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Author Topic: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style  (Read 88933 times)

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Offline SageDad

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Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« on: January 20, 2010, 12:50:45 PM »
Yet Another Tale of Gross Injustice, Heart-break, Callous Indifference, Incomptence and Active Obstruction by US Officials Charged with Protecting the Interests of American Children in Foreign Countries

A new member of this forum recently approached me with some questions regarding the Hague Convention and international child abduction, specifically as it relates to Costa Rica, where his daughter is currently being illegally retained.  While I have become fairly knowledgeable about the Convention itself I could offer him very few details about Costa Rica specifically so I began to do some research on it to be able to at least give him some good advice on getting started..

Well, in short order I found that, in the fine Latin American tradition, it seems that Costa Rica is yet another South American country that sanctions and legitimizes the abduction of American children.

In my research I quickly came across the case of Chere Lyn Tomayko.  According to the federal indictments against her, after a custody decision determined she would have to "share custody" with her daughter's father, Ms Tomayko abducted her daughter and successfully hid in Costa Rica for 10 years where she married and had two more children before she was arrested in 2007 on an Interpol warrant.

Also keeping with it's own fine tradition of not supporting American parents struggling to bring their kidnapped children home from foreign countries, the US Embassy in Costa Rica knew that an international warrant had been issued by the USDOJ for Ms Tomayko and were informed of her location in Costa Rica in May of 2002 but took no action to have her apprehended or inform the left behind father of a kidnapped daughter of his child's whereabouts.  According to the English language newspaper in Costa Rica AM Costa Rica:

Quote from: AMCostaRica

An official at the U.S. Embassy here was told in May 2002 where Ms. Tomayko was living but no action took place. The official asked A.M. Costa Rica not to publish the information for a time, and the newspaper complied for a year. The current consul general at the embassy, David R. Dreher, has blamed the FBI for not following up, a claim that FBI agents in Texas deny.

A. M. Costa Rica has called on U.S. officials to launch an investigation of how the embassy here handled the case. The newspaper said in an October editorial:

"We think that embassy personnel deliberately stonewalled the investigation until Miss Tomayko reached 18 so that she would not have to be returned to her father, who is black. She turned 18 in July and her mother was detained in September."

Dreher has never spoken to, returned e-mails or otherwise contacted A.M. Costa Rica directly but he denied in a note to Cyprian that skin color had anything to do with the embassy's lack of action. However, he was not here then.

This newspaper also said in the editorial that it appears that U.S. Embassy personnel obstructed justice and kept U.S. law enforcement officials from finding out where the fugitive was living in Costa Rica for at least five years. There has been no explanation from the embassy on why workers there could not initiate the capture of the women years ago.


After being arrested she was held for 10 months whilst she filed continuous appeals against her extradition claiming, like pretty much every child abductor with no other way to justify their actions, that she had been fleeing domestic violence and protecting her daughter from her own father.  Despite not having any evidence to support such claims they were widely accepted by many willing to give such mother's the benefit of the doubt.  One such supporter, Costa Rican blogger and businessman Scott Bowers wrote often about the case supporting the mother he'd never met against big bad imperialist Uncle Sam trying to impose its will on other soveriegn nations.  After 10 months of appeals the extradition request was denied and Ms Tomayko was granted asylum as a refugee and victim of domestic violence.  Blogger Scott Bowers reacted by writing:

Quote from: Scott Bowers

....
 I too applaud Costa Rica’s decision in this case.  It took guts.  It was a decision that was not taken lightly as the courts debated for some time and were under intense media scrutiny throughout the process.  This was simply a decision made, in the face of political and legal pressure from the largest most powerful country in the world, to protect the right of a mother and her child to be free from abuse.  It was the right decision.


While it was rather quaint, silly and naive to think that Costa Rica had really stood up to the US by protecting an abductor of an American child it is easy to understand how he got that impression.  It's hard to believe how absolutely low a priority US authorities place on such issues.  Foreign countries have stuck their thumbs in the eye of American parents for a long time with the tacit acceptance of the American government.  Costa Rica was not being brave to follow suit they were just doing what everyone else already does and telling the American parent to get bent.

Costa Rican president Oscar Arias demonstrated a much better understanding of the political dynamics of Costa Rica's decision when he addressed domestic concerns that the granting of asylum could strain relations with the USA.  He dismissed such concerns about incurring the U.S. authorities' ire by saying:

Quote from: President Oscar Arias

"This is such a little thing that it's not going to distance" the two countries, Arias said in a statement.


After initially supporting Ms. Tomayko in various forums Mr Bower came to see some actual evidence in the case he had been advocating for.  Thankfully the next time a parent abducted a child to Costa Rica making similar claims he blogged:

Quote from: Scott Bowers

I have written recently in my blog about the case of Cher Lyn Tomayko. She had for years been on the FBI's most wanted list for abducting her child and bringing her to Costa Rica against a court order that the child remain in the U.S. Recently Costa Rica granted her refugee status in the face of U.S. demands for her extradition. Now another women has asked for the same protection. Her name is Nicole Elise Kater of 28 years. She is claiming that she fled to Costa Rica with the child (against court order) to flee from aggression and strange sexual practices of her boyfriend (and father of the child), John F. Gehl. She is currently being held at the prison Buen Pastor, pending a decision on her extradition. Like Tomayko, she is asking for refugee status that would allow her to remain in Costa Rica with the child. Like the father of Cher's child, the father is claiming that there was no aggression nor strange sexual behavior that might warrant such status.

I took the position in my previous blog post re the case of Cher Lyn Tomayko in favor of Costa Rica's decision to grant refugee status. I did so on principle only, accepting as fact that in Cher's case there was abuse that warranted her fleeing to Costa Rica I still support the concept that Costa Rica would rightly grant such status in cases where there is an investigation with hard proof that abuse has taken place. In several comments, I was taken to task by the older daughter of Cher's former boyfriend and father of the child Cher brought to Costa Rica The young lady informed me in no uncertain terms that her father is completely innocent of abuse. I am not going to argue the case with someone who is certainly much closer to the factual situation than I could ever be. I will say that I am uncomfortable with this present lady seemingly trying to "ride the coattails" of the Tomayko decision. Maybe what she is saying is true. However, Costa Rica needs to take a good and hard look into the facts of the case before granting any such status again. Otherwise, they are opening the floodgates for such requests and some are surely going to lack legitimacy.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
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Offline KarlHindle

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2010, 02:03:00 PM »
and here's the rub...

"However, Costa Rica needs to take a good and hard look into the facts of the case before granting any such status again. Otherwise, they are opening the floodgates for such requests and some are surely going to lack legitimacy."

NO!

These are custody issues to be determined by the court of competent jurisdiction, in this instance the US court.

Ask any LBP how long proceedings are delayed because of courts taking "a good hard look" at the facts of any case - the answer is YEARS!
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Offline SageDad

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2010, 03:10:53 PM »
Quote from: KarlHindle;66265
and here's the rub...

"However, Costa Rica needs to take a good and hard look into the facts of the case before granting any such status again. Otherwise, they are opening the floodgates for such requests and some are surely going to lack legitimacy."

NO!

These are custody issues to be determined by the court of competent jurisdiction, in this instance the US court.

Ask any LBP how long proceedings are delayed because of courts taking "a good hard look" at the facts of any case - the answer is YEARS!


...well yeah.  Good point.  As if the US were a society in which the routine abuse and degradation of women was a socially acceptable and common-place practice.  We are not Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia.  Shariah law is not US law.  I am not a woman or the victim of physical spousal abuse but I would imagine that if I were I'd prefer to be in the US and have myself and my daughter protected by US laws than in Costa Rica where the US State Dept acknowledges:

"Domestic violence ... [is] a serious problem, and traditional patterns of unequal opportunity for women remained, despite continuing government and media efforts to advocate change. Abuse of children also remained a problem, and child prostitution was a serious problem."

Women have equal rights here.  In the arena of family law many would say more than equal.  I'm sure there is the occasional case where an American woman is actually in need of asylum in a foreign country because US authorities have proven incapable or unwilling to protect her but those cases have to be so exceedingly rare that the burden of proof to establish such a claim needs to also be exceedingly high.  

International law needs, as a pre-requisite, a sense that all nations are part of a global community with mutual respect for each others laws and judgement.  It's pretty bad when third world countries with persistent problems of sex tourism and child prostitution are giving asylum to "abused" American women and daughters.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
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Offline forthelost

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2010, 08:00:31 PM »
Of course, she wasn't on the Most Wanted list; she was merely on the FBI page devoted to parental kidnappers, but apparently that distinction is one many cannot make.

I do know of at least one case, that of Amedeo Cuomo, where Costa Rica denied such a petition.

Offline OIF vet

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2010, 09:23:52 PM »
http://packagecostarica.com/blog/?p=33


http://www.fbi.gov/page2/may08/panama_050808.html


Two cases same year, month's apart is Costa Rica becoming a safe heaven for child abduction?

Offline OIF vet

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2010, 09:07:16 PM »
found another case going on in Costa Rica this is recently

http://fourstateshomepage.com/content/fulltext/?cid=228182&src=ozarksfirst.com

Offline OIF vet

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2010, 09:25:17 PM »
http://amcostarica.com/022609.htm

another case seeking refuge status

Offline SageDad

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 09:30:29 PM »
Huh.. you grant asylum to one woman who claims abuse with no evidence whatsoever and you open the floodgates to every would be abductor seeking to spite their spouse..

From the article:

Another runaway mom seeks sanctuary here, TV station says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country has received yet another fugitive mom, according to a Springfield, Missouri, television station. That brings the total of women who are known to have fled here with children to about a dozen.

The latest fugitive was identified by station KY3 as Trina Atwell, who vanished Feb. 2 with her daughter Emily Alina Koyama.

The father, Roy Koyama, was quoted as saying he was going to marry Ms. Atwell in August.

The television station said that U.S. officials here have confirmed that the girl, who is 7 months old, is in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has become a magnet for women fleeing with
minor children since the security minister, Janina del Vecchio, declined to allow an Heredia women to be extradited to face a U.S. federal charge of international child kidnapping. The woman, Chere Lyn Tomayko, was able to leave custody and is believed still living in Heredia.

In the latest case, the Missouri television station said that Ms. Atwell left a note in which she accused Koyama of abusing her. That seems to be a condition in winning support from Costa Rican officials, although no one here seems to check on the veracity of the claims.

The woman obtained a U.S. passport for the baby with the permission of the father, the television station said. He said he thought the pair were going to a family reunion, according to the station.

International treaties say that such cases should be resolved in the court of initial jurisdiction, but Costa Rican judicial and police officials, mostly women, believe they can adjudicate a case more competently here.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
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Offline KarlHindle

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2010, 09:57:23 PM »
Quote from: carlos;66676
Huh.. you grant asylum to one woman who claims abuse with no evidence whatsoever and you open the floodgates to every would be abductor seeking to spite their spouse..


EDIT: Image isn't loading so here is the url:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_pcWu0Kudr58/S0O0Hs_CrjI/AAAAAAAAAPA/o-mhBLuk0NA/s1600-h/WI+Report+17062003+-+2.jpg

Absolutely correct :burn:
Emily's Dad - Karl Hindle
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http://emilyrosehindle.blogspot.com
‘Who gives a damn about the credit?’ Do what is right and the chips fall into place.” Congressman Chris Smith

Offline OIF vet

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 10:30:56 PM »
http://www.kspr.com/news/local/82645652.html

will see what Costa Rica does tomorrow? I was looking at her face book and it's look's like see's trying to make him look like a monster and a drug addict I think she's desperate to make things up before the hearing I was looking at the wall on her post and it look's like is recent it only goes to the jan 18th of 2010  ,why would it take  all these time for her to open a face book page and post all this negative thing's about the Dad and making excuses and try to justified her wrong doing's.

Offline Audax

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2010, 11:01:15 PM »
Quote from: carlos;66268
...well yeah.  Good point.  As if the US were a society in which the routine abuse and degradation of women was a socially acceptable and common-place practice.  We are not Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia.  Shariah law is not US law.  I am not a woman or the victim of physical spousal abuse but I would imagine that if I were I'd prefer to be in the US and have myself and my daughter protected by US laws than in Costa Rica where the US State Dept acknowledges:

"Domestic violence ... [is] a serious problem, and traditional patterns of unequal opportunity for women remained, despite continuing government and media efforts to advocate change. Abuse of children also remained a problem, and child prostitution was a serious problem."

Women have equal rights here.  In the arena of family law many would say more than equal.  I'm sure there is the occasional case where an American woman is actually in need of asylum in a foreign country because US authorities have proven incapable or unwilling to protect her but those cases have to be so exceedingly rare that the burden of proof to establish such a claim needs to also be exceedingly high.  

International law needs, as a pre-requisite, a sense that all nations are part of a global community with mutual respect for each others laws and judgement.  It's pretty bad when third world countries with persistent problems of sex tourism and child prostitution are giving asylum to "abused" American women and daughters.


Carlos,

while I agree with you, I must also tell you that other countries do not have the same view of the US. I am German, born and raised there for 20 years, and my entire family still lives there. When I discussed David's plight with my sister, she said that these foreign women most likely are afraid that the US courts will not give them or enforce their (the women's) custodial rights. I told her that this kind of thinking is totally wrong.
When I went through my (ugly) divorce about 3 years ago, my ex-husband took our 3 girls away for about 2 weeks, threatening me that he will fight for sole custody. My reply to him was that he can no longer scare me and that I trust the US court to not allow this to happen. This was long before I was aware of David's story, or any other LBPs.
I do not know why people from western countries would have this kind of mindset about the US judiciary, but unfortunately it exists and fuels/supports the insane claims of abducting mothers.

Offline Audax

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2010, 11:05:43 PM »
International treaties say that such cases should be resolved in the court of initial jurisdiction, but Costa Rican judicial and police officials, mostly women, believe they can adjudicate a case more competently here.
Competently???? How can a judiciary expect to be viewed ''competent'' when it cannot even follow a simple treaty??? UGH!!! I'm sooo pi$$ed! :mad2:

Offline forthelost

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2010, 11:34:32 AM »
Quote from: OIF vet;66681
http://www.kspr.com/news/local/82645652.html

will see what Costa Rica does tomorrow? I was looking at her face book and it's look's like see's trying to make him look like a monster and a drug addict I think she's desperate to make things up before the hearing I was looking at the wall on her post and it look's like is recent it only goes to the jan 18th of 2010  ,why would it take  all these time for her to open a face book page and post all this negative thing's about the Dad and making excuses and try to justified her wrong doing's.

Emily's dad has a facebook page for her, but of course it isn't mentioned in the article.

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2010, 12:22:26 PM »
case for Emily in Costa Rica has been delay for another week here's is info on the abducting parent face book page

www.facebook.com/group.php

Offline Audax

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Re: Kidnapping American Children - Costa Rican Style
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2010, 07:29:22 PM »
Quote from: OIF vet;66702
case for Emily in Costa Rica has been delay for another week here's is info on the abducting parent face book page

www.facebook.com/group.php

I can't even force myself to read all the bull crap on that page. But, on the bright side, she has less than 500 ''friends''. I read that she thanks several people for their monetary donations (and states the $ amount). Hmmmm, wonder where that money goes....