Disputes over child custody can be difficult to resolve and result in emotional distress for both parents. However, there is always a better solution available than one parent simply taking the child away. The noncustodial mother of a 10-year-old girl from Utah allegedly did just that, separating the child from her father for approximately one year before authorities located the girl and her mother near Lake City, Florida, in a vehicle at a rest stop and took the child into protective custody.
Last summer, after a court granted the girl's father sole custody, her mother allegedly kidnapped her. Authorities in Utah, where the child lived at the time, have been looking for her ever since. There was a break in the case earlier this week, thanks to a Florida resident whose identity is unknown. Specifics are not available, but the tipster reportedly noticed something suspicious about the woman and her daughter. An online search yielded news stories about the alleged kidnapping, and the tipster got in contact with law enforcement in Utah.
When authorities caught up with the girl and her mother, they were in a vehicle among other occupants, including the mother's boyfriend and several other children. At this time, there are no charges for the mother's boyfriend, and authorities allowed him to leave the scene with the other children upon apprehending the mother and placing the girl in protective custody. He could face charges later if evidence shows that he had knowledge of the mother illegally taking the girl. The mother is currently in a Utah jail facing charges, according to online records.
The girl's father received a call from authorities early Wednesday morning indicating that they had found his daughter. His plan is to drive to Florida to bring her back home to where he now lives on an Oklahoma Air Force base.
Parents who take their children away in violation of custody arrangements have everything to lose. For those involved in custody disagreements, it may be more useful to contact a family law attorney before matters escalate to such a point of desperation.