday.

Crump disappeared with the baby from a treatment center a week ago after taking the girl to Primary Children's Medical Center for an undisclosed medical problem.

A sheriff's deputy for Washington County, Tenn., said it wasn't possible for The Associated Press to reach Crump in jail by telephone for comment.

Salt Lake County has a contract with Lokken & Associates, a law firm, to represent indigent parents in custody battles, Sollis said.

Lisa Lokken, president of the law firm, refused to say Wednesday whether it represented Crump.

Crump has been charged with first-degree felony child kidnapping charge, Midvale police Sgt. John Salazar said. The charge was filed Friday in 3rd District Court.

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Postby Marina » Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:46 pm

Child Abuse Professionals Rally Around American Fugitive Returning to the US After 14 Years in Hiding

Desperate to protect her children from skull fractures, black eyes and repeated beatings, Holly Ann Collins fled to the Netherlands. There, the Dutch Court granted her human rights asylum after ruling it would be too dangerous for them to return to their father. Now, fourteen years later, Holly Ann Collins and her children are finally coming home.

Newswise — Desperate to protect her children from skull fractures, black eyes and repeated beatings, Holly Ann Collins fled to the Netherlands. There, the Dutch Court granted her human rights asylum after ruling it would be too dangerous for them to return to their father. Now, fourteen years later, Holly Ann Collins and her children are finally coming home.

In a Hennepin County, Minnesota court house Tuesday, Holly Ann Collins pled guilty to contempt of court and accepted 40 hours of community service. The more serious charges of kidnapping and custody interference that could have resulted in a long prison sentence were dismissed. Holly Ann Collins acknowledged in an interview that she indeed had contempt for the court that ordered her children into a life of abuse.

As the story of those 14 years has unfolded, Holly Ann Collins who left in secret as an outlaw is being welcomed back by domestic violence professionals and child abuse experts as a heroic woman who valued her children’s safety above all else.

When Holly Ann and her children, Zachary and Jennifer, arrived in the Netherlands in 1994 and asked for asylum, they were placed in a refugee camp with families from around the world escaping violence and war. Holly Ann’s generous nature led many of the war orphans in the camp to gravitate to her, and she eventually included many of them in her own family. After three years and extensive evaluation the Dutch government granted her permanent asylum. When the FBI tracked her down a year ago, the Dutch government refused to extradite her.

Dr. Eli Newberger, a member of the Leadership Council’s Board and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard University, evaluated Jennifer and Zachary before they were placed in the custody of their father. The court ignored his team’s findings. “Despite the children’s clear disclosures of abuse, their documented history of serious injuries, and our team’s strong conclusion that the children needed to be protected, the court still chose to place them with the person they feared most in the world,” states Newberger.

The court acknowledged abuse had taken place but was swayed by the bogus legal argument that the children’s fears were a result of “Parental Alienation Syndrome,” a legal strategy of accused abusers which claims mothers brainwash children into false abuse disclosures. Holly Ann was allowed only limited, supervised visitations in which the children where forbidden to talk to their mother about the abuse or show her their bruises. When they were 9 and 11, Jennifer and Zachary passed her secret notes during supervised visits begging to be rescued from their father’s home.

Jennifer Collins, now a 23 year old psychology student, clearly remembers the abuse and wants to help other children forced to live with abusive parents. Jennifer was invited to tell her story to an audience of mental health professionals working in the field of family violence at the 13th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego on September 17, 2008. Over a thousand attendees were riveted by her account of her escape from child abuse and gave her a standing ovation as she received a medal of courage from the California Protective Parents Association and the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence.

Dr. Joyanna Silberg, Executive Vice-President of the Leadership Council, spoke about Jennifer’s case to the conference audience and stated that the problems in family court have gotten worse in the last 14 years. The Leadership Council estimates that over 58,000 children a year in the United States are abuse victims that are ordered by family court to have unsupervised contact with abusers when their parents divorce.

The Leadership Council, a coalition of professionals committed to education about child abuse, does not condone breaking the law, but hopes the story of Holly Ann Collins and her children sparks needed reforms that protect children from abusive parents involved in custody disputes.

“A parent shouldn’t have to flee the United States to protect their children from abuse,” notes to Dr. Paul Fink, past President of the American Psychiatric Association and current President of the Leadership Council. He notes that one of the reforms needed is eradication of the use of “Parental Alienation Syndrome” which has been repeatedly debunked by leading professional organizations. Instead of relying on junk science, Dr. Fink contends that courts should actually look at the evidence before them when deciding the best interests of children.

Dr. Fink notes with irony that the media is covering Alec Baldwin this week who claims himself to be a victim of “Parental Alienation Syndrome”. Fink contends that the real victims of this misleading legal strategy are bruised and battered children like Jennifer and Zachary Collins.

The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence is composed of national leaders in psychology, psychiatry, medicine, law, and public policy who are committed to the ethical application of psychological science and countering its misuse by special interest groups. Members of the Council are dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of children and other vulnerable populations.

More information can be found at:

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Postby Marina » Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:07 pm ... 170254.txt

Court bars appeal in child custody case

Nov 24, 2008 - 06:41:41 CST
By the Associated Press

A woman who defied a court order to give up custody of her children by taking them to South Dakota cannot appeal the ruling, the North Dakota Supreme Court said in invoking a rarely used penalty against fugitives.

Lisa Colombe had asked the high court to reverse South Central District Judge Sonna Anderson's November 2007 order granting custody of her 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son to the children's father, Jessy Carlson.

Colombe had been found in contempt of court for denying Carlson the opportunity to visit the children. Colombe fired her attorney three days before the contempt hearing began, saying she could not afford to pay her. Colombe did not appear at the hearing.

Colombe also did not show up for a September 2007 trial in Bismarck, which was held to decide whether she or Carlson should have custody of the youngsters. Anderson denied a last-minute request from Colombe's new attorney to delay the trial.

Colombe appealed the custody ruling, but the North Dakota Supreme Court unanimously ruled last week that her appeal should be dismissed.

Its opinion relies on a court doctrine called the "fugitive dismissal rule." Because Colombe has avoided North Dakota court proceedings, she cannot ask the state's judicial system to reverse a decision that is unfavorable to her, the decision says.

Colombe "has left the jurisdiction, denied the children visitation with their father, and flouted the district court's orders," the Supreme Court's opinion says. "On this record, we are convinced Colombe will use the resources of this court only if the outcome benefits her."

Court filings say Colombe, who is a former teacher at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, has taken the children to the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where she is a tribal member. Carlson, a former resident of Forbes, N.D., now lives in Belle Fourche, S.D., court records say.

The Supreme Court first used the fugitive dismissal rule in 2000, in an appeal filed by Kyle Bell, who was challenging his murder conviction in connection with the June 1993 disappearance of 11-year-old Jeanna North of Fargo.

Following his conviction in August 1999, Bell was being driven to an Oregon prison when he escaped from the inmate bus that was transporting him. The Supreme Court ruled Bell had forfeited his appeal rights by fleeing.

Last week's ruling marked the first time the Supreme Court extended the fugitive dismissal rule to a civil case, the court's opinion says.

"We recognize that the fugitive dismissal rule should be invoked with great caution and restraint, and application of the rule is the ultimate sanction," the opinion says. "However, we conclude that the fugitive dismissal rule is applicable to civil cases, and the facts of this case merit such a harsh result."

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Postby Marina » Mon Dec 15, 2008 7:07 pm ... girls.html

Posted on Sun, Dec. 14, 2008

Pa. official hits Phila. response to missing girls
By Tom Infield

Inquirer Staff Writer

The hunt for two girls reportedly abducted from Philadelphia by their mother might have begun earlier if the city had placed a call to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, a state official said yesterday.
One of the girls, age 10, was returned to Philadelphia on Friday night, a few days after police discovered her panhandling for spare change at a glitzy mall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The other child remained missing.

"Most concerning right now is that no Amber Alert was ever issued," said Stacey Witalec, a welfare department spokeswoman. "I think everyone recognizes that there was a breakdown in the system somewhere."

A spokesman for Mayor Nutter said, however, that the city's child-welfare agency had done more than required to spread the word of the children's disappearance from near a school on Oct. 16.

If the state welfare department didn't know about it, said Doug Oliver, then it had failed to read a report on the incident sent right away to both the city and the state by Jewish Family and Children's Service, a foster-care agency.

On Friday, two social workers from the Philadelphia Department of Human Services flew to Fort Lauderdale and brought back the 10-year-old, Kelley KongKham.

Alicia Taylor, spokeswoman for DHS, said the girl was in good health and "doing well" at a location she would not disclose. The girl was interviewed yesterday by the Police Department's Special Victims Unit.

Her mother, Tammy KongKham, and her sister, Kimberly, 8, remained missing yesterday, Taylor said.

Police reported Friday that they had been living in a hole dug in sand under a sliding-board play station at a playground. They said the mother had cast out Kelley, telling her she had to fend for herself.

KongKham, 35, faces kidnapping and child-endangerment charges, police said.

The children, who lived with KongKham after a divorce, were taken from her and put in foster care this fall because she hadn't kept them in school, officials said.

Police have said the girls went with their mother without a fuss when she approached them near Juniata Park Academy on East Hunting Park Avenue.

The city-state dispute arose after reports Friday that the Amber Alert had dropped between the cracks. Such an alert increases police and public awareness to a missing child in danger.

Taylor said the agency requested the alert on Oct. 16. She quoted the city police, saying that the state police, who control the alerts, had turned down the request on grounds that the case didn't meet Amber Alert criteria.

But Jack Lewis, a state police spokesman, said yesterday that state police never received a request for an Amber Alert.

Witalec, the welfare department spokeswoman, said, "Right now, I think finger-pointing is secondary to everyone looking for the child."

But she said that state regulations required DHS to call the department to report the disappearance.

If it had done so, she said, "I think we could have reacted faster. We could have learned earlier that no Amber Alert was issued."

Oliver, speaking for the mayor, said a call might indeed have been a good idea. But he disputed that any rule or regulation required DHS to notify state welfare officials by phone.

"DHS did follow the requirements," he said. "DHS did everything it was required to do in this situation."

He said that when the foster-care agency filed its report through the online Home and Community Services Information System, the report automatically went to both city and state.

Witalec acknowledged state receipt of the online report, but said the city should have "followed up" with a call anyway. She did not explain why the state had not acted on the report.

Oliver said DHS responded by notifying the Police Department. It then went beyond requirements, he said, by notifying the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and hiring a private detective to look for the missing girls.

"The agency responded swiftly and acted in the best interest of these children," he said.

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Postby Marina » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:09 pm

This is an odd case. A web search shows that this mother filed a civil rights case against DCF in federal court last year. Now the law is out looking for her and her newborn baby in Jan. Authorities say she is no longer missing, but there is no follow up on the case.

An old article says she was violent when another infant was taken from her last year, and she was tasered. ... 1&.intl=us

Civil rights case Feb. 22, 2008 ... +with+baby

Update: Deputies find missing couple and baby
Thursday, January 15, 2009

MANATEE COUNTY (Bay News 9) -- Authorities found a newborn baby and his mother after Osceola County investigators said they were searching for them.

Officials with Manatee County Sheriff's Office said they didn't consider Judd Hoppe Jr. to be in any sort of danger, and he was no longer considered missing.

Earlier, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said it was contacted by authorities in Osceola County, who were searching for the infant's parents, after he was born Dec. 22 at the Manatee Memorial Hospital.

Officials were looking for the parents, Judd and Leslee Hoppe, because the Department of Children and Families, who is investigating the couple of a history of domestic violence and substance abuse, was supposed to be notified of the birth but never received that notification. ... 4&tc=yahoo

Missing Manatee baby found

Halle Stockton

Published: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 1:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 3:26 p.m.

MANATEE COUNTY - The Sheriff’s Office contacted the mother of a 24-day-old baby who authorities believed was endangered.

The child, Judd Hoppe Jr., appeared to be in good condition, a sheriff’s report said.

The Department of Children and Families was supposed to have been notified of the boy’s Dec. 22 birth at Manatee Memorial Hospital because the parents have a history of domestic violence and drug abuse, a Sheriff’s report said.

The child may be with his parents, Judd Hoppe Sr. and Leslee Hoppe, in the Fort Myers area. Authorities believe they are driving north in a silver Kia car with Florida tag H450WL.

Anyone with information on the child’s whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011.

An old article: ... ryid=99773

Mother Tased In DCF Investigation
Created: 1/11/2008 1:53:13 PM Updated: 1/11/2008 7:08:27 PM

By First Coast News Staff

PUTNAM COUNTY, FL -- A DCF worker is recovering from a family investigation that turned violent.

Investigators say the worker was going to a home to take a one-month-old baby into custody from a mother, Leslee Hoppe. The worker was being escorted by a police officer.

Detectives say when the worker took the child from Hoppe, Hoppe became violent and attacked her. The officer stunned Hoppe with a taser gun to subdue her.

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