Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm Asking for Your Help With Emily in Florida

Hi Guys,

I'm trying to get the court in Florida to give hearing time on motions regarding Emily who was abducted from the UK in 2003 by her mom. I filed motions with the court back in February of this year and the FL judge is sitting on his hands.

Meanwhile almost a year has elapsed since the appeals' court ruled on the issues and Emily and I have not seen each other in two and a half years - the last time being the only time in over 6 years.

I am asking you to write to the Chief Judge in Volusia County, Fl - be polite, but be frank about what you think of this and many of you know what has been going on for the last 9 years. His address is:

Chief Judge Parsons

Volusia County Courthouse

101 N. Alabama Ave.,

DeLand FL 32724

Cite the case number as well: 2003 - 12692 - FMDL

The presiding judge (who is sitting on his hands) is Judge Matthew Foxman.

I would like you to state your own opinion as to what has been happening with Emily down in Florida and I would like you to do this by writing to Chief Judge Parsons (snail mail not email) and sending me a copy too. My address is:

Karl Hindle
8654 Scottingham Drive

I will be filing all the letters together as a motion with Judge Foxman so they get into the court record.

To broadly summarize:

  • Emily was abducted from the UK by her mother in 2003 with the assistance of the US Department of State and US Embassy London (police report filed by mother in Wisconsin post-abduction is attached as "WI Report";
  • Emily has been neglected by both her mom and the FL court in respect of her blindness in her right eye - the mom denied anything was wrong with her sight and the court refused to look at any evidence, including that of 9 British and American doctors who recommended medical treatment - they allowed Emily to go blind (British hospital letter is here ; US doctor's letter is here);
  • In 2004 while litigating to protect Emily, I was arrested on allegations of abuse by the mother and deported after 5 weeks incarceration in Bradenton Immigration detention Center, Tampa - this was on the orders of State Department official, Barbara Greig of OCI based on a legion of false complaints of abuse, domestic violence and sexual abuse of my children in England - all found to be false by courts on both sides of the Atlantic - (US Immigration arrest report is here - note 2nd paragraph in narrative at bottom of page)
  • In 2005 I managed to get a visa to return to the US to continue litigation - Emily was then abducted by her mom again, this time out of Florida and was classified as Missing and Endangered (by this time she was also becoming completely blinded in her affected eye) - (Missing and Endangered poster is here)
  • At this time I was also under a permanent ban from coming to the US to look for Emily or to continue litigation - the US Department of State had barred me from travel because I was an abuser based on the mother's claims - I sued the US Department of State and got a visa in 2006 when Emily had been located in Kansas & Missouri;
  • January 2006 - depositions taken of 2 witnesses in KS who testified to the involvement of Barbara Greig of OCI, US Department of State's involvement in hiding and concealing Emily in the US - refer to depositions of Terri Jacobsen & Robert Ozier below and the attached deposition extracts for both) [NOTE: I have been unable to upload the depositions extracts - email me at if you want them]
  • After being reunited with Emily in January 2006, 2 weeks later her mother accused me raping Emily (then aged 3) in a bathroom at MacDonalds - I went into hiding in FL as I was threatened several times, including death threats - the police and authorities investigated fully and found no sexual abuse or any form of abuse had occurred and the mother was filing false complaints and coaching Emily in the making of allegations - the mother's handwritten police complaint is here -
  • May 2006 - hearing for medical treatment for Emily and contempt for filing sex abuse complaint - Judge Doyle refuses to allow us to submit the mother's handwritten complaint of sexual abuse of Emily into evidence - mother's attorney denies any report being made by her client (despite the report being in her possession). Most disturbingly, Judge Doyle refuses to follow the recommendations of an Independent Medical Examiner, Dr Cordero regarding the need to treat Emily's eye - I explain Emily is going blind in her eye, Doyle has been thrown out of court and continues to ignore the matter;
  • No more contact with Emily and continued delays with getting the court to rule - in all of this time, the Florida court has not ruled on any of the issues (save for dismissing claims of domestic violence) - we are now at May 2008 - 5 years after Emily's initial abduction and Emily is by now permanently blinded in her right eye;
  • May 2008 - final trial - I have been denied visas again to come to the US (on the action of Barbara Greig et al at OCI because I am an "abuser) - by now I have been through 6 prosecutions/investigations for abuse of one form or another and won all of them or had a finding of false allegations against the mother (but no action from the FL court to control her conduct) - Judge Doyle hears the case and dismisses jurisdictional argument simply:

"In this County we are provincials. We don't do the Hague Convention."

  • October 2008 - Judge Doyle rules that on the mother's recanting of all of her allegations and undertaking not to interfere in visitation in future, she gets custody of Emily and I get visitation plus $29,000 in back child support to be paid by me for my daughter's abduction;
  • November 2008 - I appeal and try to see Emily with my visitation order - I fail to see her for Thanksgiving, Christmas, in January and again in February 2009 until I file for contempt, the mother runs back to the police complaining of harassment and stalking;
  • March 2009 Spring Break - I finally get to see Emily after more than 3 years - it is wonderful but Patsy and I are both threatened by mom's boyfriend (now husband) a Florida policeman while 2 other police officers looked on;
  • September 2009 - I am in the UK and find I am being prosecuted for stalking the mom and her husband in Panama City FL - when I was not in the state and not in the country - a further warrant for my arrest is issued and I cannot return to the US until it is dealt with (it was all dismissed with prejudice in January 2010) - the FL court continues to do nothing and there is no contact with Emily, not least because I am scared stiff something will happen to Patsy and I - the complaint and court record is here - filed by mom's husband, a FL policeman who also has a record for amongst other things, domestic violence and stealing cars;
  • November 2010 - Appellate process ends - I fail to get heard at the US Supreme Court - the lower appellate courts throw out the child support order but refuse to look at the medical neglect of little Emily which has left here to go blind - they also retain Emily in Florida on the basis that as no other state in the US has jurisdiction, Florida can keep jurisdiction (ignoring any return back to her home state of England).
  • March 2011 - I file for change in residency of Emily based on continued violations of final court order and other matters - to date the court in Florida ignores me.

Emily was abducted from the UK to the US - that much is crystal clear - and despite spending almost half a million dollars on litigating, Emily has seen less of her father than the 5 weeks I spent in a stinking jail for bad behavior and conduct of the mother and Barbara Greig at OCI (subsequently "disciplined" for her behavior and then promoted).

Emily has gone BLIND in an eye.

Emily was put up for sale to a pedophile and his family.

Emily has seen her Daddy once in just over 6 years.

According to the Floridian judge in Emily's case, "In this County we are provincials. We don't do the Hague Convention!" - I think if you're a left-behind parent relying on the Hague Convention to return your child to America you ought to have something to say about THAT!

The Floridian courts believe it is in her best interests to remain with the parent who has put her through all of this and has not complied with any orders of any court in the US or UK.

I don't believe the FL court and authorities have been doing their job and are hiding behind technicalities and their offices while a child, my little girl Emily has been put through this monstrous mess.

I pay child support - but my checks are returned by the FL State Disbursement Unit - I have started sending a blank check each month to Judge Foxman, the last one was returned last week.

I am begging you to write a brief letter to Chief Judge Parsons to tell him what you think of all of this and to send me a copy as well so I can get it all on the record.

Many thanks for your help - sincerely guys, many of you have known me for years and what has been going on but I am pretty much finished as far as my faith in fairness and justice in the Floridian courts - I need your help on this and I truly am grateful for your support.




Deposition of Terri Jacobsen of Kansas - attached

p18 line 10 et seq
p20 line 15 et seq: Greig advisesd TJ no laws were beig broken with SKF staying in KS
p21 line 12 et seq
p23 line 1 - p25 line 17 : communications with Barbara Greig at State
p37 line 16 - p35 line 9 : Greig advised TJ nothing wrong with the situation, SKF is being honest with her allegations and I am not to be trusted
p41 line 21 - p42 line 10 et seq

Deposition of Robert Ozier of Kansas - attached

p.9 line 10 - p.10 (note line 11) - assistance of BG to keep KH out of the US
p16 line 24 - p17 line 17 - assistance from BG for change of identity for SKF and Emily
p25 line 5 - p26 line 5 - State Department generally
p26 line 17 - line 25 - Lees Summit MO police station visit with Emily
p29 line 3 - line 11
p33 line 18 - line 5 page 34 State Department sending correspondence to SKF while in KS (NB Ozier testifies it could be State Dept or SKF's lawyers sending correspondence - SKF did not have a lawyer at this time)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Martin Boyle in Brazil: Carnival of Despair

Martin Boyle was headline news in the UK in 2008: his daughter, Rebeca, was abducted 11 years before. While in Brazil trying to find Rebeca, he was arrested and imprisoned on trumped up, child support charges after uncovering the fraudulent adoption of his daughter there.

Earlier this year, Martin returned to Brazil in a further effort to reunite with his now adult daughter and to deal with the kidnappers in the Brazilian legal system.

This makes compelling reading for those who are leafing through David Goldman's new book on recovering Sean, who was held for 5 years in Brazil.

Unlike David and Sean, for Rebeca and Martin there is no happy ending...

Carnival of Despair: The Continuing Search for Rebeca
by Martin Boyle

I flew to Brazil on 15th February this year for the long-awaited hearing over the reversal of the fraudulent adoption of my daughter, Rebeca, who was kidnapped 16 years ago by her mother. I and my Brazilian lawyer, Alexandre, had been building up to this since I was arrested and imprisoned on trumped up child support charges in Brazil in July 2008, when I went there in a desperate attempt to locate my daughter after years of non-cooperation from her mother.

I had also hoped that by campaigning relentlessly on the Internet through social networking sites and sites for left-behind parents and by trying to lobby parliamentarians and others, as well as by pleading with my ex-wife’s family, I could effect some kind of change of heart and reach a settlement that would allow me to see and develop a relationship with the daughter I had not seen for 16 years. All of this campaigning created a lot of publicity for my case, but it did nothing to soften my ex-wife’s stance or persuade the Brazilian and UK authorities to do the right thing.

Government Support Amounts to Nothing

My most recent attempt to garner support through the European Parliament was unsuccessful – a sad sign of how seriously our government and politicians truly take the issue of international child abduction. On one occasion in Strasbourg, the image-conscious MEP, Michéle Striffler, who had previously corresponded with me about child abduction in Brazil, waved me imperiously out of her office with barely-concealed contempt and told one of her minions to deal with me. I did not put this down to her being French. My local MP, Julian Brazier, had done the same thing when I visited his office in Kent in 2009, only he didn’t have a lackey to deal with me. The dismissive impatience and unconcealed irritation was the same, but instead of a waft of Dior and haute-couture leather, I caught the heady odour of cow manure and grass from his green corduroys and wellies – the mark of a true gentleman farmer who had far more important things to worry about than a case of child abduction in a far-away country of which he knew little.

The jovial Keith Taylor, a UK Green Party MEP, did offer support and sympathy, as did Ana Maria Gomes, of the Portuguese Socialists, but I really needed some big guns. I had seen the hero of the 1968 Paris student barricades, Danny ‘the Red’ Cohn-Bendit, talking in the parliamentary chamber earlier on but he seemed to have taken up the cause of the North-Atlantic horse mackerel, so I guessed that he’d be a non-starter. More blind alleys included the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Prime Minister’s petitions page, the Brazilian Central Authority and so on.

Maintaining My Focus on Rebeca & The Brazilian Court

I had worked on this every day since I last left Brazil in 2008, had spent a small fortune that could have gone into Rebeca’s bank account and had generated thousands upon thousands of pages of emails and documents.

But I still had not even spoken to or located my ex-wife or daughter.

All the time, and in parallel, Alexandre had beaten a determined path through the Brazilian judicial system. Finally, my day in court was going to come and my ex and her co-abductor were going to be hauled before me and a judge to answer for what they had done.

Alexandre had assured me that there would be no problems when I arrived at the airport since I had given the release papers to the girl at passport control on the way out of Brazil in 2008. On arrival at São Paulo international airport, though, I was immediately detained and taken to the Federal Police station. My name was still on the national police computer, despite their having told me when I left in 2008 that it would be taken off.

Luckily, Alexandre was at the airport to meet me and went up to the police station to explain the situation. He found me sitting in exactly the same seat I had sat in three years before with my guts churning and the same delegado and police officers there. I was even charging my mobile phone in exactly the same socket so that I could send a round robin text out – ‘arrested in Brazil – tell the press – don’t pay a penny!’

If he had not been there, I was in no doubt that my experience would have been exactly the same as last time – prison. The delegado shook my hand, and Alexandre and I left the airport and drove into São Paulo, where he dropped me at the house of my friends, Ana Luiza and Francisco, who had kindly offered to put me up while I was there. They, along with another couple of friends, knew the story well and had agreed to be my witnesses at the hearing that was scheduled for 22nd February.

I spent the days leading up to the hearing discussing the case with Alexandre and contacting friends and gathering information. Alexandre suggested that, in order to avoid any more problems with the Federal Police, he should put in an official request to have my name removed from the police computer. In addition, he told me that my ex-wife, Mara Silvia Oliveira Rezende, and Rebeca’s stepfather, José Augusto Dos Santos Sá, a technician with Petrobras in São José dos Campos, had been regularly attempting to renew the spurious claim for child support against me that had landed me in prison in the first place and that, in order for him to follow this for the next year, I should need to pay the equivalent of £1000GBP.

In the meantime, he gave me a letter explaining the situation to present to the police in case I was stopped at any time. As far as the court hearing was concerned, Alexandre had gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that Mara, José Augusto and Rebeca would actually be in court. He had inserted a clause in the papers saying that if they did not turn up, the case would automatically go against them. However, just before the actual hearing, he told me that they had not actually been officially summonsed because of a series of errors by the court clerks and officials. He was confident that the papers had been served, but that Mara and José Augusto had not signed that they had received them because they had simply juggled addresses and were not at the address that they had provided to the court. The result, he said, was that they would probably turn up anyway because they had lodged a defence and it would not be in their interests not to turn up, but that they probably would find an excuse not to bring Rebeca.

That is what I thought too.

On the day of the hearing, Alexandre took me and one of my witnesses to São José dos Campos, while Ana Luiza and Francisco followed in their car with another witness. We arrived at the vara de infancia - the family court - on what was a blisteringly hot afternoon and hung around outside trying to keep in the shade. There was no air conditioning in the public part of the court building, the electric fans were broken and the rickety brown patent leather seats had left me itching and sweating. My stomach was churning and I was dripping with sweat. I had been aching for years for the chance to finally get these kidnappers into court, but I also wanted all of this to be over.

The Hearing: Face-to-Face with Rebeca's Kidnappers

The hearing was scheduled for 3.40pm of 22nd February and at 3.30pm Mara and Rebeca´s stepfather walked up to the court building – he with his arm around her. I recognized Mara straight away, even though it had been 16 years since I had seen her in the flesh; I was appalled at the extent to which she appeared to have deteriorated physically and emotionally. This was also the first time I had ever seen the man who had never been man enough to approach me or identify himself to me and to tell me that he wanted to be my daughter’s father and whose name, if they had had their way, I would never have found out in the first place. He was slight, dark and goateed and Mara seemed to dwarf him both physically and psychologically. They had three witnesses with them who looked overwhelmed and intimidated. They turned out to be domestic cleaners who had worked for Mara over the years. I turned to Alexandre and my witnesses and said “that’s them” as they ignored us and walked into the court building. Rebeca was not with them, but the feeling in my stomach switched from anxiety to anticipation. There was a chance.

We followed them upstairs a few minutes later and waited in the oppressive humidity of the public waiting room while the court clerk sorted out names and details. Rebeca’s stepfather, José Augusto, in an attempt to prolong the ongoing narrative of fear and secrecy that Mara had started off and kept returning to, made a point of asking the clerk if they could keep their current address secret. I bridled internally, but decided not to challenge him and just smiled.

The judge called Mara, José Augusto, me and the two lawyers into the courtroom and, after a brief preamble and a few formalities, started questioning me. “Mr Martin Boyle, do you speak the Portuguese language?” he asked in Portuguese. “Yes,” I said, “although it’s a bit rusty,” I replied. That seemed to satisfy him and he went on to ask me what I hoped to gain from the process I had initiated. He kept reiterating that any victory I might have would be merely pyrrhic. I was a bit overwhelmed and suddenly tongue tied and confused that something, for which I had been preparing for years, and which should have appeared so easy to explain just stuck in my throat. Everything that I had written and thought over the years was suddenly gone as I bowed my head and clasped my hands between my knees. Composing myself, I said that it was very hard for me to express how I felt because the whole experience had been so traumatic, that I couldn’t even find the words in English, but that I loved my daughter and that I had been living a nightmare trying to find her.

I told him that I was constantly worried about Rebeca and just wanted to be able to speak to her and explain the situation and have a relationship with her. I couldn’t understand why I was being asked to justify myself in this way, in what should have been a clear case of child abduction and fraud. The judge leafed through the case file in front of him.

It was this same judge who had authorised the fraudulent adoption in the first place although, to give him his due, he did not know at the time that Mara and José Augusto were committing fraud and perjury. It was going to be hard for him to go back on his previous decision and annul the adoption.

“Mr Martin Boyle,” he said, “you know that, even if you win this case, Rebeca can go down to any public records office and change her name as an adult, since she is now 18. It has been many years now, and she has a new family.”

Ignoring the blatant logical fallacy, I tried to explain as diplomatically as I could that time did not turn something unjust into something just, that there was also natural law and the fact that Rebeca wasn’t even there to put her side of the story - independent of her mother and stepfather - and that I had never had a chance to speak to Rebeca spoke volumes.

This, in fact, was what Mara and José Augusto had planned all along – to drag things out through subterfuge, lies and non-cooperation until Rebeca had reached the age of 18 and it could be turned into a done deal – that the alienation would be complete. It was clear that, since she was not there to hear my side of the story and had not been told that I was there, she would simply follow her mother’s orders.

As I talked I could see Mara out of the corner of my eye. She looked drained and was crying in a way that caused the judge eventually to tell her to leave the room while I continued with my evidence. I told the judge about the efforts I had made to find Rebeca – the efforts made by the consulate, the Brazilian authorities, Interpol, social services – and my imprisonment when I had come over to Brazil in 2008.

The judge pursed his lips and nodded sympathetically.

He excused me from the room and called Mara back in to give her evidence with my lawyer present. Apparently, when he asked her about my imprisonment and whether it was true that she had danced for joy and said I would never see Rebeca again, she curled her lip at him and snorted. He asked her again what she had done when she found out I was in prison in Brazil and she retorted rudely, “Huh, I don’t know. Ask my mother!” The judge then stared at her sternly for a full minute and asked her again. She reiterated her claim that I had never taken any interest in Rebeca, that I had abandoned the family and that I had disappeared without a trace. By all accounts, Mara did not do herself any favours during her evidence.

The Kidnappers are Doing This to Protect Me?

When she came out of the courtroom after her evidence, Mara approached me and offered me her hand, as if to shake it. She started off cooperatively and I hoped that we might reach some kind of agreement but, as the conversation progressed, she said the following a) she and Rebeca’s stepfather had become evangelical Christians and that they had never said anything against me to Rebeca, b) that I should thank José Augusto for having raised Rebeca c) that Rebeca had been on the point of going to the UK to visit her cousins and that they were trying to get the money together for this and that d) Rebeca was scared to go out alone in case she was kidnapped and that she did not want to come to court because she was scared.

The degree of manipulation and deceit shook me but, on reflection, I was not surprised. I did not believe that Rebeca had ever been told that I was looking for her. Mara insisted on speaking in English, even though I speak fluent Portuguese and José Augusto does not speak English. When I asked Mara why she was doing this, she said slowly and gravely as if talking to a five year old child, “it’s to protect you, Martin. We are in a court here.”

As the discussion continued, she became more and more controlling and animated, holding her hand up to stop José Augusto from speaking, jabbing her finger at me and gritting her teeth, her mouth a tiny taut triangle of hate and venom. Her voice was slow and strange – almost creepy – and her eyes were empty. Mara did all the talking and her partner just nodded his head. Alexandre had warned me not to engage with José Augusto, but I was itching to pull him to one side to explain to him how much he’d been taken in by this woman and I had to control myself.

After the witnesses had given their evidence, two of my witnesses said to Mara that all I wanted was to see Rebeca. She snapped that Rebeca did not want to see me. Rebeca was not there to speak for herself. They left abruptly, with Mara making threats that I would never see Rebeca ‘this way’. Then they were gone and I was left in the court grounds with Alexandre and my witnesses. The judge had asked at the end of the hearing when I had to leave Brazil, and then said that his written judgement would be out in between 30 and 50 days.

Later in the week, Alexandre attempted mediation through Mara’s lawyer – a new one hired at the last minute.

He said that Rebeca did not want to see me.

Looking Up Old Faces

I had gone to Brazil more in hope than expectation in the first place – I knew in my heart that Mara would do everything in her power to stop Rebeca from seeing me, so I went to São José Dos Campos again and visited the two addresses that I had for Mara and José Augusto. The gate guard at the most recent address, Rua José Augusto Dos Santos (coincidentally, the same as the stepfather’s name), 86, said that they had left in 2009 and returned very rarely to collect mail. I told him who I was and he was sympathetic and told me quite a lot about Rebeca and the ‘family’- that she was shy and withdrawn and had not had much schooling, that she looked very much like me, that the ‘family’ fought a lot with the neighbours and that they left her alone at home much of the time. He seemed to know quite a lot about them.

Later on, I visited a man who had been a witness at my wedding in 1988. At one time, he had been my ex-father-in-law, Milton’s, best friend, but said that they had not spoken for many years. He had seen Rebeca when she was small and she seemed very bright and clever – he was shocked by what I told him about the news I had received about her.

I then went to see Mara’s former therapist. She told me that Mara was clearly very sick – that she was possibly psychotic and paranoid, that she hadn’t spoken to her since 2008, when Mara had called her out of the blue to talk about random issues and said that I had disappeared without a trace when she asked her about me. I put her straight on the story – I had been sitting in a prison cell in Brazil when this phone call had taken place. The therapist was unwilling to believe that this kind of thing could happen in the Brazilian legal system – that patrio poder – or father’s rights – could not be removed like this, that no judge would authorise an adoption when the father was still alive and that I must have been badly counselled. I told her that it would never have happened if I had been living in Brazil, had had a parent who was a lawyer and an endless supply of money with which to fund interminable legal challenges and access requests.

After that, I contacted the priest who married us in 1988. He is also a psychologist and has known Mara since she was a child. He had not spoken to her for many years, but said that he would try to find a way to speak to Mara’s parents. We joked that, since Mara was now a born-again Christian, it was unlikely that she would be happy about an intervention from a Catholic priest.

I also emailed Milton, Mara’s father, on the off chance, not really expecting a response, and spoke on the phone to Mara’s 94 year-old grandmother. She said that Mara had disappeared many years ago and that nobody in the family had seen her since – that she was ‘crazy’. That evening, I got an email from Milton, asking me to call him. I and the people I was staying with were amazed and I resisted the urge to call him immediately, preferring to sleep on it. The next morning, I called him and we talked for an hour. He said that Mara had not spoken to them for 5 years and that she had cut herself off from them completely, that his family life was in tatters and that he was distraught and on his knees – that my emails asking where Rebeca was had been like a knife to his heart. He said he hadn’t seen Rebeca for 5 years. He did not know that I was in Brazil, he said, or that I had been in court and seen Mara.

I felt sorry for him initially, but then remembered everything that had happened - the imprisonment, the long years fighting his family’s pact of silence, his wife’s manipulation and connivance in my imprisonment and all his emails rejecting my attempts at negotiation and blaming me.

Five years?

I hadn’t seen Rebeca for 16 years and had been thrown into a filthy cell with 20 hard-core bandidos when I attempted to find my daughter, while he whined on about not seeing his granddaughter for five years. I gave him the priest’s number.

Final Day and No Rebeca

That afternoon, the day before I left Brazil, I went to SJDC again and spoke to the gate guard and to other neighbours who gave me more information about Rebeca. I told them who I was frankly and honestly, and they called other neighbours out to meet me. They were sympathetic and talked about a ‘weird’, ‘strange’ family, a desperately shy girl with no friends and how they had always suspected that there was something wrong. I had to contain myself and walk away round the corner and go back some time later.

On my last day, I went to the airport with Alexandre. He had assured me that everything would be OK as long as I had the court documents with me, but I was not so sure, so I insisted that he go with me. In the run-up to my departure, friends had even called the Brazil Desk at the Foreign Office in the UK to ask them to intercede with the Brazilian Federal Police to make sure I was allowed out of Brazil. They were all rebuffed with the usual Foreign Office mantra about third parties not being able to get involved.

Thanks, Brazil Desk!

Images of 2008 and Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service’s sterling efforts to bring me a comb and shampoo when I was in prison raced in my mind. We went to the Federal Police station first and got a letter signed by the delegada to say that I could leave the country. My name was still on the police computer. They told me to present the letter with my passport at passport control. I did this. The girl looked at it, put it to one side, started typing my passport details into the computer, opened her mouth panicked and shocked and jumped up and took my passport to the back desk. I had to spend a gut-churning half hour with two PFs at the desk between passport control and duty free while they discussed how to put the authorisation into the system and joked about the Brazilian system and vindictive Brazilian women. The cop’s parting words after he had stamped my passport were, “you’re just child support – it’s nothing. Have a nice trip.” I said I wished they’d said that in 2008 and made my way to my flight.

Kafkaesque InFinality

Thinking over people’s reactions to this whole story, what is most galling and frustrating, perhaps, is the way in which some of the people I try to explain this to either simply don’t believe that it could have happened or start to interrogate, pick holes and offer advice on what I should have done as if I had never thought of these things. “Why don’t you open a Facebook page?”, “Why don’t you write a letter?”, “Why don’t you go on Brazilian social networking sites and try and find her that way?” “Why don’t you negotiate over child support and access?”, “Why don’t you get a private detective?” “Why don’t you ask a lawyer to ask for access?” as if these are things I had never done.

I have been ripped off by lawyers and private detectives, while Rebeca and I have been betrayed by the British and Brazilian governments and people who promised ‘to do the possible and the impossible’ to help me. I even ended up offering an impossibly large bet that nobody could think of anything that I hadn’t tried or thought of.

Nobody has come up with anything yet.

The endless, grinding, maddening, disappointing, frustrating, exhausting, soul-destroying head-battering, gut-wrenching, heart-squeezing no-words-left-to-describeness of this is beyond Alice through the Looking Glass.
It is worse than Kafka.

You can understand Kafka in Prague, with its suffocating, threatening, Central-European darkness, but this is Kafka in tropical Brazil, with its alegria and felicidade, its samba and its surface-level joy.

It is a dark Kafkaesque Carnival of Despair.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Signs VA International Child Abduction Bill into Law

Virginia Governor McDonnell signed HB2361 into law last Wednesday; a bill drafted by the VA legislature based on a summary of international child abduction points, gleaned from a variety of sources encountered over the last 8 years. We had hoped it would have been signed the previous week, however a last minute technicality held up the final inking - no matter, HB2361 is now law and is effective July 1st, 2011.

The new law is a first.

Virginia is the first state to provide for the lawful seizure and forfeiture of the assets of abductors, and their accomplices, involved in the international abduction of children.

This applies whether children are abducted out of the US or into the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This is NOT a great law; but it is CERTAINLY A GREAT START!

Much of the initial Bill had been whittled away during the legislative process, notably the formation of a pool of judges to hear Hague Convention cases and mirror the efforts of the Federal judiciary.

This and other aspects are issues for the future.

I'd like to highlight the following people who were behind or inspired HB2361/SB1141:

Teresa Lauderdale - co-author of the Uniform Child Abduction Act; the idea for HB2361/SB1141 came about as a result of discussions with Teresa, an acknowledged expert and counselor in the field of international child abduction.

Larry Synclair - Larry is the father of Larry Jr, his son abducted to Russia from CA and recently back in contact after over a decade apart. Larry and I have never met, though we exchange the occasional email - Larry wrote the seminal Synclair-Cannon law for California, and is the uncredited source of the FL CAPA law which is based on the Synclair-Cannon Act. When I think of a legal or legislative situation I ask myself, "What would Larry do?" and occasionally I just ask Larry as there is nothing better than getting it from the horse's mouth.

Brandy Bond - co-proponent of HB2361/SB1141 and whirlwind lobbyist; mother of two children with international issues.

Finally, the legislators - it is because of the three following legislators we have a law - I believe they should all receive a note of thanks for getting this bill onto the statute books:

VA Delegate Jenn Mclellan - patron of HB2361
VA Senator Steve Martin - co-patron of SB1141
VA Senator Fred Quayle - co-patron of SB1141

For everyone who made phone calls and emails to VA legislators to garner support and increase awareness, thank you and see you next time :)

Pause for Thought

Now, before anyone starts backslapping one another - here are some of the reasons why this law is needed and why it needs to be strengthened even further:

Emily Koyama - abducted to Costa Rica

Marissa Joy Kvistad - abducted to Switzerland

Sage Bermudez - abducted to Mexico

Rebecca Boyle - abducted to Brazil

For many of you, these will be just names and photographs, but to me - I know the parents of all these children, and many more. Some have become my friends; people I care deeply for and in some instances I have photographs of these kids in my wallet with my own children.

None of these children has made it back home; and yet they are just a small selection from my records - the odds are that if you abduct a child, you will succeed. In passing HB2361, I sincerely hope the odds are reduced somewhat as far as Virginia is concerned, but only a fool is going to think this is enough.

The bottom line is we have to do more and there is a lot yet to do.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

VA Governor McDonnell Expected to Sign Child Abduction Bill Today

VA Governor's Signature Expected Today

Virginia House Bill HB2361 on International Child Abduction Prevention & Recovery passed the House and Senate last month with unanimous support, and has been awaiting the governor's final signature to be passed into law.

I received a phone call from Delegate Jennifer McClellan's office this morning, advising me that Governor McDonnell will sign the Bill into law today. (A video of Delegate McClellan's statement to the House is found at this link here with just one of the numerous unanimous votes).

With any luck, by midnight tonight, Virginia will have the first law in the US which provides for the seizure and forfeiture of assets of international child abductors who kidnap children, both to and from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Bill is not perfect.

I know because I wrote it.

A lot of the proposals also didn't make it through, such as the creation of a pool of judges to handle Hague Convention cases, together with a drastic tightening up of how the authorities are to handle the reporting of international child abduction cases.

However, these are all issues to be revisited in the next legislative session, and in the meantime, there are plans to seek introduction of the concept to other states.

For now, I'm just waiting on the call from the VA Capitol that HB2361 has finally made it onto the statute books.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Andrew Ko Update on William & Christopher Re-Adjusting Back to Home

Father's Update on Ko Twins after return from Singapore to California

Andrew Ko successfully recovered his twin sons, Andrew and William and returned to California last week. The Ko twins return is the first return of children from Singapore since the ague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction went into effect.

However, the return of the Ko twins did not rely on the Hague Convention at all - Singapore judges decided to do it all on their own because it was the right thing to do to recognize the US held proper jurisdiction and not to give any assistance to an international child kidnapper.

Singapore ought to be proud of these judges - they have set a good example to everyone.

Here in Andrew Ko's own words is an update on what has been happening since William and Christopher made it back home to California:

The boys are doing great. They came home to their room late Tuesday night and immediately picked up their old toys. Some Japanese card game. Then I saw Christopher measuring his height against their bunk beds. He did a few chin ups on the upper frame, then laughed.

On Wednesday morning they woke up late due to jet lag. Poured themselves a glass of milk and had eggs for brunch. Then they went outside to play basketball.

We had to go see the Minor's Counsel so she can report to the judge that they are returned.

School will start on Monday at the same school they attended when they were abducted. It is 2 blocks away from home and is a familiar environment with friends. They know the basketball coach very well from a previous basketball program. They love basketball had basketballs with them at the airport so they will have lots of fun.

They have made great strides since the Singapore airport on Tues morning. They had a great time on the flight to LA and played the onboard video games, movies and ordered snacks from the attendants. Room service in the air!

At the Singapore airport, a brother-in-law to the mother came over to see me and said he wanted to talk to me. He said you have to remember to do the right thing for the boys. This is funny coming from Choy Kin Chong, a retired Singapore Army Colonel. Why didn't he call me 18 months ago to talk; or better yet talk to the boys' mother after they found out she is wanted by Interpol for kidnapping. I AM DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR THE BOYS. The Wong family has in Singapore 4 sisters, 2 brothers, 2 sister-in-laws, 3 brother-in-laws and none of them thought enough to talk to their sister to return the boys in 18 months? Instead, they financed her actions. From the mother's previous Declarations in the US, the funding came from the US and Singapore siblings. In Singapore the family business Fung Mui HKS Gararge R on Targore Lane funded her bills. In the US, sister Jane Lee-Shue and brother-in-law Richard from Clearwater FL run a Chinese restaurant that helped fund her here. Maybe if business slowed down, they can't help finance a kidnapper wanted by Interpol, FBI and the State of California!

When we were leaving the airport on Tues, I said Hi to the boys and they responded with "shut up asshole." Either the education system in Singapore or the culture at home has a problem, or both. The boys NEVER talked like that when they were here in the US. Aunty May and her daughter who were walking right next to the boys did not even blink an eye when the outburst came out. Aunty May, husband Derek and their 4 children live in the same home with the boys. Maybe this type of language is allowed in the home so there was no reaction from her at all. This is not a proper environment for impressionable boys. Just incredible that they talk like that.

As you know, child abduction is one of the worst form of child abuse. There will be adjustment and healing going forward. But the boys are doing extremely well for just 4 days. The plan is a playdate on Friday and possibly a sleepover with a few old buddies.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Andrew Ko Flying Abducted Twin Sons Home from Singapore - The First Return from Singapore

Andrew Ko is at this moment sitting in Cathay Pacific 747 somewhere over the Pacific with his twin sons, abducted in 2009 from California to Singapore. Today, Singapore returns the first children abducted their from the US, under the Hague Convention, which is fast work given the Hague Convention only came into force on March 1 of this year in Singapore.

The return of the Ko twins after 18 months is hard on them, hard on Andrew and hard on their mother who is remaining in Singapore (and 'yes' I know she is the kidnapper). But this is normal in many instances and will pass fairly quickly. It is the long term affects on the children, which will come to develop as they get older, that highlights the truly abusive nature of international child kidnapping.

My feelings of sympathy for mom are curtailed. She has thoroughly manipulated and alienated the Ko twins, William and Christopher. In addition, she has thoroughly manipulated the legal systems of both the US and Singapore, and it hasn't stopped right up to this very moment. All to simply stop the children from having any relationship with their dad.

Mother was ordered to either (a) send the twins home by today, or (b) the father could recover them.

What follows is typical of some of the skullduggery perpetrated by international child abductors, and remember this is just the tip of an 18 month iceberg. This is in Andrew Ko's own words:

Hi All,
We checked-in and are waiting at the airline lounge for our flight out of Singapore in about 3 hours.  This morning was touch and go. The mother did not deliver the boys on Monday 10AM as requested.  I spent the day going between the police to make a report , my lawyer's and talking with the US Embassy officer.  The US Embassy faxed a letter to the Judge who ordered the children returned and the Singapore Police highlighting the fact that the mother breached the order by not producing the airline tickets until well past the deadline set by the judge. I got a call around 7PM from a police officer who advised me to take the Police Report and the Court Order to the High Court to get further directions.  When I was making the police report, I was told that "you are wanted" by the police.  But I wasn't stopped at immigration so it was not a serious matter.  I had to go to another police station and was told that the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority who is responsible for issuing birth certificates said I might have "falsified information" on the birth certificate, i.e. claiming I was the father of the boys when I was not.  I told them I am the father PERIOD.  I asked the investigator why it took ICA 9 years (Dec 2009) to ask this question when the birth certificate was issued in March 2000 when the children were born.  He laughed.  Just increditble. The mother's lawyer notified my lawyer that she wants an extra day and will deliver the boys at the Singapore Airlines check-in counter at 7.30AM on Tues.   My main concern is she would put them on the flight as unaccompanied minors without me.   Then last night I noticed that the mother provided copies of tickets for the boys on March 10 (they were due on Mar7) but the tickets were one way tickets.  I immediately went to travel.state.govand sure enough you cannot enter the US with a one-way ticket using a foreign passport. The mother had fraudulently applied for Singapore passports for the boys (that is how they were able to leave in Aug 2009).  I communicated this to the US Embassy officer and she had included this in the letter to the judge.  The 1952 US Immigration Act Section 215b states it is unlawful for a US citizen to attempt to depart or enter the US without a valid US passport.  The mother already broke that law when she abducted the boys with Singapore passports. I went to the airport at 6.30AM with my lawyer Mr. Teo.  We explained the situation to the airline supervisor.  He said they are travelling with US passports.  I started to sweat.  I called Consular Officer Rachel Sunden and she immediately called Washington and was able to confirm the boys DO NOT have valid US passports.  We guess the mother provided a fake passport number so that she would buy one-way tickets to the US.  Rachel found out later that the mother was advised by her US lawyer Cynthia De Petris that it is ok for the boys to enter the US with Singapore passports.  This is against the law Cynthia!  You should stick to Family Law and not immigration law. The airline did not and cannot check the boys in.  It took about 45 min. to convince the family that the Court Order did not allow for the boys to travel alone.  The mother has the option to accompany them but if she did not board the flight, I can retrieve the boys immediately.  Mr. Teo and Rachel were able to talk the family into allowing the boys to go to the US Embassy to get passports accompanied by their Aunt and cousin.   On the way out of the airport I said "hello boys" and one of them replied "shut up asshole."  It is going to be a long road to normal.  This family in Singapore really did a good job in ruining 2 perfectly good boys. We got to the Embassy and in about an hour got our emergency passports.  Then we headed to the therapist.  We offered the Aunt to accompany them and then to say her goodbyes.  The boys were very angry at the therapist.  They said they didn't love me, asked me to leave them alone and threw tissue at me plus kick a table towards me.  The therapists Dorothy and Teresa were great and worke with them. Then the Aunt refused to leave.  I explained to Dorothy that the longer the Aunt stays, the harder it is for the boys to accept that they are going back home.  So after some explaining, the Aunt and cousin left.  We were trying to be nice by offering the Aunt to accompany the boys to the Therapist and she wouldn't leave! Since the boys were acting up, I called my friend Phang and asked him to come pick us up and also asked a dear friend Vanessa to come and help.  Vaness is the one who put up the posters of the mother and boys and was called into the police station.  She is a real trooper.  At 1PM we left and headed to the hotel to checkout.  Another great friend Priscilla arranged for a large van and extended our checkout time at the hotel.  Finally around 3PM we arrived at the airport and checked in. We had one more hurdle.  That is leaving with new US passports when the boys entered with Singapore passports.  It took a few minutes to explain and we are now sitting in the lounge.  If all goes well, we will arrive at 915PM on Tues at LAX on Cathay Pacific flight 880 from Hong Kong.  The journey for the boys is now starting.  We will need your prayers, suggestions (which sometimes I might not listen to), and lots of love to get the boys back to the way they were.  Thank  you all for your help and support.
For Andrew, William and Christopher, there is going to be a new beginning which will start at around 9am PST (midday EST), but no-one should be under any illusions about how difficult it is going to be. There will be some who will say (inevitably) why didn't the boys simply get left with mom rather than going through this upheaval.

My response to this is simple - listen to the adult victims of international child abduction and what they have to say about this heinous crime:

              Sam's Story

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Andrew Ko - Wins Order for Return of Twin Sons from Singapore

Andrew Ko successfully won a return order from the courts in Singapore for his twin sons, William and Christopher.  The boys were abducted from California to Singapore in August 2009, and in this instance the return order appears to be relatively quick - especially given Singapore has only recently signed the Hague Convention.

Rather than me prattle on, I think it better if Andrew's own words speak for him and what he
is asking us all to do:

Hello everyone, 
I wanted to let you all know that I am in Singapore as I write, and we are hopefully on the 
brink of some very positive news from the Singapore court.   On March 3rd, the Singapore
judge is scheduled to rule on my motion to have the Singapore court recognize the US
Court Order, issued Sept. 14, 2010, awarding full, permanent custody to me.   While
nothing is certain, there have been numerous indicators throughout this saga that
Singapore recognizes that the US is the appropriate forum for determining custody of my
sons.    I am very, very hopeful that on March 3rd, the judge will rule that the US court
order is to be recognized and respected by Singapore, and the boys returned to my
custody to be brought home to the United States. 
As we have seen in other cases, most notably Sean Goldman's, the most effective tool
to impart justice in cases of international parental abduction is the instigation of
government-to-government dialogue.  Pressure applied through appropriate diplomatic
channels makes a difference for our children!  This dialogue comes about almost
exclusively through the application of public pressure.   
Therefore, I respectfully and passionately issue this call to action: 
Please encourage your friends and associates to do the same.  Please demand that
US diplomates and officials engage Singapore in order to adhere to the Hague Convention
on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and take an active role in ensuring
the safe, just and rightful return of these young victims to their father and to their home
here in the U.S. 
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500 
Use this link to email President Obama: 
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Use this link to email Attorney General Holder:
Office of U.S. Representative Christopher H. Smith - New Jersey
2373 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20515
p 202-225-3765
f  202-225-7768 
If you live in California, please write to Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein and your local
congress representative.
Office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
501 I Street, Suite 7-600
Sacramento, CA  95814 
Use this link to email Senator Boxer:  
Office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein
One Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA  94101 
Use this link to email Senator Feinstein: 

The paragraph below is a sample that can be used for reaching out to elected officials. 
Please email, fax, or call your Senators and Congress members in your home state, as
they will likely not respond to non-constituents.   
Dear (official's name),
Christopher Ko and William Ko are minor children who were abducted to Singapore. 
The US Government needs to communicate to the Singapore Government that we want
the boys returned.  I am asking you as my elected official to contact Hillary Clinton -
State Dept, Attorney General Holder - Justice Dept and President Obama to ask that
they contact their counterparts in the Singapore Government to strongly express our
desire to see the boys returned home to the United States.  The case is entering its
18th month and it is time my government got involved!  Christopher's NCIC case number
is M648309789 and William's is M308382442.

On behalf of my boys, William and Christopher, who turn 11 this month, thank you from
the bottom of my heart.
Andrew Ko
Singapore acceded to the Hague Convention in December 2010 and will start enforcing decisions
with effect from March 1st 2011 - the development means that Ko's US custody order is now
recognized by the Singaporean courts and the mother has been ordered to return the children.
This does not preclude her from appealing the decision, and there is still the thorny issue of
enforcement but for Andrew, William and Christopher at least, the prospect of reunification is
looking to be a very real and close prospect.

Do your best to make your voice heard and take 5 minutes to contact the Senators and President
Obama as Andrew Ko requests.