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Offline M.Capestro

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Kelvin's story has gone from local to national coverage...

Former Olympic Athlete Disappears with American Son in Brazil
American Kelvin Birotte Said His Wife Took Their Child to Brazil in 2006 and Never Returned
http://abcnews.go.com/US/finding-kelvin-birotte-international-manhunt-kidnapped-american-boy/story?id=10437908
By SARAH NETTER
April 22, 2010


This weeks was supposed to have held a joyous reunion more than three years in the making.

But for a Houston father who has been fighting to get his American-born son back on U.S. soil, there has been only more heartache. One day after a Brazilian court ruled that his son be returned to the U.S., Kelvin Birotte's wife disappeared with 4-year-old Kelvin Birotte Jr., setting off an international manhunt.

When he spoke to her in June, nearly a month before they were to return to Las Vegas, Caldeira said she needed more time in Brazil, in part to help care of her ailing siblings.

"She said she needed to stay longer, that she wasn't going to make it back," he said. "I wanted her to come back for his birthday."

He contacted a lawyer and also the Brazilian embassy. The embassy, he said, urged him to give her the time she wanted.

But that time, he said, was used to allow Caldeira to keep Kelvin in the country for four months, the amount of time the government requires to establish residency for a child of a Brazilian parent. Kelvin was officially made a Brazilian citizen in October 2006.

Birotte was floored. He left his job at Cesear's Palace and broke his lease in Las Vegas and moved back to his native Houston to be closer to the U.S. side of the investigation since that's where Caldeira flew out of on her way to Brazil.

He's back to working as a chef, but told his employer early on that he may need to leave the U.S. at a moment's notice to get his son.

Birotte Case Similar to Goldman Custody Battle

The last time Birotte saw Kelvin was in 2007 when Kelvin was about 19 months old when Birotte flew to Brazil for a court hearing.

"The first couple of hours he was kind of scared," Birotte said.

So, Birotte said, he sang to him just like he used to when he would come home from work.

"You're my angel, You're my angel," Birotte sang. "He remembered that and he's like 'Papa, Papa' and he ran and gave me a hug."

He tried to return again, but Caldeira blocked him, demanding money in exchange for his son, something the U.S. goverment advised him he could not do without making it look like he agreed to her keeping him in Brazil.

And the close relationship Birotte enjoyed with Caldeira's family quickly disintegrated when he refused to let the boy stay in Brazil without a fight.

Instead, Birotte sent his son clothing and bottles of a milk substitute since regular milk made him sick.

Birotte said he expects to stay in Brazil at least through Monday.

Now, his wife's attorney in Brazil has vowed to file an appeal that could further tie up the court case while law enforcement searches for Kelvin Jr.

Birotte, a 43-year-old chef, has devoted the last three and a half years to bringing his son home after his wife, Olympic volleyball medalist Hilma Aparicida Caldeira, took the then-infant for a visit to her native Brazil and never returned.

On Monday, Birotte got the call he'd been waiting for telling him that the Brazilian court in Belo Horizonte had sided with him and ordered 4-year-old Kelvin Birotte Jr. be returned to the United States immediately.

"I was shocked," he said of the call from the U.S. State Department's Office for Children's Issues, which had been assisting him with the international abduction proceedings. "At first I had to sit down because my knees gave out. And then came the joy and tears."

But then, just tears. One day later, he received a second call that Caldeira had fled her home with their son.

"At this point I don't really know what state of mind she's in," Birotte said.

Instead of heading to Brazil to pick up his son, Birotte is now down there hoping Interpol and Brazilian authorities will find him safe. The U.S. quickly arranged for Birotte's expired visa to Brazil to be renewed and Brazilian authorities have arranged for a U.S. passport for Kelvin Jr.

U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, said in a statement to ABCNews.com that his office was notified by the State Department of Caldeira's intent to appeal the court's ruling to send Kelvin back to the U.S.

"We have relayed this information to Mr. Birotte and will do everything we can to ensure a safe, expeditious reunion of father and son," Culberson said.

Birotte's case is eerily reminiscent of David Goldman's fight to regain custody of his young son Sean, who had been taken to Brazil by his mother and not returned. After years and wins and losses in the Brazilian court system and immense international pressure, Brazil released Sean to his father on Christmas Eve last year.

A State Department official told ABCNews.com that while they could not comment on Birotte's case specifically, the agency has a history of working with the Brazil Central Authority to locate American children that disappear in that country.

The U.S. Embassy in Brazil was on holiday and couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Birotte's plight has exploded into a media firestorm in Brazil where Caldeira is a decorated volleyball player with more than 200 medals to her name, including Olympic bronze from the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Birotte said he's been told that her picture, his picture and images of their son have been splashed on the front page of every major newspaper and on television news.

"They already warned me that when I get off the plane the Brazil Central Authority is going to be there and the representative from the embassy along with security is going to be there," he said.

American Father: No Indication Wife Would Kidnap Child

This was not the life Birotte imagined when he met Caldeira in Las Vegas several years ago. He was working as a chef at Cesear's Palace. She was on vacation with friends and stopped him for directions as he was headed into a Vegas club.

They were married in December 2004. Kelvin Jr. was born the following summer.

"We traveled back and forth several times to Brazil," Birotte said. "We had his baptism and christening there."

Cracks began to form in the marriage. She was upset that he didn't drink, he said, and that his long hours as a chef kept him away from home for too long. But Birotte said he never imagined she'd kidnap their child.

In April 2006, Birotte said he signed paperwork authorizing Caldeira, who was in the U.S. on a temporary green card, to take Kelvin Jr. to Brazil for three months to visit her family.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 01:58:58 PM by M.Capestro »

JonathanR

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Re: Former Olympic Athlete Disappears with American Son in Brazil
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2010, 03:51:28 PM »
Melissa, looks like I posted the same link you did in another topic. Feel free to delete.... :biggrin

Offline JerseyGirl

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Re: More media coverage - Birotte case
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2010, 03:11:14 PM »

http://www.24horasnews.com.br/index.php?mat=326470


Google translation:

24/04/2010 - 8:26 a.m.

Court orders ex-volleyball player son return to the U.S.

24 Hour News Writing

In another case of international dispute for custody of a child, a federal court in Ontario ruled that the son of a former volleyball player Hilma Caldeira, 38, Olympic medalist in 1996, be brought to the U.S., where he was born.

A U.S. court will determine who is custody of the child, now four years.

The decision, published on the 20th, ten days to give the child to be delivered to the Brazilian authorities. It's still a sentence of first instance, and the defense of former player claims to have already resorted to trying to suspend the decision.

The Solicitor-General of the Union, which advocates the return of the child to the U.S., waiting for "Mrs. location. Hilma to comply with the search warrant and arrest on the child."

Hilma was married between 2004 and 2006 with the American Birotte Kelvin, who had the boy. The two met when he was a chef in the kitchen of a hotel in Las Vegas. In 2006, mother and son traveled to Brazil to spend three months, according to Folha said the father, who follows the course of the case in Rio "She called me and said never again," said Birotte.

Gilberto Guimarães, lawyer for former player, said that in another case she had won custody of the child. The situation involves more once the Hague Convention, of which Brazil is a signatory, which governs international child abduction. By court decision, the parent must accompany the child to the U.S..

For the lawyer's medal, the fact that the child had already been adapted in Brazil should be taken into account, as envisaged in the Convention.

"He has a mother, goes to school, has bike, affection of the neighborhood. It is undisputed that he's adapted," said Guimaraes.

Attorney Ricardo Zamariola Junior, who defended the American David Goldman in another dispute, the boy Sean, faced similar arguments before winning the case. He defended himself by saying that according to convention, the adjustment in the new country of residence should only be assessed by the judge if the parent requesting the return of the child has lasted over a year to ask for custody.

Whereabouts

Hilma left his home in Belo Horizonte for about a week with the child, neighbors said. A friend, who declined to be named, said he spoke with former player yesterday by telephone, and she is very nervous.

Hildson, brother of former athlete, who lives in Diamantina (MG), confirmed the trip, but said he did not know where she is. Former volleyball player Pele, also a friend, says she talked with her for two days. He said Hilma did not reveal where he was, "afraid that someone would take the boy."






Offline JerseyGirl

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Re: More media coverage - Birotte case
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2010, 06:16:17 PM »

From The Associated Press:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36756942/ns/world_news-americas/

Brazilian judge orders boy returned to US father

By STAN LEHMAN
Associated Press Writer

updated 1 hour, 21 minutes ago

SAO PAULO - For the second time in four months, a judge has ordered a Brazilian to relinquish custody of a child to his U.S. father.

In this case, Hilma Aparecida Caldeira, a former member of Brazil's national volleyball team and ex-Olympic contender, was ordered to return her 4-year-old son, Kelvin Caldeira Birotte, to his father, Kelvin Birotte, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Orna Blum said Saturday.

Blum did not release the father's age, hometown or state. Nor did she say when the judge made his decision or what the deadline was for handing over the child. She said she could not provide further details due to privacy issues.

The U.S.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports on its website that the boy was abducted from Richmond, Texas.

The Globo TV network reported on its G1 website Friday that Judge Joao Cesar Otoni de Matos issued his ruling April 14 and gave Caldeira until next Thursday to hand over Kelvin.

The G1 report said Caldeira brought her son to Brazil to visit relatives sometime in 2006. Later that year, she and Birotte separated. A Brazilian court gave Caldeira custody of her son, prompting Birotte to file a custody suit in the United States, the report said.

Birotte recently arrived in Brazil to take his son back home, G1 said, adding that Caldeira's attorneys have appealed the judge's ruling. Neither Caldeira nor Birotte could be reached for comment.

A separate U.S.-related custody case that attracted international attention was resolved in December, when a Brazilian Supreme Court judge backed a federal court's ruling ordering Brazilian relatives to return 9-year-old Sean Goldman to his father, David Goldman, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey. The case dragged on for five years.

The boy's mother, Bruna Bianchi, took Sean to her native Brazil in 2004. She later divorced Goldman and remarried, prompting Goldman to initiate legal efforts to get his son back. Bianchi died in 2008 in childbirth, but Sean's Brazilian stepfather and grandmother continued to fight for custody in Brazil.

___

On the Net:

National Center For Missing & Exploited Children: www.missingkids.com

Eds: RECASTS 1st graf to reflect that both cases didn't involve mothers; CORRECTS that Bruna Bianchi died in 2008 instead of last year. Brazilian law prohibits publication in Brazil of names of people under age 18 in legal cases for privacy reasons.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Offline JuliRosi

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Re: Former Olympic Athlete Disappears with American Son in Brazil
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2010, 07:36:40 PM »
There is update on Folha de São Paulo. They said that since almost one week the mother  and the child were not at her home. Besides that, She was  very nervous and  afraid that they took the child away from her and there was a Habeas Corpus in order to not return the boy to the USA which was not judged!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2010, 07:39:28 PM by JuliRosi »

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: Former Olympic Athlete Disappears with American Son in Brazil
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2010, 08:19:44 PM »
As reported by ESPN Brazil...google translation

Former volleyball player will have to return child to an American father
http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fespnbrasil.terra.com.br%2Fvolei%2Fnoticia%2F117076_EX%2BJOGADORA%2BDE%2BVOLEI%2BTERA%2BQUE%2BDEVOLVER%2BFILHO%2BAO%2BPAI%2BAMERICANO&sl=pt&tl=en&hl=&ie=UTF-8


After determination of the Federal Justice of Minas, the son of Hilma Caldeira, a former volleyball player team during the 90s, which will be returned to his father American. Kelvin Birotte even have landed on Brazilian soil to bring the boy of four years.

The two vie for custody of the child since 2006 and, early in the legal battle, Kelvin sued by Brazilian international kidnapping. The first award was given by the mining and justice in favor of American. From now on, the case will be referred and decided in the courts Yankees.

Saturday, Hilma's lawyer, Gilberto Antonio Guimaraes, said her client is very upset at the possibility of losing her son, who lived with her most of the time. The case resembles that of the boy that Goldman Sean, played by his Brazilian grandmother and his father American, ended by judicial decisions, going live with their parent in the United States.

Offline pam.in.ny

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Re: Former Olympic Athlete Disappears with American Son in Brazil
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2010, 08:39:56 PM »
I saw this on the Yahoo News Page. I'm happy to see that it is now starting to be picked up by more agencies.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100424/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_brazil_us_custody_case


Brazilian judge orders boy returned to US father

AP

By STAN LEHMAN, Associated Press Writer Stan Lehman, Associated Press Writer – 52 mins ago

SAO PAULO – For the second time in four months, a judge has ordered a Brazilian to relinquish custody of a child to his U.S. father.

In this case, Hilma Aparecida Caldeira, a former member of Brazil's national volleyball team and ex-Olympic contender, was ordered to return her 4-year-old son, Kelvin Caldeira Birotte, to his father, Kelvin Birotte, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Orna Blum said Saturday.

Blum did not release the father's age, hometown or state. Nor did she say when the judge made his decision or what the deadline was for handing over the child. She said she could not provide further details due to privacy issues.

The U.S.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports on its website that the boy was abducted from Richmond, Texas, near Houston.

Messages left at a phone number for a Kelvin Birotte in Houston and on Birotte's Facebook page were not returned to The Associated Press on Saturday.

The Globo TV network reported on its G1 website Friday that Judge Joao Cesar Otoni de Matos issued his ruling April 14 and gave Caldeira until next Thursday to hand over Kelvin.

The G1 report said Caldeira brought her son to Brazil to visit relatives sometime in 2006. Later that year, she and Birotte separated. A Brazilian court gave Caldeira custody of her son, prompting Birotte to file a custody suit in the United States, the report said.

Birotte recently arrived in Brazil to take his son back home, G1 said, adding that Caldeira's attorneys have appealed the judge's ruling. Neither Caldeira nor Birotte could be reached for comment.

A separate U.S.-related custody case that attracted international attention was resolved in December, when a Brazilian Supreme Court judge backed a federal court's ruling ordering Brazilian relatives to return 9-year-old Sean Goldman to his father, David Goldman, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey. The case dragged on for five years.

The boy's mother, Bruna Bianchi, took Sean to her native Brazil in 2004. She later divorced Goldman and remarried, prompting Goldman to initiate legal efforts to get his son back. Bianchi died in 2008 in childbirth, but Sean's Brazilian stepfather and grandmother continued to fight for custody in Brazil.

Offline JerseyGirl

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Re: Former Olympic Athlete Disappears with American Son in Brazil
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2010, 10:51:37 PM »
Here's an updated AP article from The Houston Chronicle, they spoke with Kelvin Birotte:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6974703.html


Brazilian judge orders boy returned to Houston dad

By STAN LEHMAN
ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 24, 2010, 9:16PM

SAO PAULO — For the second time in four months, a judge has ordered a Brazilian to relinquish custody of a child to his U.S. father.

In this case, Hilma Aparecida Caldeira, a former member of Brazil's national volleyball team and ex-Olympic contender, has been ordered to return her 4-year-old son to his American father, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Orna Blum said Saturday.

Contacted in Brazil, the boy's 43-year-old father, Kelvin Birotte of Houston, said the court deadline for him to receive his son is Thursday. He said he had been unable to contact his estranged wife since arriving in Rio de Janeiro, but understood she filed an appeal to the custody order. Caldeira could not be reached for comment.

“I'm going to be here until something happens, good or bad,” said Birotte, a chef by trade who declined to say how much he had spent on the four-year custody dispute.

Birotte said Caldeira brought their son to Brazil to visit relatives sometime in 2006 and stayed on as she filed the same year for divorce and custody of the child.

He last saw his son, also named Kelvin, at a court hearing in 2007, when the boy was 1½. He turns 5 on Aug. 29.

A separate U.S.-related custody case that attracted international attention was resolved in December, when a Brazilian Supreme Court judge backed a federal court's ruling ordering Brazilian relatives to return 9-year-old Sean Goldman to his father, David Goldman, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey. The case dragged on for five years.

The boy's mother, Bruna Bianchi, took Sean to her native Brazil in 2004. She later divorced Goldman and remarried, prompting Goldman to initiate legal efforts to get his son back. Bianchi died in 2008 in childbirth, but Sean's Brazilian stepfather and grandmother continued to fight for custody in Brazil.

Birotte said he drew inspiration from the Goldman case, e-mailing messages of support to David Goldman's website, although the two fathers never met.

Despite Caldeira's local fame as an athlete, Birotte said he felt he was being treated fairly by Brazilian authorities.

“Personally, it's taking too long,” he said. “But each legal system is different.”

Uncertain even in what city his wife and son might be, Birotte appealed for her to call by posting a phone number on his Facebook page, which they have used to communicate during their divorce proceedings.

As for his son, Birotte said his message is simple: “Daddy loves him and he misses him.”

———

Associated Press Writer Morgan Lee in Mexico City contributed to this report.