In the United States, the last city/county that the parents lived in with the children has venue or jurisdiction over the case. So if one of the parents such as the case of Joanne McDowell wants to move to another city with the child, she will need the permission of that county Family Court. The mother can’t just move to another venue with the child which would be a parental kidnapping.
So it was apparent that Joanne McDowell didn’t want to stay in Hendersonville, North Carolina and share custody with her former spouse. And she did what many protective parents do, allegedly staged a video of her child after a custody transfer with related allegations against her former spouse, a physician. Does this sound familiar to those of us in the Family Abduction Community — you bet it does. This was a common tactic in the ’80s and ’90s. But the story doesn’t end her, Joanne McDowell who was in law school at Chapel Hill fled the jurisdiction and kidnapped her child to her native country Canada. And then she both shopped for a therapist in Canada and actually got a ignorant Canada Judge to give her custody. Wow, does that sound familiar — you bet it sadly does.
That was over 6 years ago and the Henderson County North Carolina elected District Attorney Greg Newman has filed Felony Kidnapping Charges against Joanne McDowell. But McDowell has somehow evaded the lame Hague Convention and has been extradited from Canada. Although not surprisingly, McDowell has not been able to finish law school at UNC Law School — and probably would more or less have difficultly becoming a lawyer in the United States with her felony charge.
We applaud Greg Newman for filing the felony charge against McDowell but would like to see some sort of justice for the father and child in this case. McDowell has wrongfully be able to obtain a Canadian Restraining Order against the father and his child which is pathetic. In most of these cases, the Canadian Judge should have had a phone conference with the U.S. Family Law Judge and ordered McDowell back to the United States. But the judge did not do that and allowed McDowell to venue shop. We think it is time for Newman to take steps to extradite McDowell. Possibly get a UFAP Warrant issued which Canada.
Editor’s Note: We don’t believe JoAnne McDowell is the victim here. We have seen her story before but it is time for a parent like her to step up for the Holidays and turn herself in to the North Carolina District Attorney. There is little doubt from looking at McDowell’s inflammatory posts on her social media accounts is that she has already engaged in parental alienation of her child. It is time for her to support a reunification of her child and his biological father. By doing so, maybe she could work to getting the felony warrant dropped and could return to law school in the United States. It’s probably not too late for her to finish her career path she started.
A final note on McDowell’s pathetic allegations against her former spouse. Dr. Katheleen Faller of the University of Michigan a very long time ago promoted a theory about these protective mom’s beliefs. She thought because McDowell’s former spouse was rejecting his wife in the marriage that the father must turning his affection to his child. When I heard about it back then I thought it was so disgusting it was not worth mentioning. But it seems that this ignorant mom might actually have this unreasonable belief. What’s so sad is that this particular mom has some even more pathetic friends that might actually believe her.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the Searching Parents. We are keeping hope alive that these families will soon be reunified.