• Robin Lyons

A Parental Kidnapping


Imagine your son marries someone from another country who has dual citizenship. That alone should not worry you. One must consider the people in this case. I have friends and family who hold dual citizenship—they would never do what happened in this true-crime case.


One year after they married, the wife gave birth to their son. Prior to the boy’s birth, the marriage had begun to fall apart. After counseling and four-years, the wife filed for divorce. She remained in the USA.


The court appointed the mother and father temporary joint managing conservators for their son. The court order also prohibited either parent from leaving the USA.


Five months later the husband, formally and through court approval, agreed to allow his estranged wife and son to travel to her birth country to attend a relative’s wedding. She never returned.


When her return date came and went, the father received notification from her parents saying she was sick and couldn’t travel. Later, he learned she had never been sick. She’d been busy securing a job and enrolling their son in a school run by her family. Then she started judicial proceedings in her country and the court granted her temporary sole custody of her son.


Once it became apparent his soon to be ex-wife did not plan to return, the father filed an emergency motion with the court—the USA court granted him temporary sole custody of his son, age 4. Through the USA court, the father filed a petition with the court system in her country requesting the child be returned. The court denied the petition. At the time of the denial, his son was age 6.


The father filed a criminal complaint against his ex-wife and her wealthy parents, who had obviously helped their daughter abduct the boy.


When the ex-wife’s parents landed in Miami, the authorities were waiting to arrest them and charge them with international parental abduction. The father made it clear he’d ask for the case against them to be dropped if his ex-wife brought their son back to the USA. That didn't happen.


At the sentencing hearing, the father said,


“They sought to enforce their own brand of vigilante justice…making a mockery of the United States judicial system.”

A federal jury convicted the grandparents of international parental kidnapping for aiding and abetting their daughter. A judge gave the grandfather a three-month sentence. The judge sentenced the grandmother to one month and ordered both to pay large fines. They also had to remain in the USA for one year after their release.


The father has traveled to the country to visit his son while he waits for the courts to settle his case and have his son back in the USA


If this topic interests you, here is more information from the United States Department of Justice: International Parental Kidnapping


Worth Mentioning: Both the grandparents and the father have filed lawsuits against each other. The young boy remains with his mother in her birth country and is now 11-years-old.


Be sure to email me if you hear of a true-crime you think would be good in a book. I’ll research it, share it and possibly use it one of my novels. #parentalkidnapping #vigalantejustice


Source: USA Department of Justice, The State of Texas Court of Appeals, The New York Times

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