A girl that had gone missing after a parental abduction four years ago has finally been returned to her mother in Florida. The child, who had been taken by her father after a scheduled visitation in 2009, had been living with her dad in a remote region of Mexico. Authorities said a tipster identified the 12-year-old girl and reported her location to authorities, leading to her return.
The girl's father had apparently made off with the child after a scheduled visitation. Shortly after that incident, a warrant was issued for the 55-year-old father, who was accused of interfering with a child custody agreement. Authorities in the area say they continued to pursue leads in the case, but little information could be found about the child's whereabouts.
That all changed on May 12, when a tip arrived at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The informant told authorities that the girl and her dad had been seen in Hidalgo, Mexico, a sparsely populated, mountainous region two hours from Mexico City. It is not clear how long the father had been living in the country with his daughter, though the family apparently did not have ties to anyone in the region.
The girl and her father were both flown back to Miami on May 17, where the young woman met with her mother. The defendant will be extradited back to Volusia County, where the violation occurred. The man could face serious charges in connection with the abduction.
International abduction after a child custody disagreement is sadly not as uncommon as many Floridians think. It is critical for parents to know their visitation rights and options during their co-parenting experience, but they also need to know what to do in case their child is taken by the other parent. A qualified family attorney may be able to provide additional information and support for parents who are suffering from this type of child custody crisis.
Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Missing Deltona girl found with father in remote mountains of Mexico" Chris Graham, May. 18, 2014