Seeking Savanna: How a father dealt with 20 years of Search – Part II

Samantha Geldenhuys, Harris Todd

“I never expected to have more love in my heart for any other person in my life and I do for my daughter. Nothing is going to change that – nothing,”  — Harris Todd

Update: On 17 April 2014, Dorothy Lee Barnett is scheduled back in court for her extradition hearing. Dorothy Lee Barnett has been charged in the United States of America for Parental Kidnapping and U.S. Passport Fraud.

Editor’s Note 16 April 2014: Many of us in the Family Abduction Community that have been following Harris Todd and his Search for Savanna Todd for nearly 20 years. From the day he appeared on a TV Talk Show in the United States with other searching parents, Harris has been through a parent’s absolute worst nightmare, a “parental kidnapping”. During this time, many parents have searched for and recovered their children. I am certain Mr. Todd like many searching parents of a parental kidnapping regularly wondered when his turn would come. On 17 April 2014, the Maroochydore Magistrates Court will be challenged to take a huge step toward ensuring the extradition of Dorothy “Lee” Barnett or Alexandria “Alex” Geldenhuys. Even though Dorothy Lee Barnett intentionally violated a United States Custody Order, her “team of lawyers” and maybe even a “politician” will be asking this court for every possible Australian legal right, extension of time to delay the defendants extradition back to the the United States for prosecution. The Extradition of a Parent for the crime of International Parental Kidnapping after 20 years is an important decision or result for the Family Abduction Community. For Searching Parents, it sends an very important message to all parental kidnappers that our International Courts take this crime very seriously. And for Custodial-Embattled Parents, it sends the message that the world’s legal system will not tolerate this horrible and heinous crime against an innocent child. Also, it is certainly the hope of the Family Abduction Community that some future event like this will lead to a reunification of the now adult child and her biological father. I really hope that this court begins the process of doing the right thing.

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46 Responses to Seeking Savanna: How a father dealt with 20 years of Search – Part II

  1. Ash says:

    He’s a bullshitter.

  2. Reece Geldenhuys says:

    The reason why I’m finally saying something is because I dind’t realise how evil some people were until I read some of these blogs. To start off, people saying that my Mom couldn’t keep a stable relationship, might be the one’s who need to get checked for this “bipolar” crap. My mother and father were happily married for about 14 years until we moved to Australia where my dad had an affair. Yes he did try and get my mom back but she would not take him back for obvious reasons. Mom refused to speak to my dad for a few months after that. (In fact the morning that she found out, my sister and I were outside their room and could see in. Not once did she ever “abuse” him or “attack” him or even swear at him).

    I myself was extremely disappointed in my dad and thought he’d never do that. I barely spoke to him for the next two years. My mom would always tell me i need to speak to him. My dad left us and moved to South Africa, leaving a distraught daughter to go into depression as well as a pubescent teenage boy to have no father figure. He’d send through a small payment of child support monthly, leaving my mom to take care of a very depressed daughter in her latter years of high school and a growing, pubescent boy, (yeah I’m sure you’ve all had kids so you’d know how they are going though puberty).

    Although I was always happy and energetic around everyone, there was always a bit of anger in me from my dad leaving, which I’d take out on my mom. I went through a stage where I would hate going out with mom, I’d even hate it if she were at my swim meets or basketball games, etc. because that’s how the majority of young teenagers are. I didn’t realise it but I put my mom through hell by shutting her off for a long time. The point is that my mom would always stick by me and still loved my sister and I more than anything no matter how much we hurt her. She was always there for us, (even if I barely spoke to her). She has never once portrayed any sign of bipolar or any sort of mental illness. She has the widest range of friends I’ve ever known an adult to have.

    Sonya Olsen I’m extremely sorry if you are taking out your anger on my mom for getting “overshadowed” by her as a child or whatever ridiculous reason you may have. Mary I don’t even know you and i hope I never do have to meet you as I can already tell what kind of person you are. I know how you guys like to compare the prestigious background of education from which Harris Todd III has come from. Yeah he was a graduate of Yale, does that mean that he’s clever common sense wise? Or that he is so smart that he’d be able to pull off something insane such as framing my mother for someone/ something she’s not? Last time I checked a “mentally ill” or “stupid” mother would not be able to raise two successful kids on her own- especially two children that end up studying nursing and engineering at two of the best universities in the world for those courses…

    The fact that you guys are trying to imply that we’ve been brainwashed by our mother into supporting her is blasphemous to say the least. My sister and I were raised to identify what is wrong and and what is right. To ensure that we are right and have seen both sides until proceeding with something. If you guys think that is brainwashing then perhaps you are the “unfit” mothers. If you guys don’t want to look at the straight facts and know that my mother took my sister for a VERY good reason, then exclude yourself from trying to light a fire with complete bullshit.

    P.s. My dad and mother eventually became very good friends again and would email each other all the time with a lot of joking involved even when m dad was very sick. Just before my dad passed away he sent me a message specifically saying “be good for your mom, help her out with anything she needs, because trust me should would do anything for you guys and is an amazing mother”. I don’t know why you guys are trying to ruin all of our lives but I hope one day it comes back around.

    • underwatch says:

      Reece,

      Thank you for posting your story on this blog. First of all, from reading your post, it sounds to me like both Savanna and you are tragic victims to a parental kidnapping crime.

      Secondly, I sincerely hope that your true identity is Reece Geldenhuys, son of the late Juan Geldenhuys and accused parental kidnapper Dorothy Lee Barnett. I also hope it’s not Bruce who talked you into posting this.

      Reece, I also want to offer my condolences for the passing of your father. From what I have read about him, it sounds like he was a great guy. That said, he is not the only man or father in the World to have an affair. How sad that he had to move back to South Africa after your parent’s divorce.

      It certainly sounds like life for you and your sister would have been challenging after the separation and divorce. I personally find it very difficult to believe that any parent, especially a parental kidnapper would have conducted herself with patience, understanding and compassion after hearing her spouse had an affair.

      Reece, we are not trying to ruin Savanna and your life. There is only one person responsible for putting you and your sister in this position, that’s your mother Dorothy Lee Barnett. The day she kidnapped your sister is the day she made a life changing decision. Back then, as evidenced by the videos that have surfaced, she knew the consequences. That she would someday go to prison for this kidnapping. And that the crime would disparage the reputation of her family, children, future children like you and other loved ones.

      Reece, someday you will get married and have kids. If you were to get divorced, the custody laws would protect your relationship with your children. Regardless of the age of your child (one month to a teenager) the courts would like to see both parents co-parent your child. The laws are in place to prevent a custodial embattled parent like your mom from packing her bags and moving to another city or country. The worst scenario is for the left-behind parent to have no idea where his or her child is – like Harris Todd.

      Your mother really needs to take responsibility and ownership for her actions. She needs to show remorse for some horrible decisions she made. A good start to fixing this is to encourage Savanna to start a relationship with her father, like she did in encouraging you to speak with your dad.

      I personally know that if I was a judge, juror, parole officer or psychiatrist — that would be a giant step in the right direction.

      The Editor

      • Reece Geldenhuys says:

        I see you have completely disregarded the fact where I implied that she is as good a mother could be… Perhaps you have had a situation of your own similar to this where you were wronged; but that doesn’t mean what my mother did was wrong. You have not seen the cold hard facts nor have you met either Harris or my mother. You’ve heard one side of the story and clearly believe that very strongly. I just hope that you stop posting your opinions all over the web because firstly, the trial hasn’t even been run yet, and secondly because it’s false. To say Bruce told me to do this is yet another false assumption… I haven’t spoken to Bruce about this as he probably didn’t want me to know about it as he knew I wouldn’t have taken it well.

      • underwatch says:

        Reece,

        Most of us in the Family Abduction Community are familiar with the legal defenses of your mom’s case. Your mother did not exhaust her legal remedies before she committed this crime. Also, a good or amazing mother would never put her children in this situation.

        I’ve heard a professor talking about ethics say that he would see a neighbor with a very expensive sports car and boat alleging that the neighbor was involved in illegal activity. He implied that he had been offered similar deals in his career. However, his position was that he would never engage in any illegal activity that would disparage is family. Just like that neighbor, your mother is accused of criminal activity.

        Reece, it’s probably not a good idea to post online. Especially if this is you and you’re a minor. You should save your story for the trial.

        I would also encourage you to get advice from the Geldenhuys family and your father’s friends. These individual would be better at looking after your interests first.

        Finally, the Family Abduction Community would consider your sister and you victims of this crime. We acknowledge that you probably feel you don’t appreciate being in the news right now. I realize that at your age there is nothing you could have personally done to have stopped your mom, your sister, Cliff or Bruce from going to the media. That said, you can personally choose to keep out of the media.

        The Editor

      • Reece Geldenhuys says:

        Haha you really have no idea… Last time I checked, 18 isn’t a minor, but apparently you know more than me about my mom and now you seem to know more about me than I do… I personally love the part where you tell me to get advice from my South African family; I don’t think someone who can manage to study full time engineering, swim 9 times a week, find time to party with friends and also have basketball 3 times a week really needs to get help from others… I’d say I can manage my life/time perfectly fine, I really appreciate your concern though.
        I don’t care one bit about our situation because I am fine and my sister is fine, the only thing is our mom is not. If you’re telling me that your kid was in an unsafe environment without a real parent being with them (referring to the 70hrs a week the “unwealthy stockbroker” was working) and you wouldn’t do the same then I would personally think of you as a bad parent. Just like you’re accusing my mother of being. I know my mom broke the laws with the passport fraud etc, I’m well aware! But I’m certain that that doesn’t make her a bad parent. Go through and look at “Alex Geldenhuys'” criminal offences or wrong doing… You might be lucky enough to find a $30 parking ticket somewhere!
        You personally never knew my mom which is the thing I find most intriguing because you seemingly have a strong hate for her… We were taught not to judge a book by it’s cover but I guess not all people are the same right?

  3. underwatch says:

    Reece,

    Savanna only knew Harris as a very young child. And you certainly never knew Harris either Here’s a question: What’s so wrong with Savanna meeting Harris in person? She’s certainly old enough to judge for herself. I also see your posts to Sonja. So why don’t you email or call Sonja directly rather than post in on the board. It makes me think that you are really not Reece but someone else.

    BTW, Reece or whoever you are, 70 hours a week is a slight over dramatization of what most successful young professionals worked in the ’90s. That said, as an Engineer if you were to go work for most startups in Sydney, you would be expected to work pretty much the same hours that Harris worked back then. That wouldn’t make you a bad parent for working those hours and wanting also to have a family. Besides, in Harris’ case, I would assume that Savanna’s grandmother and extended family would have helped with the child care.

    – The Editor

    You personally never knew my mom which is the thing I find most intriguing because you seemingly have a strong hate for her… We were taught not to judge a book by it’s cover but I guess not all people are the same right?

    • Reece Geldenhuys says:

      Well it’s a good thing you’re not an engineer Editor because your facts are very wrong. You don’t even live in this country so how would you know what Australian engineers work? She is old enough to judge for herself, as she’s told everyone, it’s her choice not to meet him; not my mom’s not mine, hers. I’m not even going to bother arguing the fact that it’s me, you’re under an anonymous editor name and you’re saying I’m a fake….

      • Celeste says:

        Reece,
        I know you want to protect your mother. What child wouldn’t want to protect his/her mother?
        But your mother committed 3 very serious crimes. Custodial Interference, and International Parental Kidanapping for fleeing with your sister, and Passport Fraud.
        I think the imporatnt thing is that your mother realizes the error she made in fleeing with your sister.
        I may not know you or your family personally but I know that every child loves his/her parents and there’s no doubt in my mind that you and your sister love your mother. But your mother is doing the right thing by going back to South Carolina and getting things straightened out with your sister’s father.
        She may have to go to jail for what she did to your sister and her father. But in the end fleeing with your child carries consquences and your mother has to face up to what she did.
        Was it worth it to your mother to take off with your sister knowing that someday soon your mother would be caught? No.

  4. SONYA says:

    I know your Mom well and I care for her and always have. My heart goes out to everyone involved. I also know Harris. Both people where big parts of my life 20 years ago .

    I have written Lee multiple times in the past months. I am trying very hard not to be on a side. Its a difficult task. I do not agree with her choice of defense, and Reese ……I was around a lot back in the day.

    My only concern is for reunification of father and daughter . Once that occurs , the relationship will stand on its own. Its the right thing to have happen. I strongly believe it will enhance Lee’s chances for a lighter sentence in the long run.

    Courts run on FACT …..Not internet chatter. I doubt anything said on these blogs is anything more than hear say.

    It sounds like you are doing remarkably well and I am thankful for that. Someday this will be over and the sooner the better for all.
    My prayers go out to you all. Perhaps we will meet someday under better circumstances.
    Sonya

  5. Tired says:

    God bless you Reece for speaking up. I am sorry that you are not regarded by this editor as an intelligent and capable adult. For what it’s worth, I hope you will have some kind of relationship with your father someday. Unfortunately this myopic (and misogynist) page isn’t actually concerned with you or your mom. To broker peace and healing would be a much larger benefit and continually demonizing the mother you love isn’t helping. Did ya’ hear that Mr. Editor? You will hide behind the word “justice” when it is obvious that you are clearly interested in proselytizing converts to your world of hate – in other words – revenge. Reece’s dad would do well to demonstrate his “love” for his daughter by NOT following your example. He (and you) are only creating a wider chasm between this “loving father”? and his beautiful ADULT daughter. Keep it up and he’ll never see his grandchildren either.. and that’s just human nature. You are too quick to blame and slow to understand on this page.

    • underwatch says:

      To Tired,

      Parental Kidnapping and Passport Fraud are both crimes that should be taken very seriously and enforced by our U.S. Department of Justice. This isn’t about a crime committed by a mother as it is by a parental kidnapper. Are you supporting this mother because she is a woman? Do you believe if a parent doesn’t like results of a custody order, even after an court ordered evaluation he or she has the right to take the law into their own hands and kidnap their child for 20 years? Dorothy Lee Barnett truly had other alternatives – but as both of us know she was not interested in listening to any judge.

      Now, 20 years later she is claiming to be victimized by the system. And she is once again engaging in parental alienation of her now adult child against the child’s biological father. And then you have the 18 year old son, trying to believe he can post to this website and convince a family relative to take his side. This mom is way to selfish and self-centered to think about her adult children before herself.

      The Editor

    • Mary says:

      Tired, you are quick to spew forth “vile bile” before taking the time to grasp the realities of “what is what” or “who is who” in this very sad story.

      Since you post as some-one who struggles to understand that feet are made for dancing, I will summarise this very sad story for you – there are no winners.

      Regardless of where your sympathies lie, there is a lawful and an unlawful way of conducting oneself. I believe you get that. But, if you do not, you must live your life in a state of constant confusion.

  6. Tired says:

    Reece, I apologize that your dad passed away. Don’t take this page seriously for blaming your mom. You sound like an incredible young woman. I hope and pray your mom is released SOON.

    • Mary says:

      Tired, do try to put your brain into gear before you spray from the mouth. A step in the right direction would be to do your catch-up reading in this matter. Also, take the time to understand the purpose of the site to which you post irrationally. After that, regardless of where your sympathies lie, you should be able to work out that falling foul of the long arm of the law is a serious matter.

    • Celeste says:

      Tired please do engage your brain BEFORE you open your mouth.
      This was a 20 year parental kidnapping case in which Dorothy/Alex stole her daughter from her father. We’re under the assumption that Dorothy/Alex is heading to the United States to face trial.

    • Judith says:

      Dear Tired,

      You sound like someone who has really done her homework in the background details of this case.

      It’s just such a shame you’ve only recently stumbled across this case. Maybe if you were around before November 2013, you could have brokered a peace deal and spared Dorothy’s daughter Reece from having to have her mother put in jail.

      It’s fortunate that Dorothy has a supporter who lacks myopia and is able to see the facts and details as clearly as you do.

      ps: Don’t be put off or confused by cruel people posting here who are trying to punish the mother by referring to her incredible daughter Reece as a male.

      • Celeste says:

        Judith,
        Dorothy, Dottie, Lee, Alex, committed a crime. I think there’s one more lesson in life that people must learn and that lesson is that acts have consequences.
        Dorothy will have to go to jail. Just how long she’s going to be separated from her kids depends on her and her legal team.

  7. Drew says:

    All of your guys except for Judith are absolutely clueless. Editor, to be put plain and simple- you’re an idiot. Go get a real job. One where you don’t try and belittle people who are successful. You clearly haven’t succeeded with shit which makes you for some reason want to bring successful people down… Sounds like a great life!

    • Celeste says:

      I suppose you haven’t learned that lesson at all have you Drew?

    • underwatch says:

      Hi Ash & Drew,

      It sounds like both of you want Dorothy Lee Barnett not prosecuted because she is Samantha and Reece’s mother and because Reece is your friend, not because she is innocent or guilty. Both of you will probably be fathers someday and if you get divorced, your rights as parent must be protected. If your ex-wife kidnapped your child to America for 20 years, you would want exactly what Harris Todd rightfully deserves in this situation. Both of you would want your child to do the right thing and get to know you again. And in 20 years, I am sure both of you would have matured enough as men and fathers to know who the clueless ones really are.

      Your recent postings are very sadly starting to reveal the true character of the type of parent and mother Dorothy Lee Barnett is. IMHO, that’s very pathetic. You are probably going to claim you were intoxicated, drunk or high at the time, but that’s no excuse.

      The Editor

      • Drew says:

        I don’t know how many times I have to tell you clueless people that I have never met any of those people (Lee, Sam & Reece). If you guys wish you to continue making false accusations and accusing me of being a drug-consuming person then perhaps you’re the one who’s “true character” is starting to show.

      • underwatch says:

        Drew,

        The definition of clueless is thinking that posting comments to a website doesn’t display your IP Address. You and your mates appear to be posting from the same Internet address.

        As I’ve commented before, this situation needs to be de-escalated. I don’t believe Dorothy Lee Barnett is capable of moving her family in that direction. It is unfortunate but it is Samantha and Reece that will have to convince their mom to do what is best for her family.

        A reunion with Savanna and Harris Todd would be the first step.

        The Editor

      • Judith says:

        The Force is telling me that “Drewface B” is a 15 (soon to be 16) year old girl, and friend of Reece. Drewface and Ash are nothing more than “groupies” for Reece and his mum. Once again, as I’ve often said, there is no member of the public not related to Dorothy or not part of the existing set of friends or friends of friends, who studied the case and independently came to the conclusion the Dorothy was right. This is despite favourable media spin in late January.

        Drewface and Ash. I see you’re both concerned young people who’d like to make a difference. Why don’t you kids sign the “Change.org” petition one more time? Just make up a few fake identities and sign multiple times if you like. No one is going to check, as none of the judges or politicians are going to even read it. But by inflating the numbers, it will help everyone feel better and give the illusion that lots of people support it.

        Dorothy is one big fraud. Her son and daughter’s entire concept that they came from a happy, balanced and together family all hinges on their mother’s bogus life story as being believed to be the truth. Therefore it needs to be aggressively defended at all costs. Otherwise their whole history and childhood would be shattered and it will be seen for what it is. One great big fake illusion.

        The reality is that Dorothy’s life story is mostly a confabulation. It’s a fiction that she’s told in her own way, wrapped around small kernels of the truth. She’s a fraud. She’s smoke and mirrors. Her public facing personality is defined by her bogus fictional account of her past. It was what propped up her self-esteem, self worth and self image. Therefore she’s invested an inordinate amount of her time and energy into substantiating her stories, defending her version of events, collecting “evidence” and reinterpreting reality to fit in with her scenario. She needs to preserve appearances, uphold the fantasies and to ensure no one actually works out that under the public facade, she’s nothing but a fake.

        Dorothy’s current set of friends need to keep the illusion alive, as they’ve been made to feel a personal sense of obligation towards Reece and Savanna. Thus part of their obligation to ensure the children are doing ok is to support the mythology and keep it alive. Otherwise everything falls to pieces.

        None of the Dorothy supporters have ever been able to actually debate the pros and cons around the actual facts of the case. Why? Because the facts don’t agree with their storyline. They constantly require use of emotional tricks to compensate and divert attention. They’ve tried to do damage control and get rid of the opposition by using Dorothy’s son and daughter as an “emotional shield”. They’ve tried to set it up that if anyone tries to expose her fraud or expose the facts, then it’s spun around into being seen as a personal attack on Dorothy’s innocent (now adult) children.

        In any case, it counts for little. The rat has been caught and caged. “Alex Geldenhuys” was destroyed in a puff of smoke. What is left is an aged, shrivelled, feeble old woman (of whatever name she chooses) who will be supervised for years after her prison release, will be dependent on the charity of others and who won’t be anything much ever again.

      • underwatch says:

        Hi All,

        It sounds like Judith is correct, they are only young impressionable teens. It is sounding like the story is starting to unfold of Dorothy Lee Barnett’s parenting skills and how she raised her children. It is not the story that was represented during their Channel 7 Television Interview.

        From what I have read, Reece’s father Juan Geldenhuys was well liked by everyone. It sounds like that’s what he had in common with Harris Todd. I would personally like to see both Savanna and Reece start to be the adults here and convince their mother that it’s time for Dorothy to tell the truth.

        As we’ve seen in other parental kidnapping cases, once the parental kidnapper violates the court order and flees the country — that one irreversible decision causes more harm to so many involved in this case. Not only the obvious victims Savanna Todd and Harris Todd, but the entire Todd family. Then there is the Barnett family and extended family members, they too had to live with the guilt that for 20 years — that their family member committed one of the most heinous crimes against a child. For those of them that tried to get Dorothy to turn herself in, that no doubt created issues among other family members. Then there are hundreds or thousands of hours of law enforcement hours and time spent by missing children organizations and volunteers searching for the kidnapped child. Those resources could have been spent on other children. There are even the National Media opportunities that could have gone to other missing children’s cases.

        It would be really great to see a member of the Barnett Family or Friend take the lead in de-escalating this truly horrible situation for all parties involved.

        As many of us in the Missing Children’s Community would say to Searching Parents, “Keep the Hope Alive”.

        The Editor

  8. Karen says:

    Ironically, Lee spoke with Melanie Stork just shortly before she fled. Melanie also had a similar situation with her daughter and child custody case. Today, Melanie said that she wishes she would have done what Lee did.

    • underwatch says:

      Karen,

      When Underground Mom’s like Dorothy Lee Barnett go to trial, they look for witnesses and evidence that backup their story. What is similar in these cases is when the real motive is anger and revenge, individuals like Melanie Stork have nothing to do with this case. Melanie shared custody of her child and is not in prison today. She may have some other tragic story and would like to inject it into Dorothy’s pathetic situation, but it is no excuse for ever kidnapping a child.

      The Editor

    • Celeste says:

      Melanie Stork should be ashamed of herself for saying so.

      • Karen says:

        Many People are not treated fairly in the justice system today. there is a lot of lying and not putting the child’s interest at the center instead of revenge. Most custody hearings I see are related to money instead of desire to see the child. From my understanding, Todd had no interest in raising Savannah but planned on his parents raising her. There was nothing lacking with Lee besides being railroaded by an abusive bully of a husband. Lee was backed into a corner by our unfair legal system. Melanie’s daughter was not raised well by her father. She was left alone to fend for herself under her dad’s care while her dad drank and carried on . She was the cook and maid for him till the day she got pregnant and the baby daddy married her at a young age. As mothers, we form a special bond as we carry the child in our womb. After birth, we do whatever we feel is necessary to protect them as we did when they were inside. Unlike you people who have met none of the players, I have met them all except for Reece. It is funny how you can be so opinionated on a story you have no personal knowledge and have only what you read in the biased media to base that rage on.

      • underwatch says:

        Karen, in the above post you said:

        Many People are not treated fairly in the justice system today. there is a lot of lying and not putting the child’s interest at the center instead of revenge. Most custody hearings I see are related to money instead of desire to see the child. From my understanding, Todd had no interest in raising Savannah but planned on his parents raising her. There was nothing lacking with Lee besides being railroaded by an abusive bully of a husband. Lee was backed into a corner by our unfair legal system.

        Karen, Dorothy Lee and many other non-custodial mothers have many legal alternatives before they kidnap their children. There is no custody order that is ever final. Family Law Judges will always change a custody order. If you look at Dorothy Lee’s personality and life as flight attendant and world traveler, it really appears to me that she simply didn’t want to stay in Charleston, South Carolina and raise her daughter with joint custody with Harris. Like all parental kidnappers, there is no judge in Charleston, South Carolina that was going to tell here what to do. She is the only Bully here.

        As mothers, we form a special bond as we carry the child in our womb. After birth, we do whatever we feel is necessary to protect them as we did when they were inside.

        There are plenty of custodial fathers that believe that they are better than the mother at raising their chid and promoting co-parenting. If you look at the parents in Harris and Dorothy Lee Barnet’s generation, they wanted it all, a family and a career. If they had the economic means, they would hire nannies or use family members to care for their children. They were expected to share parenting and child care responsibilities equally. This generation of parents grew up in the era of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment designed to guarantee equal rights for women. So when this generation of parents got divorced, these men like Harris Todd were expecting joint and even sole custody. And that’s the way most family law courts are today, we have moved from the era of maternal custody to joint custody or co-parenting.

        Karen, can you now see how your statement in trying to roll back our family law courts to maternal custody is a little naive or shortsighted? I will add that today, you have some men and women coming from dysfunctional families and in a parenting contest, it’s understandable why a Yale Graduate like Harris Todd would have certainly been the preferred parent. And today, he’s not the one in prison so it surely looks like the courts got it right. Unfortunately, they didn’t do enough to protect Savanna from the tragic kidnapping.

        So Karen, I am going to assume that before you go postal on my comments, you consider if you have a son or had a son one day, wouldn’t you raise that son to be the best possible parent in the World. And certainly if that son got divorced, you wouldn’t want that son to settle for being a non-custodial parent. I am sure you would want that son to have joint custody of his child and be the best at co-parenting your grandchild. And, if your grandchild needed daycare, you would be the first to volunteer. Finally, if your grandchild was kidnapped for as many years as Savanna Todd was, you would certainly want to see that alienated child today. It’s so sad that Harris Todd hasn’t been reunified with his child yet. If you are truly the parent and person that you think you are, then you would be working to move the family in that peaceful direction.

        The Editor

      • Karen says:

        If you read the Gentleman’s Quarterly article you will see that Harris was offered his baby girl returned to Charleston. He chose not to. I feel that if someone needs a nanny or parent to raise their child right out of the womb than they are possibly not suitable parents and should consider getting a dog. Child custody wars exist to line lawyers pockets. The one who can hold out financially usually wins. Mothers usually give up there careers to raise a family and therefore are stuck between a growing lawyer bill and poverty trying to fight for their children. Open your eyes to the real world lady! I am a volunteer guardian-ad-litem who works DSS cases. Why don’t you help kids in this situation instead flapping your uneducated biased lips on a blog. Actions speak louder that ignorant opinion.

      • underwatch says:

        If you read the Gentleman’s Quarterly article you will see that Harris was offered his baby girl returned to Charleston.

        I read this article when it cane out. Do you really think Lee would gave actually come out of hiding and traveled back to Charleston. If you were Savanna’s GAL, would you have thought that offer was genuine?

        I feel that if someone needs a nanny or parent to raise their child right out of the womb than they are possibly not suitable parents and should consider getting a dog.

        Anyone who kidnaps a child should have never had one. As a volunteer GAL, I hope you’ve never used your dog example.

        Child custody wars exist to line lawyers pockets.

        You are wrong here. Child Custody Laws exist because two parents make a decision to bring a child into this world. When they decide to divorce and cannot decide on custody or at an impasse, then they must use our Child Custody Laws.

        Mothers usually give up there careers to raise a family and therefore are stuck between a growing lawyer bill and poverty trying to fight for their children.

        That’s not the case with Dorothy Lee Barnett. She had access to financial resources to fight for custody of Savanna and re-gain some credibility with the judge. She could have asked the court for a new custody evaluation. Although you know Lee, she was not interested. She wanted to seek revenge on Harris and his family. She was not interested in “the best interests of the child”.

        Open your eyes to the real world lady! I am a volunteer guardian-ad-litem who works DSS cases. Why don’t you help kids in this situation instead flapping your uneducated biased lips on a blog. Actions speak louder that ignorant opinion

        Karen, you probably should not post on the public internet that you are a volunteer Guardian Ad-litem fir minor children. With such opinionated views on child custody, parental kidnapping and dogs, I am not certain you would pass these programs screening process again if these posting were to be associated with your name. It’s nice that you volunteer but you should remember to act in the best interests if a child you must not be bias and be able to follow the law. It’s too bad that that Lee was not able to abide by our laws.

        The Editor

      • Karen says:

        The real world has emotions and actions based on these emotions doing what that person feels is their best option. There are con artist and there are the people that they take advantage of. Unfortunately here the nice guy finishes last as in most situations. I was not Lee’s guardian-ad-Litem just heard about the case after the fact. I was questioned by the same guardian-ad-litem lee had regarding another case and was questioned from a pre-conceived and biased opinion and feel that lee’s was probably met with the same unprofessionalism. i am done with you ladies squawking about a case you know nothing about. I have better thing to do with my time.

      • underwatch says:

        The real world has emotions and actions based on these emotions doing what that person feels is their best option. There are con artist and there are the people that they take advantage of. Unfortunately here the nice guy finishes last as in most situations. I was not Lee’s guardian-ad-Litem just heard about the case after the fact. I was questioned by the same guardian-ad-litem lee had regarding another case and was questioned from a pre-conceived and biased opinion and feel that lee’s was probably met with the same unprofessionalism. i am done with you ladies squawking about a case you know nothing about. I have better thing to do with my time.

        Karen,

        I appreciate your comments and perspective on this case. There are so many issues involved in these cases such as the Family Court Legal System, Domestic Violence vs. Family Violence, Maternal Custody vs. Joint Custody vs. Co-Parenting and International Parental Kidnapping. These are complex issues in which our society must protect children’s and parent’s rights.

        Again, thank you for your comments.

        The Editor

      • underwatch says:

        I was questioned by the same guardian-ad-litem lee had regarding another case and was questioned from a pre-conceived and biased opinion and feel that lee’s was probably met with the same unprofessionalism.

        Karen, it sounds like tried to discredit the GAL in the case. First of all, Lee wouldn’t have a GAL but Savanna would. A GAL would protect the child’s rights.

        Are you blaming the GAL for not protecting the child’s rights?

        I think the courts and the GAL got it right, they knew Dorothy was unpredictable and was not likely to be able to co-parent her child, they were correct.

        If you were the GAL in this case and thought a parent would kidnap a child, what would you do?

        1. File a CPS report against the Mom?
        2. Bring the matter to the judge’s attention to ensure the child’s passport was flagged, supervised visitation in a secure setting was ordered.

        3. Recommend to the court that the mother get sole or joint custody to prevent her from kidnapping her child.

        4. Tell the father to quit his job, cash his investments, sell his home and kidnap his child to Australia.

        Karen, what would you have done?

        Btw, do you think any of the judges could rely on you to make a unbias opinion after reading your opinions here? Do you think it’s unprofessional to disparage another GAL here?

        The Editor

    • Mary says:

      Karen, Ms Barnett isn’t sitting in a correctional facility partaking in its structured daily routine because of “biased media”. Nor is it because she didn’t know the price of a pizza in Italy, when she responded to a knock at the door in late 2013.

      Karen, you might like to help me out in understanding how a wanted on international parental child abduction in the US Ms Barnett gained entry into South Africa, New Zealand and Australia for herself and parentally-abducted Savannah Todd. Also, what is Melanie Stork’s take on what offence will cause Ms Barnett the most grief?

  9. Celeste says:

    Karen Dorothy was offered a joint custody agreement but then she turned her nose up at it because it stipulated that she get treatment for her bipolar disorder.
    Exactly what Dorothy told Savanna about her father is between them.
    But still there was no proof that Benjamin Todd was a homosexual nor that he was abusive. In fact she didn’t even accuse him of doing anything to his daughter until she got caught

  10. Mario says:

    What is lawful doesn’t mean what is right. Anybody with a bit of common sense should understand this. It appears to me that Todd had a lot of money and was able to persuade a flawed judicial system in one of the most backward states of this nation. It also appears to me that Todd does not like women and only wanted to use Lee to have a child and take the child away from her. He does not look like a person who likes women

    • underwatch says:

      Mario, why would you say the judicial system is flawed? The father got custody and the protective mom was convicted of a felony and went to prison. What is flawed is how this father was deprived of his custody.

  11. Mario says:

    Every legal system has its flaws and in this case, it is obvious that Todd had more money. What is correct and what is legal does not always coincide. As I said before, it appears to me that Todd is gay and planned to have a child, accuse the mother of being crazy and take the child. How else would he have so much evidence collected on how unstable she is, when the fact is that someone unstable would never be able to do the incredible things she did to save her child from this strange individual who she married to.

    • underwatch says:

      Mario, you should ask your friends and family to read what you just posted. Then think of the day you get married, have a child, then get divorced. Would you be considered a good enough parent for coparenting?

      • Adela says:

        Mario, you’re absolutely right. The Family Court in this country is extremely flawed and what is legal does not necessarily mean that it is right. Every year, thousands of parents miss their children because of it, but they’re not portrayed in the media. Why? because the media doesn’t want people to know how rotten the system actually is, so they ignore the scandal, refuse to cover stories about corrupted judges and, when they can’t hide them anymore, they minimize them.
        Do you want to know what else they do? they give extensive coverage to good rulings challenged by narcissistic parents. They want to show how “good” the system is by making well done and researched rulings very well known. Parents that were wrong by courts do not kidnap their children. They fight the courts, why? because they’re good parents, and know that it is better for their children to have access to the justice system wherever they are, than to be hiding some other place. A lot of them even learn how to handle their legal cases pro se, appeal, re file, and are simply happy to know that, as long as they’re in their children’s lives, they’re safe. They take as much visitation as they can, and would never attempt to destroy the relationship with the other parent.
        Lee Barnett didn’t do that. She has shown no remorse and no morals. Her daughter has the typical life of an alienated adult, which include depression, denial of her own reality and poor judgment. It didn’t do any good to portray herself as “not a victim” (talk about Stockholm Syndrome) and her exaggerated portrayal as her mother’s perfection is only indicative of the fantasy world she refuses to leave, because the reality of having been damaged that much by her own mother is just too much to handle for such an immature state of mind.
        I don’t know anybody in this case, but her appearances in the media have been very unimpressive and have shown that she did not miss “opportunities” provided by a “Yale educated” parent. She missed her own identity, was stripped of her name, her country and half of herself, and it doesn’t matter how rich her father is. It is quite clear that not having her made a very profound and negative effect on her, and that it is too late to revert it.

    • Lorraine says:

      Mario, as you say “every legal system has its flaws”. Three cheers for the Australian legal system that certainly got it right and extradited her.

      Regardless of how boastful Dorothy Lee Barnett and her supporters might be, she sports a criminal record. Among this woman’s many crimes is that she illegally entered and lived in my country through New Zealand citizenship acquired falsely. She is no hero. In fact, she never even got to pack up her belongings. It was off to jail. Then, when the time had come to rightfully return her to the US, she was bundled into a prison wagon, driven to the airport and then handed over (probably handcuffed) to awaiting FBI agents.

      Mariuccio, she pleaded guilty. What’s that telling you?

  12. Jackie says:

    My daughter was illegally taken from me I get every other weekend visitation. My ex-husband spent nine nights in a mental hospital on a 5150 he committed welfare fraud and bankruptcy fraud he lied that I was crazy. The judge ordered me to take a psych eval but refused my request for his psych eval even after he spent nine nights in a mental hospital. My ex-husband beat my face and assaulted a new girlfriend he committed welfare fraud and bankruptcy fraud. I’m a registered nurse I never did anything wrong. The judge ordered my ex-husband to take anger management classes and parenting classes and took my daughter from me. My ex-husband doesn’t work he lives on welfare because he wants to make sure I pay lots of Child Support. Then he decided to move my daughter out of state to further take her away from me. Corrupt courts. The judge and lawyer are friends and they forced sale of my home and took my entire life savings dragging out our divorce five years. Not only did they take my daughter they took my $350,000 worth of life savings premarital money. Judge Tobias Hollister California Steven Penn lawyer. Licensed clinical social worker Florence Creighton Morgan Hill was a paid liar. Florence crate and told the courts that I made a false allegation against the 11 year old son of my ex-husband’s girlfriend. Absolutely false. That woman told the court so that I did not feed or care for my daughter. And absolutely she got paid lots of money to make up false allegations against me removing my daughter from me and Court corruption needs to be investigated

    • underwatch says:

      Jackie, it sounds like an unfortunate situation. You are like actress Kelly Rutherford do not currently have an equal custody time schedule. It sounds like at some point in the Family Law process, Kelly accepted the arrangement and is making the very best of her time with her children. I would think she is working to regain her reputation and trust with the court. It is said that our legal system sometimes works and others times does not. There is no custody schedule that is ever permanent so hopefully yours can eventually be modified. As parents, we need to take ownership of our decision to have children and our inability to coparent with that person.

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