Saturday, December 5, 2009

Heartfelt True Chritmas Story- Recovery of a Child

Family Reunion at Christmastime
I was in my office one crisp day in December of last year when I received an urgent call from an attorney located in Saipan. A young boy had been kidnapped by force from his mother in China by his biological father the previous year. Prior efforts to locate father and son had been unsuccessful and Song Lee was hysterical as she anticipated another Christmas without her son. The attorney informed me that even though the mother had a court order giving her custody of her 7-year old son and ordering that the child be returned to her in China, California authorities had been slow to act. In the meantime, the attorney related to me that he had been receiving daily calls from the mother requesting an update on the recovery of her son. As the attorney felt ineffective in his ability to provide the requested information, he was forced to advise her to be patient.
This attorney then told me that he had found my investigations agency website and was impressed with the results I had achieved in other child recovery cases. He recommended to the mother that she retains me to locate her son. Emotionally charged and hopeful of an imminent reunion with her son, she agreed and I was retained. Enlisting the services of another investigator, I was able to locate the father in San Diego through information obtained regarding a friend of the father. We conducted surveillance on the friend’s residence and were able to locate the father and then elementary school where the boy had been enrolled. I contacted the local District Attorney to advise him of our efforts to recover the boy and to enlist in his help, should it become necessary. He agreed to assist us and asked that I keep him informed as to our progress.
Finally, we moved into position at the boy’s elementary school just as the children were being excused for the day. We located the father in his car and the boy as he was leaving the school campus. With the help of a fellow investigator, stopped the car and refused to let the father leave with the boy from the school premises. The local law enforcement arrived to provide support and assistance, if necessary. The father was emotionally charged and fairly hostile, refusing to give the boy up. I laid out for him his options: either he returns the boy to the mother voluntarily or the boy would go with Child Protective Services for weeks while he was arrested and taken to jail to wait for a court date. Eventually, the father agreed it was best that the boy be returned to his mother and released him into our care.
When it was time for the mother to be reunited with her son at the school, there was not a dry eye among those of us who had participated in his recovery. What a present: a mother reunited with the boy after a year of disappearance and a boy reunited with his mother just in time for Christmas.
Monique Lessan

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